Why Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a unique form of mental health treatment that can provide a broad range of benefits to older adults of all levels of functioning. In no way does anyone need to have any artistic skill or abilities. The goal of art therapy is not to create beautiful art, but to express and sort through problems. Art therapy allows a therapist to be creative in reaching people at their emotional, physical, and psychological level, and allows a client to be able to express themselves and difficult issues in a variety of ways that can work for them.
It is a common thought that it's healthy to get our problems off our chest so it does not build up inside of us and cause stress, anxiety, depression, etc. However, it is much easier said than done. Somethings are difficult to talk about or are too difficult to put into words. Sometimes people lose their ability to communicate verbally leaving a person little or no effective ways of communicating, causing significant distress to the person, their caregivers and loved ones. Art therapy serves as a new platform for communication, understanding, and peace.
The versatile nature of art therapy makes it especially effective as it's able to help anyone no matter their age or ability. People can achieve insight, reconcile inner conflicts, and obtain coping tools. Individuals with impairments can gain nonverbal forms of expression, increase self esteem, and decrease anxiety and stress in the moment. As humans we are affected by many social, medical, and psychological problems that can effect quality of life. Many people are diagnosed with psychological conditions, and unfortunately many do not receive the level of treatment necessary to a suitable quality of life.
While arts and crafts, coloring, art created with caregivers and companions have many wonderful benefits, art therapists are trained and well educated on treating serious emotional and psychological conditions. Art therapists can work complementary with caregivers, companions, and psychologists to provide that extra support or psychological attention that may be missing.