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DeGrave 1 Dara DeGrave Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1102 10/24/13

The Advantages of Art for Therapy Wikipedia defines art therapy as, a form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling, used as a remedial activity or an aid to diagnosis (Art Therapy). From cancer patients to people suffering from other mental health disorders, art therapy is rapidly growing in the United States as a new way to relieve stress. Back in the 1940s, art therapy started to take off with Margaret Naumberg leading the way. She discovered art therapy was a form of psychotherapy. Naumburg established her own school in 1915, Walden Station, where she stressed the importance of children expressing themselves through art. This was the first step towards using art as therapy. In the early 20th century psychiatrists became fascinated in the artwork of their patients with mental illness. Art therapy differentiates from typical clinical therapy because instead of the patients talking about their problems, they are able to create pictures and images expressing their inner feelings. It is built up on the principle that humans feelings and thoughts come from the unconscious. Art therapy has become so successful due to the positive behavior it has been known to imitate in humans. By creating a picture one is able to produce anything they want, there are no rules involved. A patient can easily get lost in their picture, making them focus more on this piece of art then their problems. I chose to do my extended inquiry project on art therapy because I am an art

DeGrave 2 major. About two years ago I learned about art therapy as I became very intrigued by this concept. I knew first-hand how therapeutic art worked and strived to learn more. My freshmen year of college I started researching more into art therapy as a possible career choice for me. I have always wanted to be in a field where I could be helping people everyday, but I have never been good at math or science so nursing or anything along those lines was not right for me. Unfortunately, art therapy is not offered at UNCC, actually it is not even offered anywhere in the state of North Carolina. Most sites say that a major in art and minor in psychology is required to be an art therapist. Therapists are professionals in art and therapy, hence the name. The Art Therapy Credentials Board Inc. grants art therapy credentials based on education. One may argue that many people settle for a major in clinical therapy, instead of art therapy, because it is more accessible at universities. Only 46 universities offer art therapy in the United States, whereas over 180 offer clinical therapy. My main interest in art therapy came from my art teacher my senior year in high school. I originally learned that it is used for helping cancer patients. While researching art therapy I discovered, therapists need to be skilled in many mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and others. They also need to possess certain qualities such as sympathy, patience, empathy, emotional stability, and understanding of human processes. Maureen White states in her article Art Therapists Education Requirements and Career Information, According to the American Art Therapy Association, prospective art therapy graduate students must submit a portfolio of their artwork in order to be admitted to an art therapy degree program. They must also possess 18 semester hours of art studio courses and 12 semester hours of

DeGrave 3 psychology courses. Art therapy degree programs typically last about two years (White). The requirements probably seem harder than you expected, but becoming an art therapist is far from a walk in the park. By mid 20th century hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers started using art therapy. They saw that the process of making art enhanced patients well being by improving their recovery and health. Today art therapists work with people of all ages. They work in all different settings like rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, mental institutions, community out reach programs, hospitals, clinics, and more. Art therapy also improves developmental and emotional growth, mental illnesses, anxiety, stress, family problems, and substance abuse. However, it is not only for people suffering from addiction, cancer, or abuse. A newly found effective use of art therapy focuses on helping veterans. When soldiers come home from fighting in the war, it can be pretty hard for them to readjust. Art therapy works with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to help them get back into the swing of things. In The Daily News, Warnick a wounded veteran suffering from PTSD shares his experience with art therapy, "For me, the process of painting relaxes me and give me a focal point so things aren't out of control. It's a calm place in the storm. It's where I run to when things fall apart, (Warnick). A firm believer in art therapy since 2004, Warnicks story is similar to many other soldiers who have effectively been using art therapy while cooping with their PTSD. People have recently found art outlets quite effective while dealing with various disorders. Women suffering from eating disorders have displayed their art to describe their experience in a local exhibition. This exhibition showcased 30 different pieces of

