While popping prescription pills is a common treatment for anxiety and depression, there might be more colorful alternatives. For individuals seeking other treatments, research suggests art therapy may help paint the way to positivity Art therapy improved depression and influenced fatigue levels in cancer patients on chemotherapy. Bar-Sela G, Atid L, Gabay N, Epelbaum R. Division of Oncology Rambam-Health Care Campus, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Haifa, Israel. .
NOT JUST FOR KIDS — WHY IT MATTERS
Art therapy uses the creative process as a means of expression to help patients heal. Research suggests art can allow patients to distance themselves from problems and help reveal issues they may not be able to put into words. Plus, it can help the therapist communicate with the patient and find solutions to the problems at hand.
Typically, it’s up to the patient to determine which kind of art to use. Mediums like mosaics, collages, drawing, and even clay can help illustrate specific problems. But don't be fooled: any old finger painting sesh won't necessarily cure every issue. The key to art therapy is when the patient describes the art to a therapist in the way of his or her choice, helping the therapist understand symbols and metaphors that reveal the patient's underlying feelings and issues. Since the focus is on problem solving rather than artistic talent the environment is more relaxed, allowing the patient to express themselves in a low-stress manner.
Art in Motion — The Answer/Debate
The usefulness of art therapy is just as subjective as the art itself. It’s been used to help HIV/AIDS and cancer patients cope with disease Art therapy improved depression and influenced fatigue levels in cancer patients on chemotherapy. Bar-Sela G, Atid L, Gabay N, Epelbaum R. Division of Oncology Rambam-Health Care Campus, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Haifa, Israel. Art therapy for relief of symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS. Rao D, Nainis N, Williams L, Langner D, Eisin Am Paice I. Institute for Healthcare Studies, Feiberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA. , children recovering from the trauma of Hurricane Katrina A developmental approach to understanding drawings and narratives from children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Looman, W.S. University of Minnesota, School of Nursing, Minneapolis, MN. Journal of Pediatric Health care. 2006 May-Jun;20(3):158-66. , and troubled kids facing problems in the classroom. Studies also suggest art therapy may be an effective treatment for individuals dealing with abuse, low self-esteem, and social phobias. Some practitioners believe art therapy could be help treat any condition, but more studies are needed to determine true effectiveness.