Coping with Mental Illness: Art Therapy

There are many ways to manage your mental illness with or without medication, or in conjunction to taking medication. By doing these things you can manage your mental illness more effectively and live a happier and healthier life style. Art therapy is a wonderful tool that almost anyone is capable of, plus, it’s low in cost and requires very little effort.

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art as its primary form of expression and communication; it is used as a tool to manage and address emotional issues which may be confusing and unsettling to the individual. Music, art, dance and drama are all forms of art and are included in art therapy, you do not need any previous experience or skill in doing any of these things as the aim is to use your creations to understand yourself and your illness better rather than producing a great work of art. However, you may find that you are more than capable of doing both. Art therapists work with people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities. It can be provided in either groups or individually in order to best suit the individual’s needs. Art therapy can help you come to terms with any difficult feelings, thoughts, emotions, events or memories that may be causing you problems. There are many people that use art therapy successfully and find that it does help them manage and cope with their mental illness, and in some cases, possibly even recover from their illness.

Benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy can improve an individual’s mental, emotional and even physical states. Many people have found it to raise their quality of life and can provide a wide range of benefits. Humans are social creatures with a never ending need to express themselves and show off their creativity. Through art we are all capable of doing this, which is why art therapy is not only good for those suffering from mental illness, but also those without. It is a healthy way to express yourself and your feelings, plus the possibilities are endless; the only limit is your imagination.

Art therapy helps to channel negative energy into something creative rather than destructive, this provides a safe outlet for negative emotions and feelings such as fear, anger, guilt and pain.  Sometimes, a person may find it too difficult or distressing to talk about certain things, art therapy allows a person to communicate with their therapist through any form of art media. Allowing them to communicate with their therapist more freely and to help them feel more understood. It can also allow that person to build trust with their therapist and others in a safe environment. Art therapy is a way for an individual to gain skills and a sense of achievement, increasing their self-esteem and self-respect. It helps to provide a more objective perspective on challenges or difficult circumstances within a person’s life.

You may also find that a form of art may become a new hobby of yours, or a new found talent. This opens up the possibilities of working within the art industry or just making some extra money on the side selling the things you have created. Having a hobby or activity you enjoy helps you to meet new people and make friends, improving your social life.

Personal Experiences with Art Therapy

I do not go to an art therapist for art therapy, however I do use it as an everyday tool in order to help me manage my mental illness. This is because it is a very therapeutic way to stay productive without draining yourself or using too much energy, therefore not allowing your mind to wander and focus on negative things. Keeping myself distracted is the number one way I manage my mental illness as I have found it to be the most effective.

Art therapy is one of my favourite tools to manage mental illness, and if you’ve never thought or heard of it, I would definitely recommend trying it out. I absolutely love being able to create whatever I want for myself and others, and it really does provide insight into your illness.

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3 thoughts on “Coping with Mental Illness: Art Therapy

  1. Pingback: Self-harm | A Schizoaffective Story

  2. Pingback: Coping with Mental Illness: Music | A Schizoaffective Story

  3. Pingback: Creativity | A Schizoaffective Story

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