Art therapy. Art as therapy. What is the difference?
Art Therapy (or Art Psychotherapy)
In art psychotherapy, the emphasis is on increasing personal awareness and exploring insights through the process of art-making. The art created becomes a source of self-expression and communication. Physically creating art allows clients to externalise their internal conflicts, which allows them to process the challenges they face at a safe distance.
As the art-making process is conducted as part of a therapy session, it is done in the presence of a registered art therapist. This is a key difference between art psychotherapy and art as therapy. In art psychotherapy, an art therapist provides guidance on the client’s journey—enabling and empowering them to improve their self-esteem and self-awareness during the reflective process.
Art can help us in different ways. The artmaking process during art psychotherapy sessions evokes personal meanings and insights. This may result in clients experiencing strong emotions, which may, in turn, cause them to feel vulnerable. A registered art therapist is trained to recognise and support clients in managing their emotions, so they do not feel overwhelmed or vulnerable.
As a result of these strong emotions and feelings of vulnerability that directly relate to people’s mental health, art psychotherapy is best engaged in a safe, non-judgmental, and confidential setting. An art psychotherapy session can be conducted individually or in a small group, depending on the clients' needs.
Art as Therapy
Art as therapy is used to describe art that is created for the purpose of leisure, relaxation, or personal pleasure. It is therapeutic in nature but is not therapy.
It focuses on mastering artistic techniques; experimenting with different art forms and materials; and provides a sense of accomplishment and completion.
Some examples of art as therapy include visual journaling and colouring books. You can embark on these activities at any time, or in a group without the need for a registered art therapist or facilitator.
Art Psychotherapy at Solace
At Solace, our registered art therapists have at least a Masters's qualification in art therapy and a minimum of 800 hours of clinical supervision. This is in accordance with the requirements of the Australian, New Zealand, and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA).
We deliver competent and effective art therapy services through ethical, safe, and empathetic art psychotherapy interventions with the aim of improving mental health building emotional resilience. With our guidance, we are confident in helping teenagers and adults identify, process, and work through difficulties to emerge stronger and be who they truly are.
Take the First Step Forward and Resolve Inner Conflicts
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