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Art Therapy

History of Art Therapy

Margaret Naumburg, a therapist and educator, is one of the first to develop and define art therapy in the 1940s. She is referred to as the founder of art therapy. Art therapy has been utilized in a wide range of populations. Those from very young children to the elderly. War veterans, those incarcerated, people with physical disabilities, and those who suffer from mental illness and/or psychological disorders.

Science Behind Art Therapy

Art therapy is a unique treatment that doesn’t require talent or skill to get therapeutic results.

The American Art Therapy Association continues to define Art Therapy as “facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supporting personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns.” Art therapy improves sensory-motor and cognitive functions, improves self-esteem, raises self-awareness, creates emotional resilience, builds insight, improves social skills, and reduces/resolves conflicts and distress.

A core theory is that different art media activates different brain regions. Watercolor or clay will tap into the more emotional centers of the brain, which are less restrictive. More resistive media such as rulers, pencils, markers, and even building something in 3D will potentially utilize more cognitive processes in the brain.

Another theory is that a patient’s artwork has very symbolic meanings. These symbolic meanings reflect emotions often attached to memories that are difficult to express with words.

Art Therapy offers techniques and projects to help meet anyone’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. It is believed that expressing oneself has a huge impact on healing and helps enable a person to do so, along with deepening their senses of self-awareness and having more meaning in their life.

Art Work Groups at Sylvia Brafman’s Residential Community

Sylvia Brafman takes pride in our patient’s meaningful work projects!
Five days a week, residents will meet in the art studio to learn how to craft a variety of wearables that are sold in local shops.

Skills developing to be increased and developed are creative problem-solving, overall skill building, group engagement, time management, risk-taking, direction-following, and project completion.

Some of our workshop medium projects we work with or create can be self-care-based products, woodworking skills, fiber arts, and even pottery. They all are skills that can be taught and many of these skills can come together to create some amazing products!

What Do Sessions Look Like?

In Art Therapy groups and individualized sessions, residents can really get involved in their personal healing journey. They can take the time to explore, work through, and really deepen their insights through several different mediums of art.

Art Therapy sessions are about expressing oneself. Not focusing on technical skills or ability. It’s not about being judgmental or critical but just allowing emotions to flow and going with the process of creation itself, undisturbed. Several residents choose to create a series of art pieces based on their surrounding experiences while in treatment.

We enjoy having the residents the opportunity to share their creative process as it relates to their healing process and journey. It has provided the residents with confidence building, along with critical thinking skills, establishing and building boundaries, and opening up their vulnerability in taking the risk to share their intimate works with others. It is also very inspiring to our staff to see their healing process through their art.

>What Do Sessions Look Like?

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