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Art therapy is therapy through art. Sculpture, painting, dance and singing open us access to our interior: emotions, needs, fears. But art therapy helps not only in the case of a sick soul - it is also invaluable in the treatment of physical diseases. Art therapy is good for everyone and at any age: children, adults and seniors can use it. How does this type of psychotherapy work? What are the types of art therapy?

Art therapy , or otherwiseart therapy , as the name suggests -art therapy. More precisely, it is a type of psychotherapy that uses different artistic fields. The positive influence of art on the human psyche has been known for a long time. Art therapy was used as early as at the end of the 19th century by two French psychiatrists A. A. Tardieu and M. Simon, but the term itself - " art therapy " - was first used by an English teacher, Adrian Hill in 1942.

Sigmund Freud himself postulated a significant role of artistic creativity in studying the content of the unconscious. In Poland, at the beginning of the 20th century, this method was de alt with by an outstanding educator and ethicist, prof. Stefan Szuman, followed by a Krakow oncologist, prof. Julian Aleksandrowicz, who introduced this technique to hospitals as a supplement to traditional treatment methods.

Artistic activities are a way of expressing oneself, and every artist, dancer or musician knows it perfectly well. The vocalists keep repeating that only after entering the stage they feel that they are alive, that they are themselves. People with emotional and psychological problems, often only through art, are able to open up. This is invaluable because only then can the therapist help them. It should be emphasized that in art therapy you do not need to have any talents in a specific field of art, it does not matter.Therapeutic action has the creative process itself .

Art therapy: for whom?

Art therapy is effective especially in the case of people who have problems with verbal communication, struggling with depression, neuroses, anxiety disorders, heal addictions, or in people who, after some trauma, try to return to normal functioning.

It works well in patients with intellectual disabilities, it can also be successfully used as a complementary therapy in the treatment of somatic diseases, e.g. cancer.Art therapy is a great way to reach children with emotional problems, after difficult times, autistic, but also a form of relaxation, release from tension - for those who are completely he althy. The choice of therapy for the patient depends on several factors: first of all, on the patient's own predispositions or interests ("I always wanted to paint pictures, but it wasn't given to me"), but also on the therapist's inventiveness and his own skills and experiences.

How does art therapy work?

Artistic expressioncauses in a persona feeling of liberation , this can be described ascatharsis(with Greek - cleansing). It consists in the fact that at some point, when we work intensively and with commitment on our work, they "let go" of the emotional blockages, the accumulated emotions finally get out, fears disappear and the tension is reduced. This makes the patient easier to open up to the therapist, but also begins to become aware of the causes of his problems, which in turn is usually the beginning of positive changes.

Art therapy works on two levels - unconscious and conscious. We talk about the first -unconscious plane- when the patient begins to reach out to what he has so far displaced or was not aware of. This seems to be the essence of psychotherapy. An example may be a situation where a person who is unable to build a normal relationship comes to art therapy. Thanks to the classes, e.g. painting, at some point it is possible to reach certain events from her childhood and understand how they influenced the shaping of her entire personality. But just as important is this conscious, more tangible plane. If, during art therapy, we learn that we can paint really good pictures, our self-esteem grows. This, in turn, gives us faith in our abilities, changes our way of perceiving the world, and even thinking or feeling. A completely new person can be born through art therapy.

There are three basic functions of art therapy:

  • corrective- regaining mental balance, releasing frustration, reducing or eliminating fears, curing depression, facilitating communication with other people, building a positive attitude towards the world, reducing the level of aggression, increasing self-esteem , etc .;
  • educational- enriching the inner life, gaining new skills, broadening knowledge;
  • recreational- art therapy classes can be a great way to spend your free time, just a form of relaxation.

Examples of art therapy

Choreotherapy- dance and movement therapy in general. It enables the integration of emotions and the state of mind with the body, relieves stress, allows you to abandon old movement patterns and learn new ones. Thanks to choreotherapy, it is possible to experience your own body more consciously, overcoming its limitations, and triggering the desired reactions, such as joy, relaxation, openness.

Music therapy- working with the voice opens the patient in an extraordinary way. People who learn to sing suddenly see in their daily life that they have started to… speak (meaning - express themselves, say what they want). Another type of (passive) music therapy is simply listening to music. Calm sounds have a relaxing effect on the body and mind, or on the contrary - stimulating (depending on the effect you want to achieve). Playing instruments, on the other hand, gives the patient a sense of agency.

Bajkoterapia- the therapist selects the appropriate therapeutic fairy tales and reads them. Rather, it is a therapy aimed at children, but not necessarily. Listening to a fairy tale has a soothing effect, kills boredom, and sometimes suggests some solutions.

Filmotherapy- therapy through film. The therapist suggests films about a topic that somehow correlates with the patient's problems. Watching movies ends with a discussion.

Therapy through plastic arts , such as: drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics, weaving, cutouts, coloring books and much more - through the patient's artistic works you can learn many things about himself. The exceptions are coloring pages, which are only relaxing (well, unless someone is coloring everything black). But a simple drawing in which the patient is asked to draw his family can be a valuable guide for the therapist. How does a child see his family? How about yourself against her background? It may turn out that she is the largest figure in the drawing. Or that it is not there at all …

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