Simple Art Therapy Ideas
People have used art as a form of self-expression and healing for decades. But it was only in the 1940s that it was formally recognised as a therapeutic means to treat psychological disorders and improve mental health. There are various art therapy exercises, from making doodles and collages to crafting sculptures and pottery. You can even use technology, such as NightCafe’s AI-powered digital art generator, for art therapy. Within each form lies a technique that fosters healthy self-expression, which encourages personal insight, better coping mechanisms, and mental restoration.
What Is Art Therapy?
But how does art therapy work anyway? Art therapy isn’t just some random scribbles on a canvas. It’s a hybrid specialty rooted in art and psychology. Therapists, who are certified in both areas of expertise, use the creative process and existing artwork to help people with emotional and psychological challenges achieve better levels of function and well-being. Combined with talk therapy, it helps people deal with strong emotions, develop self-awareness, address unresolved emotional conflicts, improve social skills, and raise self-esteem.
You don’t have to be skilled or knowledgeable in art to do art therapy. Some studies suggest that even just being in the presence of art can have therapeutic effects. That means you don’t even have to be the one creating art to experience the benefits of art therapy.
Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy carries a load of benefits that people of all ages can enjoy. Studies show that it helps reduce stress, stimulate mental function, and improve one’s ability to deal with pain and other negative mental symptoms. It’s also known to bring positive results to people dealing with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, attention deficit, substance dependency, eating disorders, and other cognitive impairments.
Since art therapy uses creative expression instead of speech, it’s believed to be especially beneficial for individuals who are out of touch with their emotions and have difficulty discussing their feelings.
Art Therapy Ideas
There are thousands of ways to engage in art therapy. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Draw How You Feel
When you’re in a difficult situation, it can be difficult to figure out how you feel about what’s happening and how to respond. Freely drawing the situation on a piece of paper can help you see the event from a different perspective and maybe help you channel your thoughts about how to move forward.
Colour Your Emotions
Sometimes, even the mere words happy, sad, or confused aren't enough to explain how we’re actually feeling. Try to express emotions through colour instead. You can even make a colour wheel, playing with different shades, to indicate the intensity of your emotions.
Explore Art Tools
Don’t be limited by traditional art. Art therapy uses more than just sketches, paintings, sculptures, etc. You can express yourself in whatever way or form you feel is the best way to reveal your true self, whether it’s with art made using scissors or figures using recycled materials.
Get Into Crafting
Crafts can also be a form of art therapy. You can express yourself by creating dolls, furniture, or other crafted products.
For some, expressing themselves through usual art therapy techniques can be a challenge. In these cases, technology can be helpful. For example, NightCafe’s AI-powered digital art generator can help you convey your emotions by simply typing a few keyword prompts and uploading an image you want to work with. And if you’re wondering how to display digital art to reflect on afterwards, you have a few options, such as using the image as your phone wallpaper or displaying it in digital art frames at home.
Getting Started with Art Therapy
Art therapy is simple to engage in for most people. If you’re doing art therapy for clinical or medical reasons, it’s best to hire a licensed therapist to create and guide you through a program that is truly effective.
That said, if you want to do art therapy to simply relieve stress, find a better outlet for self-expression, and reduce some personal pains, you can try simple art therapy ideas, like creating digital art with NightCafe’s AI-powered creator, to get started.