How Making Art Helps Improve Mental Health
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Art therapy is an integrative treatment that uses artistic self-expression to improve mental health and well-being.
The pandemic brought up many difficult-to-define feelings and emotions. Making art as a form of mental health treatment is a low-tech way to work through them.
After World War II, this form of therapy was used with soldiers who suffered from "shell shock". Trauma is complicated to articulate into words, and art therapy can support and connect patients with nonverbal expression.
Therapists offer treatment in groups or one-on-one settings, and the therapy itself can take the form of unstructured doodling to more specific prompts and activities designed to help patients understand their emotions.
Art therapy helps patients unlock their emotions and translate them into something real that they can share what they're going through. Art therapy is also a safer way to channel stress or other negative emotions.
Research found that making art can:
Making art is a hands-on process that requires total focus, which means it also offers a break from screentime while encouraging self-expression. But art therapy isn't a cure-all and may not be the right approach for everyone. Much of the research draws on the anecdotal experiences of clinicians and patients.
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