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Benefits of Art Therapy

Our mental health plays a significant role in how we experience the world and interact with other people. We may seek out substances in an attempt to cope with physical, mental, and emotional distress when we do not have the tools to build healthier coping skills. At Insight Recovery Center, we believe in offering individualized, evidence-based, and holistic healing because there is no one size fits all way to recover. Expressive approaches like art therapy provide more ways to integrate and support long-term healing. However, you may be wondering what art therapy is.

What Is Art Therapy?

As noted by an article from Frontiers in Psychologyart therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses different forms of art to help people express themselves and communicate. The main goal of art therapy is to help you learn how to process your thoughts and emotions in a healthier way to support growth and long-term healing. Yet, what exactly makes something art therapy? What mediums can be used to support your healing?

Types of Art Therapy

There are countless mediums that can be considered art; from visual art alone, we have pottery and sculpting, sketching, and painting, to name a few. However,  as stated in an article from the American Journal of Public Health, there are four major areas of art that have shown physical and psychological benefits for people:

  1. Music engagement:
    • Decrease anxiety
    • Reduce pain
    • Help control pain
    • Restore emotional balance
    • Reduce stress
  2. Visual arts:
    • Deepen understanding of traumatic experiences
    • Non-verbal way to more easily express feelings
    • Release negative emotions
    • Reduce stress
    • Decreases physical and psychological symptoms of distress
    • Enhance positive emotions
    • Reduce depression
    • Decrease anxiety
  3. Dance and movement-based:
    • Relieves stress and anxiety
    • Support self-awareness
    • Increases ability to balance, accept, and let go of physical and psychological pain
    • Improve problem-solving skills
    • Increases self-esteem
  4. Expressive writing:
    • Improved mood and physical health
    • Decrease stress
    • Help control pain
    • Reduce pain
    • Less depressive symptoms
    • Process adverse and traumatic experiences
    • Non-verbal way to more easily express thoughts and feelings
    • Support accessing the unconscious self
    • A deeper understanding of yourself
    • Decrease anxiety
    • Less anger
    • Supports mindfulness and spiritual growth

Knowing holistic approaches like art therapy can support a reduction in symptoms like anxiety and depression feels promising. However, you may wonder how art therapy can reduce your mental health symptoms. How can art therapy support your long-term healing?

Benefits of Art Therapy for Healing

A core part of recovery is discovery and understanding. When you can more deeply understand the why behind your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, you can unravel all the pains that have impeded your life. Through art therapy, you can engage in self-discovery, experience emotional relief, and find more self-love. To love yourself and own your life’s choices without judgment opens the door to reevaluation and shift in those negative thoughts and behavior patterns for healing.

Can art therapy truly help in recovery? Do the healing properties of art go beyond just symptom reduction? What mental health disorders and conditions can art therapy support for healing?

Applications for Mental Health Disorders and Other Conditions

According to the Frontiers in Psychology article, listed below are some of the mental health disorders art therapy can support:

  • Depression and anxiety disorders:
    • Painting can help express anxiety, fear, and negative emotions
  • Schizophrenia:
    • Participating in art therapy can help process emotional, cognitive, and psychotic experiences
    • Increase self-esteem
    • Improve ability to function in social settings
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD):
    • Makes it easier to express and communicate non-verbally
    • Help vent negative feelings
    • Improve cognitive and behavioral function
  • Cognitive impairment:
    • Painting can improve immediate memory and working memory

Moreover, the benefits of art therapy for anxiety disorders can also be expanded to support the specific needs of different groups.

Benefits of Art Therapy for Women

At Insight Recovery Center, we know gender-specific treatment is important for recovery. Women and men have different challenges that impact the way they experience mental health disorders. Due to traditional gender socialization in childhood and ideals about gender roles, women are more likely to experience internalized mental health disorders like anxiety. Since art therapy is effective for anxiety reduction, this holistic approach can be particularly beneficial to the specific needs of women.

According to an article from Plos Oneanxiety symptoms can be reduced through perceived improvements in emotional regulation found in the processing of art therapy. Moreover, issues with stress regulation are a factor in the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Therefore, through the induction of relaxation produced by art therapy, women with anxiety can improve their stress regulation.

Holistic Healing at Insight Recovery Center

Now, you may be wondering what can the integration of a holistic approach look like in your treatment plan. At Insight Recovery Center, we believe recovery is the process of restoration, awakening, and connection to self and community. Therefore, our treatment model is not based on a one size fits all approach but rather a person-centered approach that integrates therapeutic techniques to meet your specific needs.

With a wide variety of evidence, holistic, and mindfulness-based options, we can help you develop a recovery identity that makes sense for you. Art therapy is just another tool in our tool belt we can utilize to support your long-term healing as you discover your recovery.

Mental health disorders can make daily tasks, social activities, and relationships difficult. However, with holistic approaches like art therapy, you can reduce your symptoms for long-term healing. Art therapy can include many artistic media like music, visual art, dance, movement, and writing. Through non-verbal expression, you can reduce depressive, anxiety, and stress-related symptoms. Moreover, art therapy can be particularly beneficial to women with anxiety as it supports emotional and stress regulation. At Insight Recovery Center, we believe in the importance of individualized support for lifelong healing. With evidence-based, holistic, and mindfulness-based approaches to care, we can provide a variety of therapeutic techniques to help you discover your recovery. To learn more, call us at 828.826.1376 today.