Art for the Heart and Mind
Art Therapy | Anna Sandoval, MAAT, ATR
Articles and Resources
Art Therapy is not a theory but rather a profession. Art Therapist’s hold a master’s degree, and are nationally registered, board certified, trained artists, and have received rigorous modality-specific training.
The origins of Art Therapy are in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory. Art Therapy has its own theory known as Expressive Therapies Continuum. This theory incorporates developmental, emotional and cognitive stages, brain functioning, and media properties to assess and intervene with clients based on their presenting level of functionality. It also defines what level is creating a block to holistic functionality within that continuum:
Sensory/Kinesthetic, Perceptual/Affective, Cognitive/Symbolic, and Creative.
Art Therapy - Definition
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) describes Art Therapy as "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 behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight."
How Art Therapy Works
An Art Therapist uses a variety of art methods - drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage with clients of all ages, from young children to the elderly. Clients may have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues and stresses. The benefits of creative expression serve as an adjunct to the healing process by focusing on inner experience, feelings, perceptions, and imagination. Emphasis is on the development and expression of images that come from inside, and not from what is seen on the outside.