Art therapy can be a useful form of treatment for both in-office and individual outpatient therapy via telehealth. Here are a few ways in which art therapy can be helpful:
- Non-verbal expression: Art therapy can allow you to express your thoughts and emotions without having to rely solely on verbal communication. This can be especially helpful if you have difficulty putting your feelings into words, or if you feel uncomfortable talking about certain experiences or emotions.
- Relaxation and stress reduction: Engaging in art-making activities can be a calming and meditative experience, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Creative problem solving: Art therapy can help you tap into your creativity and approach problems or challenges in a new and creative way. This can be especially helpful if you feel stuck or overwhelmed in your current situation.
- Self-reflection and insight: The art-making process can provide individuals with an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection, which can lead to greater self-awareness and insight into their thoughts and emotions.
- Rapport building with a therapist: Engaging in art therapy can also help to build a stronger therapeutic alliance between you and your therapist, as it provides an opportunity to collaborate and work together in a creative way.
Telehealth and art therapy
In telehealth, art therapy can be adapted to use virtual tools such as digital painting, drawing apps or even by working with materials available in your home. Your therapist can guide you through the process and facilitate discussion and reflection around your artwork. Overall, art therapy can be a valuable addition to individual outpatient therapy via telehealth, as it provides a unique and creative way to approach therapy and can support mental health and well-being.
How does art therapy work?
During an art therapy session, your therapist will provide art therapy directives—prompts or guidelines—to guide you in creating artwork that can help you explore your emotions, thoughts and behaviors. These directives can be tailored to meet your specific needs and they can take many different forms depending on your therapy goals.
Here are some examples of art therapy directives:
- Self-Portrait: Create a self-portrait using any medium you prefer. The portrait should include visual representations of how you see yourself, including strengths, weaknesses, emotions and aspirations.
- Emotion Collage: Create a collage using images and materials that represent your current emotional state. This can be a way for you to express your emotions and explore the factors that are contributing to your feelings.
- Mandala Drawing: Draw a mandala, a circular pattern that represents the universe in many spiritual traditions. You can use colors and shapes that represent different aspects of your life and inner world.
- Gratitude Jar: Create a jar and decorate it. Then, write down things that you are grateful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar. This can be a way to help you focus on positive aspects of your life and build resilience.
- Storytelling: Create a storybook using pictures or mixed media. The story can be autobiographical or fictional and can help you explore your experiences and emotions.
- Body Mapping: Draw an outline of your body and then fill it in with colors or images that represent your physical or emotional experiences. This can be a way for you to explore your relationship with your body and identify areas of tension or discomfort.
These are just a few examples of art therapy directives. Art therapists may use a wide range of prompts and activities to help explore your thoughts and emotions through art.
If you are interested in exploring art therapy options, we encourage you to get in touch. We have a variety of therapists who offer art therapy in-office and through telehealth.