Copyright © GWENNWALDMAN
Any type of therapy is often met with resistance, fear and simply people don't want to or know how to change. Using art instead of words alone is extremely helpful in these situations. Images are a powerful tool for expression when words are unavailable or are not freely expressed. Through the process of making art within the therapeutic environment, over time awareness and understanding can lead to change, often without one even realizing it has taken place. It is often the non-verbal experience from art therapy and the artwork itself that enables one to become more self-reflective, more flexible and can change one's entire perspective of self and others.
Art Therapy is a discipline that evolves the melding of two fields: art and psychology. The piece of art---whether it is a drawing, a painting, a piece of sculpture, or the drawing assessment tool---becomes the vehicle through which our thoughts, feelings, attitude and behavior (the story of our lives) can be expressed and understood. Art making expresses our subjective experience in the "here and now" moment. Art also reflects and gives form to our creative and intuitive life process: our dreams, our hopes, our wishes, our fears, our expectations, the uniqueness of our everyday thoughts. It is the creation of forms privately symbolic of our immediate feelings.
Art Therapy is used as the method of intervention most often with children and adolescents because "art is a child's language of expression". It can help build a bridge between their inner world and the world around them. The artwork created becomes the pathway to dialogue. The process of making art and talking about it gives children/teens a means to express and release thoughts and feelings they might not be able to verbalize.