How art therapy is helping people with mental illness

Image courtesy: tallahasseeleonshelter

As human beings, we were designed to be social creatures. We all feel the need to express our fears and insecurities with the people around us. But there are a few that suffer with their emotional problems in silence, unable to share, unable to express.

During the Second World War, an artist by the name of Adrian Hill was recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium at Sussex. He turned to painting and sketching as ways to kill time and began to introduce it to other patients too. To his surprise, he found that the patients used art to express their fears, anxieties and the traumatic experiences they had undergone during the war. This unintentional experiment is believed to have paved way for art therapy to become a recognised healing tool.

Art as a medium is capable of bringing out a person’s deepest fears and needs that are sometimes buried beyond the realms of awareness. Art therapy helps a patient to recognize these problems and to eventually overcome them. Although this is a relatively new form of psychotherapy, its potential to help people has been recognized worldwide.

Not all of us can be confident about our abilities to do artwork, but you don’t need to be Picasso to create art. Every art therapist would reassure you about this fact.

Art therapists are trained to be sensitive and to be good listeners, who can recognize and understand a patient’s problems. Patients can often create unexpected and sometimes frightening pieces of art, but a therapist is well-equipped to be responsive and encouraging towards the development of the patient’s condition.

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