DeGrave 4 art, each displaying the personal struggle the women have faced. The goal of the exhibition, Inside an Eating Disorder, was for women with eating disorders to come seek support. The women value this outlet because through the public learning about eating disorders, they are better equip to help those suffering. The women want the community to know that this disorder is far from a choice and affects their day- to-day activities. Sherylin Jones, who has nine artworks displayed in the show, states, There needs to be an awareness on how it impacts daily life, the most basic things are a struggle like socializing, grocery shopping, showering it just makes you think of your weight (Lambert 23). While the creation of the art acted as therapy to the women; the exhibition also brought awareness to the community, which they may argue was the most crucial part of the exhibition. Art therapy is usually associated with its use in the lives of children suffering from cancer. But, over the years it has expanded to helping all types of kids, from at risk teenagers to beginning education. Psychologists have discovered it is especially successful with children because they are more creative. This makes it easier for them to complete the projects. In P. Gussie Klorer and Megan Robbs art therapy journal, Art Enrichment: Evaluating a Collaboration Between Head Start and a Graduate Art Therapy Program, they state, Through art, children learn to follow directions, share materials, tell stories, express feelings, focus, and cooperate. The results of the children enrolled in this head start program were exponential, Art Enrichment is a program that supports Head Starts federal mandates in mental health, early childhood development, family partnerships, and community partner-ships (Klorer). Children who take part in similar head start programs go into elementary school mentally and physically prepared.

DeGrave 5 Art therapy is an inexpensive way to receive beneficial help. An art therapy blog, Create and Release shows the differences in psychotherapy versus art therapy. While they argue that sometimes psychotherapy is necessary, it offers the same positive effects as art therapy except at a way higher price. Art therapy can be done on your own time and teaches you therapeutic skills, Art therapy on the other hand costs very little money and can be done on your own time. Besides that, Art therapy is a skill that you develop and will have for a lifetime (Unknown). By going to one session of art therapy, you will learn a lifetime of skill; which is the most realistic form of therapy because there will be at least one other time in your life that you can use art to relieve built up stress. Just being able to solve a problem on your own without the help of a psychiatrist gives a person a sense of accomplishment, which is what art therapy is all about, Nothing feels better than figuring something else out on your own. This satisfaction can only be received when participating in art therapy and not psychotherapy. This is just one reason that makes art therapy more effective, because everything is up to you. Nobody knows your emotions better than yourself. This is key in understand how art therapy can indeed be more effective than psychotherapy (Unknown). While psychotherapy is also helpful, you come out of art therapy with much more than your artworks. Create and Release also provides insight from people who have first hand seen the effects of art therapy, I began to see a psychotherapist about once a month in the hopes on mending my inner problems. I did not see much progress with this I decided to take a very demanding Advanced Placement Art Class in school. This art class had me creating a new piece of art every week. After I finished a few pieces, I realized that I could see

DeGrave 6 my emotions within them (Unknown). By creating art one is able to release all their negative emotions, thus creating a happier state of mind. So exactly what is it that makes art therapy so successful? Is it the untraditional approach of making the patients create art as part of their treatment or the combination of art therapy with traditional therapy? Whatever it is, art therapy proves time and time again to be successful. In a world that is far from stress free art therapy teaches you the necessary techniques to get through those particularly hard days. Anyone can use and benefit from art therapy. It is not just for addicts, PTSD, or cancer patients. Though it is mainly known for these uses, it is beneficial to everyone. Just using art as an outlet in your life will contribute to your wellbeing. So next time you are feeling stressed, creating a piece of art may be just what you need.

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Works Cited "Art Therapy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. Brennan, Thomas. "Art Therapy Showcases Healing and Promise." The Daily News [Jacksonville, NC] 8 June 2013: n. pag. Print Klorer, P. G., and Megan Robb. "Art Enrichment: Evaluating a Collaboration Between Head Start and a Graduate Art Therapy Program." Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association (2012): 180-87. EBSCO. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. Lambert, Olivia. "Disorders Explained Through Art." Border Mail [Wangarratta] 5 Oct. 2013, First ed., News sec.: 23. Print. "Psychotherapy Vs. Art Therapy: Lifetime." Create and Release. Blog. Unknown, 2 Nov. 2013. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. Stepney, Stella A. Art Therapy with Students at Risk : Fostering Resilience and Growth Through Self-expression. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 2010. Print. White, Maureen. "Art Therapist Education Requirements and Career Information." Education Portal (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.