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  • Coco Zhu

Mindfull X Shield - An Introduction to Art Therapy

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

We are excited to welcome colloborate organization Mesothelioma Hope. They are dedicated to being a beacon of hope and support for individuals affected by cancer. Mesothelioma Hope have an extensive team of patient advocates committed to:

  • Connecting patients with top specialists in their area

  • Navigating available treatment options, including recruiting clinical trials

  • Helping patients, survivors, and loved ones join support groups and connect to community resources

For additional professional tips on patient emotional support, please refer to sources from Mesothelioma Hope:

Therapy is a widespread type of mental support service. When doctors and therapists are in their session, some ask their patients to draw on a piece of paper for self-expression and help them calm down. Later, this activity became what is called “Art Therapy”, a specified type of mental therapy.

Art Therapy, as a specified field, was invented during the 1940s and became more widespread in the 1970s. Usually guided by a professional therapist, art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that helps individuals and families enhance their quality of life in many different aspects. More specifically, Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. Usually, the goal of a therapy session is for clients to use art media to express their thoughts, emotions, or issues that are bothering them. Through the process of creation, therapists can better understand the problem and help the clients find a solution through discussion of the artwork.

Just as art has a variety of forms and media, there are different types of Art Therapy. Some common types of Creative Art Therapies are Dance Therapy, Drama Therapy, Expressive Therapy, Music Therapy, and Writing Therapy. Art Therapy also uses various art techniques such as doodling, painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, collage, coloring, and so on. Types of techniques used differ according to the goal of specific therapy sessions. A notable characteristic of Art Therapy is that, although requires a certain amount of artistic skills, Art Therapy is not exclusively for those who are creative and talented. In most cases, art is merely a media for patients to express their emotions which could be hard to explain in words. As a result, Art Therapy can be beneficial for a wide range of age and demographic groups.

More generally speaking, Art Therapy can be widely applicable to a certain amount of mental and physical dilemmas. Some of the more commonly known applications are psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. However, Art Therapy is also applicable to the following conditions: Eating Disorders (ED), Family Relationship Problems, Cancer, Ageing-related Issues, Substance Use Disorder, and so on.

Although it may be easy to treat Art Therapy as equivalent to art lessons in schools, the two have vastly different purposes and steps. As Art Therapy mainly focuses on the expression of emotions and communications between therapists and patients, it is a facilitation tool to problem-solve with a specialized therapist. On the other hand, art lessons focus more on mastering the techniques. Yet, the practice of art such as painting is still proven to be beneficial to our mental status. Tutorials for simple art therapies can be found on YouTube and individual art therapy sites. As a result, even if not considering paid art therapy sessions, individuals should still consider using art as a way of relaxation in their daily lives. In the end, art is about expression, self-care, and investigating oneself.

Writer: Coco Zhu




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