Art therapy is a healing practice used to increase the overall health of one’s body, mind, and spirit. It’s a therapy that can easily be successful for people of all ages and for people suffering from many different challenges, such as illness or trauma.
The American Art Therapy Association was established to help promote the healing aspects of art and how it can improve the overall quality of one’s life.
Art therapy is often used when working with the aging population, as it is effective with increasing people’s self-perception, memory, and coordination.
Wellness with Art Therapy
Research has shown that the creative process has many benefits, including:
- helping with managing stress levels;
- developing conflict resolution skills;
- balancing emotions; and
- improving cognitive clarity.
Useful for everybody of all ages, art therapy helps with personal development because the creating and reflecting aspects of art increases self-awareness.
Accepting Aging Through Creative Expression
As we age, there are many things that change in life that sometimes we may not be willing to accept or have a hard time coming to terms with: we lose people, we lose our health, we lose our home, and we lose our mobility. Depression is common among elderly people, in addition to confusion and low self-esteem.
Art helps people come to terms with various aspects of aging and can help people reclaim their identity. Because art is full of choices people have the freedom to make, it helps ease the feeling of dependency that aging people may feel. Growing older is often viewed as merely a day-to-day survival issue, whereas creative expression lays emphasis on the person’s experiences, memories, and relationships.
American Art Therapy Association
With over 5,000 members globally within 36 chapters, the American Art Therapy Association strives to promote the effectiveness of art therapy for every type of person of every age. The Association supports legislation involving art therapy at both the state and federal levels of government and supports different research projects, educational programs, and clinical uses of art therapy.
The following video was produced with help from the American Art Therapy Association with the goal of showing people how effective this creative therapy is for the elderly population. It is an example of rediscovering one’s joy and happiness through expression.
As art therapist Wendy Miller notes, “[Art is] not a luxury; it’s really a necessity.”