Therapy is defined as the set of means whose objective is the cure or relief of an illness or symptom. Drugs, surgery, diet, and sports are examples of these means.  There is one that dates back to ancient times and was recognized in the 20th century: art therapy. Here is the gist of this popular form of therapy.

Art therapy: definition

Simply put, art therapy is a therapeutic method using art or specifically artistic activities.  It is defined as “a discipline which exploits the artistic potential for therapeutic and humanitarian purposes” by Richard Forestier, research director at Afratapem (French Association for Research and Applications of Artistic Techniques in Pedagogy and Medicine).  This definition is more of modern art therapy which uses the artistic potential of the patient to alleviate his suffering and lead to his healing. The artistic competence of the therapist is then required.  Verbal expression, on the other hand, is not sought after. In traditional art therapy, the patient is invited to discuss at the same time as he produces an artistic work.

The target audience for art therapy

Art therapy is recommended primarily for individuals with an interest in art.  Most of the time, they have communication and expression problems or relationship difficulties.  Cases of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease can also be relieved by art therapy. In addition, artistic practice helps to lower the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.  Men and women suffering from stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, and post-traumatic stress will therefore be much better after art therapy sessions.  Finally, the elderly, the infirm, those suffering from addiction, and children with asthma are among the target patients of an art therapist. The therapy is generally practiced in establishments treating mental health, in hospital settings or not.  However, many social, educational, cultural and community areas call on it.

The artistic disciplines used in therapy

Coloring is the flagship discipline of art therapy.  Then come all types of plastic arts such as modeling, painting, sculpture, drawing, or calligraphy.  Visual arts such as theater, photography, film, mime, puppetry, etc. are also widely practiced.  Music and dance are not to be outdone. Finally, storytelling, mime, and slam have also proven their worth in art therapy.  It should be noted that this therapeutic discipline is usually carried out in a small group.