Art therapy: Crayons, paintbrushes and blank paper are all you need to heal this quarantine – health


The trend started with Dalgona coffee and flaunting the saree challenge but soon enough, the Covid-19 lockdown made people accept there own company and go back to entertaining themselves in old school manner before the cellphones became our sole medium of escapism. With more and more people getting anxious about staying indoor for weeks and no where to go or splurge money to unwind, many turned to art and have been finding solace in art therapy to heal through self-exploration and developing new coping skills.

Sitting with a blank paper and a set of crayons or paintbrushes, many looked inwards for themes and conflicts that may be affecting their thoughts, emotions and behaviours and poured it all out through their drawing, painting, colouring, sculpting, or collage making techniques. A success parameter in art therapy has been the number of art pages that have been going up on social media or feeds flooded with people painting rocks, pots and even broken mirrors to overcome stress, communicate or simply explore different aspects of their own personalities.

 

What is art therapy?

While ‘arts’ therapy umbrellas a wider notion of healing through music or drama, ‘art’ therapy is a creative expression through visual art. A combination of the fields of art and psychotherapy, it is a discipline that is used in studios, creative development workshops and even clinical settings to treat general illness, cancer diagnosis, disaster relief, dementia, autism, schizophrenia, geriatric patients, trauma in children or adults, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and even ongoing daily challenges.

While a simple way to look at the discipline is through the lens of of art as a therapy, another way involves analytic art therapy and art psychotherapy. The former stresses on the creation process of the art while analytic art therapy is based on the theories that come from analytical psychology or psychoanalysis.

 

What do art therapists do?

On the professional front, art therapists encourage their clients to go delve inwards and explore their inner thoughts and emotions. Then using paint, paper and pen or even clay, all that distress is drawn or scuplted out.

In analytic art therapy, focus in laid on the ideas that are transferred between the client and the therapist through art. In case of art psychotherapy, psychotherapists analysis their clients’ artwork verbally.

However, some art therapists believe that analysing the client’s artwork verbally is not essential. The main aim is to boost mental health.

 

Unlike in an art class which focused on learning a technique or creating a specific finished product, art therapy encourages one to express their inner world instead of making something that is an expression of the outer world. With the various phases of lockdown spanning over four months, people focused on their own perceptions, imagination and feelings and found a healing for their anxiety or other emotional difficulties.

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