The What and Why of Art Therapy
Often times people wonder how art therapy is different from “arts and crafts” or “art class.” Some people have memories of trying to create something “artistic” and the consequences or responses to this effort. While creative experiences are important parts of every person, art therapy offers us a nonjudgmental approach to both familiar and foreign opportunities to use our imagination.
Art therapy may involve picking up a nostalgic pencil or crayon, but the intention is the same as picking up cleaning supplies or cold medicine. The purpose is to give us a tool to manage our experiences, some of which we don’t want to talk about, others of which we have no words for. Art therapy lets us talk without being limited by words. It has no grades, no wrong answers, no bad work. Art therapy is about letting a shape be a shape, a line be a line, existing because we put it there. Next time you’re worked up or weighed down, take a minute and let your pen or marker roam where it may. Try letting the crayon do the talking.