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Art Therapy

Find a professional for Art Therapy in Chicago

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the artistitc process and creativity to increase emotional and mental well-being.  Art therapy combines traditional psychotherapeutic theories and techniques with specialized knowledge about the psychological aspects of the creative process, especially the affective properties of different art materials. As a mental health profession, art therapy is employed in many different clinical settings with many different types of patients. Art therapy is present in non-clinical settings as well, such as in art studios and workshops that focus on creativity development.

Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in making art is healing and life-enhancing. Through creating and talking about art with an art therapist, one can increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of artistic creativity. Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy and hold a Master's degree in art therapy or a related field. Art therapists work with children, adolescents, and adults and provide services to individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.
   
Expressive therapy, also known as creative arts therapy, is the intentional use of the creative arts as a form of therapy. Expressive therapy works under the assumption that through imagination and forms of creative expression, humans can heal. Most forms of creative expression have an equivalent therapeutic discipline such as art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, play therapy, and creative writing therapy.
   
Expressive therapists share the belief that it is through creative expression and the tapping of the imagination a person can best explore the body, feelings, emotions and his or her thought process.  Some expressive therapists consider themselves interdisciplinary, using expression in general, rather than a specific artistic discipline to treat clients, altering their approach based on the clients' needs, or through using multiple forms of expression with the same client to aid with deeper exploration.  Expressive therapists have worked in areas such as medical illness, grief, educational and behavioral problems, emotional issues, and even criminal behavior.

Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07


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