What are the benefits of art therapy for adults, kids and everyone else? There are many, and on this page we’ll cover just about all as them as we uncover the secret benefits of art therapy for adults, kids and everyone else.
As kids we all loved throwing paint over a page, making a complete mess of colour. The grown-ups smiled and said “ooooh, what is this, a cat?” And of course we said “No, it’s a house.”
Stupid grown-ups, they just didn’t get it. The art was never about a subject, it was psychological; it was about a feeling. Oftentimes, those houses that looked like cats and cats that looked like aeroplanes weren’t supposed to look right; they were supposed to feel right
Art Therapy Q & A
Some Art Therapy Activities / Exercises? Art therapy activities include all arts, from painting to acting to writing and beyond. These arts are used in a variety of ways based on the individual’s needs.
Best Art Therapy Book: The Handbook of Art Therapy, Art Therapy for Groups, Art Therapy the personCentred Way.
Best Art Therapy Quotes: “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picassotion.
“Nothing is confused except the mind.” – Rene Magritte
“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings.” Pierre Bonnard
Painting not the thing, but its effect. – Stéphane Mallarmé
Forget, for one moment, that you ever heard of the idea of a talented artist or the idea that one painting is good and another bad.
Why would I ask you to forget those things? Because these notions of good /bad, talented / talentless blind us to the true power of painting, a power kids instinctively recognise because they don’t care whether the yellow fish actually looks like a blue submarine.
Freed from the idea of good bad right and wrong we are able to recognise that painting, of any standard, offers us the following benefits of art therapy for health, mind and self-improvement.
Painting Relaxes our mind and reduces stress: There are two ways in which painting relaxes the mind and relieves stress. The first way is by allowing us to expel our thoughts and feelings. Rather like breathing out, when we paint freely and creatively (doodling, if you will) we are taking our thoughts and feelings, expressing them on a page and hence removing them from our systems.
The second way in which painting allows us to relax and reduce stress is essentially through meditation. When we paint a specific object, we silence our thoughts and our minds as we focus absolutely on our subject in order to create a realistic depiction of it. Think of this as like taking a mental vacation. You stop existing in one mental state as you focus fully on another. It’s like a breath of fresh air entering your mind.
Art Therapy Benefits
Painting allows new thoughts and feelings: As a continuation of the above benefit; because we are freeing our mind of its usual preoccupations through painting, we are creating new mental space for the formation of new ideas. Just as taking a walk relaxes you and let’s your mind shift gear, as it were, and come up with new thoughts and feelings, so too does painting provide a mental break the produces similar benefits.
Art boosts spirituality. The benefits of spirituality can be immense (there’s a full list here: health benefits of Spirituality). By choosing to paint either an exceedingly beautiful scene or subject, or by painting something that means a great deal to you personally, you develop in yourself a sense of awe for the world. Imagine it like this: you are painting a scene of the planets. Naturally, all the time you are painting this scene of the planets you are aware of just how grand the universe is and how miniscule you yourself are in comparison. This sense of perspective makes you feel in awe of the wonder of life, whilst also putting your stresses in perspective. It’s not hard to see how painting such a scene can take you out of your mind, away from your usual stresses and preoccupations, greatly helping to relax you.
Other Practices with similar benefits to art therapy
Read our complete guide to mindfulness and meditation. It's the most comprehensive meditation guide in the world: Mindfulness and Meditation Techniques for Beginners