Because I have a somewhat unusual job, I spend a lot of time explaining what art therapy is. In the course of that conversation, I inevitably talk about what I personally LOVE about being an art therapist. This got me thinking that I’ve never shared that with you. Let’s fix that. So without delay, here are some of the top reasons I love being an art therapist.
1. I don’t believe therapy should be a drag. The arts make therapy playful and adventurous.
2. Art therapy is both cathartic and containing.
3. Art therapy teaches coping skills.
4.There are some things that words just cannot properly express.
5. Art therapy is a whole-brain approach.
While I am no neuroscientist, I am fascinated by the way our brain operates. As you know, art therapy engages different parts of the brain. Why wouldn’t we use all the tools at our disposal? If you’ve been talking about your problems for ages and nothing has changed, why not engage your imagination and creativity and see what happens?
6. Art therapy offers a new perspective.
7. I love showing adults that they ARE creative.
8. Art is a great language to use with “resistant” teens.
9.The treatment options are endless in art therapy.
I get to be creative without even picking up a paint brush. If my client is feeling stuck, I can dream up 15 different ways to help them experience and explore “stuckness” through art. (Art therapist, Lisa Mitchell, at Inner Canvas, is a master at helping ANY therapist tap into their creativity, even in talk therapy. Please check her out!)
I might say, “Could you make an image of stuckness?” Or, “Perhaps you could make something with this tough clay as a way to explore the stuck feeling?” Or, “Let’s tangle and knot up a ball of yarn and then work through undoing it and see what’s happening with the stuck feeling.”
All of those options would give her the physical experience of getting stuck and eventually, getting unstuck, as well as a visual image of stuckness. For a bank of ideas that an art therapist might use in her work with clients, visit my Art Therapy Ideas board on Pinterest.
Imagine how much more potent that is than the same client sitting slumped in my office couch, talking in low tones, apathetically giving the same old speech about how nothing ever changes for her.
Finally, art therapy combines beautifully with mindfulness techniques, visualization and meditation, and sensory activities. This offers me tons of flexibility and creativity in every session. No matter what we are doing, it’s creative somehow. That’s a huge perk in my job.
10. Art therapy feels “magical.”
(We can just talk too!)
Of course I have fun with my talk-based clients, but being an art therapist, I approach even my talk-based sessions in a creative, imaginative way. This makes my job so much more fun. To learn more about working with me through your anxiety, depression, trauma, creative blocks, and personal growth goals, click here.