Art Therapy is a modality, where disciplines of art and psychology are combined to help individuals overcome emotional and psychological challenges to improve their well-being and daily functionality. Art Therapy uses the creative process, pieces of the created art, and exploring deeper thoughts and emotions to develop self-awareness, cope with difficult emotions, and address unresolved emotional conflicts.
An art therapist holds a Masters degree in Art Therapy (e.g., Art Therapy at Concordia University), which grants him/her the title. They are specialized in creating individualized interventions to meet the need of each unique client. Their knowledge of the art materials helps them choose the right medium for each client and their knowledge of therapeutic approaches help them choose the right interventions and treatment plan.
In Montreal, Concordia and UQAM university provide certified programs of art therapy. Throughout Canada, there are universities and private institutes for art therapy training too. While an art therapist holds the title, there are other mental health professionals, who have realized the advantage of incorporating art activities and use art therapy techniques in their daily practice. Child Psychologists, social workers, and counselors, teachers and school counselors use art therapy techniques as well.
What makes an art therapist unique?
Because the training of art therapy focuses on exploring the underlying emotional distress and helps clients overcome the overwhelming emotions, the first thing that differentiates an art therapist with any other mental health professional is their focus on client’s emotional healing rather than the diagnosis (often the first focus of psychologists) or the social environment (often the first focus of social workers), or the academic performance (often the first focus of teachers and school counselors).
An art therapist helps the client reach a balance in life by identifying their distress, expressing the negative emotions, regulating the emotions, and finding healthier coping mechanisms. An art therapist allows mistakes to happen [in the creative process] and provides support to solve the problems to help the client believe in their ability to tackle life obstacles.
What are the benefits of seeing an art therapist at a young age?
Children’s universal language is play. Art therapists use children’s universal language and combine that in a playful art therapy activity to help the child express their emotions and thoughts, make sense out of life events and move passed them.
What are the benefits of art therapy for teenagers?
Adolescence is the time when teenagers attempt to find who they are by answering million confusing self-related questions. More often than not, teenagers don’t find the right words to express their thoughts or emotions and an art activity could be used as the starter of a conversation. Discussing the feelings and thoughts as they emerged while making art could lead to self-exploration and further discussions.
What are the benefits of art therapy for adults?
Adults often prefer to verbalize and use their logical mind to solve problems. However, certain long-lasting heavy emotions might block access to their logical mind. Childhood traumas, attachment issues, or loss of a parent are examples of events that may cause adults feel stuck and prevent them from verbalizing deeper emotions. Art therapy helps adults explore their past events and revisit the feelings. In this journey, art therapy helps the adult client explore a long-lasting [maybe dormant] emotion without having to use the words. Adult clients often have discussions about the emotions that emerge during the process of art making.
To learn more about our individualized art therapy services, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 514-999-3414.