Art therapy is a powerful tool that helps one to get in touch with feelings through the creative process. By providing a visual explanation as to what is going on inside the mind. Art therapy makes the unconscious conscious. The art process taps into the rich inner resources of material where the experienced art therapist can help, guide and assist in understanding and healing.
Art therapy is used to help patients overcome emotional conflicts and become more self-aware. To do this, the art therapist will guide patients in the use of certain art materials, such as pastels or crayons, to express himself/herself. Clay, paper or finger painting can also be used, depending on the issue being addressed. These specifically selected materials can be used to express what is in the patient's mind before they are able to put it into words.(Sometimes art is an easier form of expression for patients than verbalizing their pain.)
Art therapy can provide a positive feeling of expression within patients as well as allow a physical release of creative energy as work is being created. Creative expressions improve self-esteem, self-awareness, and personal growth, and also provide a sense of mastery. It can also be less threatening than traditional forms of therapy, which go deep through the layers of consciousness to find new meanings, that would not ordinarily surface.
If a specific topic is not immediately apparent, the therapist might suggest a topic for expression, such as one's family or a vivid childhood memory. There is a misconception that one needs to be artistic to do art therapy. You absolutely do not need to be an artist. The emphasis is on the process, not on the product.