Art therapy can release pent-up emotions and allow a client to demonstrate how they feel if they struggle to open up verbally, bridging the gap between therapist and client. Activities such as sculpting, making a collage or sketching can help a client to relax and relieve their stress, it can also be empowering for those who find expression difficult. With its roots in the mid-20th century, art therapy is now used to treat issues such as addiction, physical disabilities, pain or illness and the management of stress. Clients are suitable for art therapy with or without artistic skill.
Art therapists can work with a number of clients; with groups, individuals or couples and are academically trained. Art therapists have been trained in many fields which include psychology theory, human development, counselling and art. They have been taught how to use art therapy with their clients for healing but can also analyse the piece of art produced symbolically or metaphorically to help their client.
For example, anyone suffering from anorexia may be asked to draw or paint how they see their body image as part of discussion. Children who are allowed artistic freedom may draw sad or depressing images reflecting their inner mental health. Anxiety may be relieved by allowing the client to explore their creativity with clay sculpting.
More information can be found from the British Association of Art therapists (BAAT).