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The History of Art Therapy
Art Therapy as a profession has existed since the 1930s, and is included by many Psychologists and Physical Therapists as part of their treatment process.
It encourages individuals to seek relief from stress and inner turmoil by allowing them to express their emotions comfortably through various artistic techniques. We all possess a level of creativity, and when we start to develop these special talents, we’re able to uncover our potential and facilitate inner healing and renewal.
How does it work?
Art Therapy helps the client to access the right brain so that they can shift beyond the confines of the logical left brain and become attuned with the unconscious mind and innate wisdom.
With the guidance of the practitioner, and the use of the individual’s unique expressive style, the client is able to release blocked emotions and get in touch with those thoughts and feelings that are hidden from the conscious mind.
It is often used for treating patients who are unable to verbalise their feelings due to certain physical or emotional setbacks.
The benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy can help to elevate one’s mood, raise self-esteem and awareness, and offer significant benefits to those who are under stress.
Patients who have suffered trauma, serious injury or chronic illnesses like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease may find Art Therapy very useful. This creative method of treatment can also assist those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness because it gives them the opportunity to address their fears and concerns.
What to expect during a consultation
Art Therapy is utilised for its healing benefits and not to assess the patient’s creative talents. The work that is carried out remains confidential between the client and therapist.
The Art Psychotherapist is a trained artist who is registered with the Medical and Dental Council of South Africa, and has studied art therapy and/or psychological counselling.
Sessions can take place on a one-on-one basis or in small groups and last from one to two hours. The practitioner normally provides the materials, a comfortable place to work and some technical advice. Peaceful background music may contribute towards the atmosphere. Once the client has been given the chance to talk about specific events or problems, they are asked to communicate their unresolved issues with the use of paints, crayons, charcoal, clay or other art material.
Time is allocated for discussion at the end of the session, if necessary.
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