This site used to be home to the New Jersey Art Therapy Association, which has since moved, but will now serve as a resource for those wanting to learn more about art therapy and associated therapies.
Using art to express emotions and feelings is a useful tool for therapists to further understand what a patient is thinking, or might have difficulty expressing verbally. It is helpful in patients of all ages, but can be especially revealing for children who have difficulty with articulating their thoughts and feelings. The thought behind using art for therapy is that the expression helps patients resolve their inner conflicts, improve self-esteem, develop social skills through interaction with the therapist or group therapy, and reduce stress.
Though art has been used for thousands of years as a form of self-expression and communication, art therapy is relatively new in the field of psychology. The movement began organizing in the mid-1900s, after doctors observed patients using drawings and paintings to describe their emotions. Subsequently, doctors wondered about using art as a healing strategy for patients experiencing mental distress. Currently, it is seen as a helpful treatment strategy for patients experiencing many different conditions. It is often most beneficial when used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Some of the conditions it can be used to treat include:
Many visitors to our site are looking for other services which may or may not be related to art therapy, depending on the particular circumstances.
You might wonder what happens in a typical art therapy session. Though many factors can influence how the session takes place, there are several parts that make it different than a normal art class. Typically, the session revolves around the patient expressing their inner thoughts and emotions, as opposed to their interpretation of the outside world. The session is very dependent on the active participation of the patient, as the therapist is there to guide and facilitate, but the patient is there to lead.
Sessions can be offered individually or in a group setting, depending on the patient’s needs. They are often offered in a school setting, as they can be beneficial to a number of learning disabilities, speech and language pathology disorders, and behavioral disorders. Therapists generally find it helpful for sessions to take place weekly (or as needed) at the same place and time, to enhance the therapeutic relationship and build trust.
Art therapy can be helpful for people of all ages experiencing a range of problems. It can also be experienced in a number of settings, ranging from schools to hospitals. If you are experiencing emotional distress and other traditional modes of therapy do not appeal to you, this might be the therapy to improve your symptoms. With art therapy growing in popularity in recent years, there is a rising number of therapists around the country trained to help you manage your symptoms using artistic expression.