Is Art Therapy Still Art? Or is it Therapy?

Wait! Can’t it be both? Okay, end of post…there isn’t anything else about this topic that needs to be stated. Ha ha ha…just kidding. The truth is that Art Therapy is both art and therapy. They are not easily separated. Now, do you want to place what every therapeutic art exercise produces up for sale? Probably not, but you could.

Not every person that creates art is specifically creating for therapeutic purposes. They aren’t actively seeking therapy. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t getting anything out of it, and it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be seeking therapy either…it just means that they aren’t ready to realize the real role that art plays in their lives. That’s okay, they’ll come around.

On the flip side not every person in therapy is creating art. This means of any form of art whether it is writing, singing, acting, drawing, painting, crafting….or even cooking art! Everything is game here. I actually recommend that people use art and the arts as an outlet. I think that it is useful for everyone. It helps with blood pressure, mindfulness, reflection, and lots more things that are helpful to people. I obviously will encourage the visual arts, but I would never discourage any other undertaking in the arts for therapy’s sake.

I could be one of those people who tells you that it is helpful and cathartic and hasn’t used it for my own trials, but I have…I have utilized art therapy techniques in my life for many years. Possibly before they allowed it to be called that. I used my art to deal with chronic illness, pain, family trauma, divorce, and several other things that were difficult for me to really process on my own. With my art, my therapy so to speak, I was never alone. To this day it is my respite. The one thing that I can craft to complete the parts of me that I can see as broken, as bruised.

I have an educational background in Psychology and I am a Certified Therapeutic Art Life Coach. I wouldn’t champion a cause that I couldn’t believe in. I feel that everyone can get something out of creating, even if it doesn’t seem that you have anything left to give. Some could argue that if you are putting your soul into the artwork it is actually taking from you, but that isn’t true. It gives back so much more.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much soul searching and personal development you are doing until you reflect on that creation much later in life. I think that is why it works. You are sub-consciously taking on all of the problems that you are met with in your daily lives and stopping the negative feelings, and the anger, and the hurt…and you are replacing them with good feelings and tranquility. You are letting the arguments leave your being and drip into the paint. You are allowing your body to regenerate. You are allowing yourself to heal, sometimes one stroke at a time.

So, YES…Art therapy CAN be Art and Therapy at the same time. It is. Art breathes its life into you and it is always willing to give back what you are willing to put into it. It is amazing how much you can do to repair all of your woes without the fancy licensure and without medication. I would never deny someone else the joy of finding themselves through this process, and I hope you look into your options and be willing to try it yourself.

*DISCLAIMER: Art therapy and art therapy techniques are in no way a replacement for necessary medical treatment or psychological treatment. Art therapy is not necessarily a feature that is offered by a professional therapist or counselor and should not be construed as such. Art therapy techniques can help if there are no medical conditions that would need treatment from another professional or in conjunction with other approved medical treatments. If you need help please seek the appropriate medical professional.

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