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What are the benefits for art therapy for college/university students?

Art therapy has been recognized for its therapeutic potential across various age groups and settings, and college and university students are no exception. The academic environment can be highly stressful due to academic pressures, social challenges, financial concerns, and other issues. Art therapy offers multiple benefits for students in higher education:

  1. Stress Reduction: Art therapy is known for its calming effects. Engaging in artistic activities can divert the mind from stressors, promoting relaxation and decreasing anxiety.


  1. Self-expression: It provides an avenue for students to express feelings, thoughts, and experiences that might be difficult to articulate through words. This can be especially beneficial for those who have experienced trauma or are going through personal challenges.


  1. Improved Self-awareness and Insight: Creating art can facilitate self-reflection, helping students understand their emotions, behaviors, and thought processes. It can also foster personal growth and transformation.


  1. Enhanced Coping Skills: Art therapy can help students develop resilience and find new ways to cope with challenges, from academic pressures to personal issues.


  1. Boosted Self-esteem and Confidence: Completing an artwork or making progress in the therapeutic journey can give students a sense of achievement and bolster their self-worth.


  1. Improvement in Mood: Engaging in creative activities has been linked to the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain, which can elevate mood and combat feelings of depression.


  1. Development of New Skills: Beyond therapeutic benefits, students can acquire or improve artistic skills, which can be a source of pride and even a newfound hobby.


  1. Enhanced Social Skills and Communication: Group art therapy sessions can foster a sense of community, help students practice social skills, and encourage them to communicate more effectively about their feelings and thoughts.


  1. Problem-solving Abilities: Creating art can be a form of problem-solving, as students decide on compositions, colors, and techniques. These decisions can parallel real-life challenges, teaching students to approach obstacles with creativity.


  1. Distraction from Negative Thoughts or Behaviors: Art therapy can serve as a productive and healthy distraction from negative coping mechanisms or obsessive thoughts.


  1. Tangible Outcomes: Producing a physical piece of art can serve as a record of the therapeutic journey, providing a tangible representation of a student’s feelings, progress, or challenges over time.


  1. Connection with Cultural and Artistic Heritage: For some students, art therapy can be a means of connecting with their cultural or artistic roots, enhancing their sense of identity.


  1. Safe Environment: A well-managed art therapy setting provides a safe space for students to explore difficult topics or feelings without fear of judgment.


Given the unique pressures faced by college and university students, institutions might consider incorporating art therapy into their counseling and wellness services. It offers a holistic approach to mental health, addressing both emotional and cognitive needs.

Why might financial challenges deter university students from seeking therapy?

Many university and college students grapple with financial constraints that can influence their decision to seek therapy. The already looming costs of tuition, books, and academic fees, combined with daily living expenses like rent, food, and transportation, often stretch their budgets. Furthermore, the modest pay from part-time jobs or internships, alongside the burden of student loans, adds to their monetary concerns. Some students may not have health insurance that covers mental health services, leading to potentially significant out-of-pocket expenses.

This financial stress, coupled with the need to prioritize immediate and tangible needs, the uncertainty about the duration and total cost of therapy, and a potential lack of awareness about affordable counseling services offered by universities, makes the commitment to therapy challenging. Additionally, cultural perceptions about the value of mental health, fears of hidden costs, uncertainties about the benefits of therapy, and the availability of alternative supports like peer groups might lead some students to forgo professional help despite its potential benefits.

Universities can alleviate these concerns by promoting on-campus resources and offering financial assistance for therapeutic services.


What are some affordable therapy centres in Montreal for university students?

In Montreal, students seeking affordable therapy have several options. Major universities like McGill, Université de Montréal, Concordia, and UQAM typically provide counseling services to their enrolled students, either for free or at a subsidized rate. Additionally, institutions such as the Argyle Institute and Montreal Refugee Centre offer psychotherapy based on a sliding scale and/or free of charge, tailoring fees to an individual’s income.

Community health centers, known as CLSCs, are spread across the city, providing various health services, sometimes including free or low-cost counseling. Those covered by Quebec Health Insurance might also access therapy sessions through public health channels. The Montreal Art Therapy Center, while not the least expensive, offers sessions on a sliding scale. Their student interns in art therapy practice under the supervision of a registered art therapist and offer quality counselling at a discounted rate therapy in Montreal.

To find out about the art therapists in Montreal, West Island, and Brossard, contact us here