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The American Art Therapy Association describes it this way: "(a)rt therapy is the therapeutic use of art making,

within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art."[4] "Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and selfawareness, and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy."[4]
http://pediaview.com/openpedia/Art_therapy

art therapy is essentially one of healing. Art therapy can be successfully applied to clients with physical, mental or emotional problems, diseases and disorders. Any type of visual art and art medium can be employed within the therapeutic process, including painting, drawing, sculpting, and photography. Art therapy stands in contrast with other kinds of creative or expressive arts therapies that use dance, music or drama. One of the major differences between art therapy and other forms of communication is that most other forms of communication elicit the use of words or language as a means of communication.[33] Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of art therapy, as applied to clients with memory loss due to Alzheimers and other diseases; stroke residuals;[34] cognitive functioning;[35] traumatic brain injury; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);[36] depression; dealing with chronic illness;[37][38][39][40] and aging.[41][ Art therapy and other creative, humanistic intervention strategies are becoming popular methods for working with lifethreatened patient and for working with the family members of patients who dieparticularly bereaved children.Art therapy stimulates the conscious and unconscious expression of the mourning process in adult and child patients.Children are at greater psychological risk because their grief is less overt and can occur months or even years after the death.Group therapy is used to provide social

sanction for the expression of that grief and to promote adaptive mourning responses.[63]
http://pediaview.com/openpedia/Art_therapy#

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses art materials, such as paints, chalk and markers. Art therapy combines traditionalpsychotherapeutic theories and techniques with an understanding of the psychological aspects of the creative process, especially the affective properties of the different art materials. As a mental health profession, art therapy is employed in many clinical settings with diverse populations. Art therapy can be found in non-clinical settings as well as in art studios and in workshops that focus on creativity development. Closely related in practice to marriage and family therapists and mental health counseling, art therapists throughout the US are licensed as either MFTs, LPCs, or LPCCs and hold either registration or board certification as an art therapist (see section on Art Therapy Standards of Practice). Art therapists work with children, adolescents, and adults and provide services to individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities. According to the American Art Therapy Association[www.arttherapy.org], art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process of art is both healing and life-enhancing. The validity of this belief has not been investigated and there is no current evidence to indicate that art can heal disorders or enhance life quality. Using their skills in evaluation and psychotherapy, art therapists choose materials and interventions appropriate to their clients needs and design sessions to achieve therapeutic goals and objectives. They use the creative process to help their clients increase insight and judgment, cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, have better relationships with family and friends, and to just be able to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of the creative experience. Many art therapists draw on images from resources such as ARAS (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism) to incorporate historical art and symbols into their work with patients. Depending on the state, province, or country, the term art therapist may be reserved for those that are professionals trained in both art and therapy and hold a master's degree in art therapy or a related field such as counseling or marriage and family therapy with an emphasis in art therapy. Other professionals, such as mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, and play therapists apply art therapy methods to treatment. Many art therapists in the US are licensed in one of the following fields: creative arts therapy, art therapy, professional counseling, mental health counseling, or marriage and family therapy. Art therapists have generated many specific definitions of art therapy, but most of them fall into one of two general categories. The first involves a belief in the inherent healing power of the creative process of art making. This view embraces the idea that the process of making art is therapeutic; this process is sometimes referred to as art as therapy. Art making is seen as an opportunity to express oneself imaginatively, authentically, and spontaneously, an experience that, over time, can lead to personal fulfillment, emotional reparation, and recovery (Malchiodi, 2006). The second

definition of art therapy is based on the idea that art is a means of symbolic communication. This approach, often referred to as art psychotherapy, emphasizes the products-- drawings, paintings, and other art expressions--as helpful in communicating issues, emotions, and conflicts. The art image becomes significant in enhancing verbal exchange between the person and the therapist and in achieving insight; resolving conflicts; solving problems; and formulating new perceptions that in turn lead to positive changes, growth, and healing. In reality, art as therapy and art psychotherapy are used together in varying degrees. In other words, art therapists feel that both the idea that art making can be a healing process and that art products communicate information relevant to therapy are important (Malchiodi, 2006)
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