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Art therapy and the use of creative arts in therapy have many applications. Art can be healing or self-revelatory for many people.
In formal therapy, only licensed art therapists are technically allowed to practice what is known as art therapy, but art can be incorporated into the healing process by therapists and even non-therapists in their work with people who are suffering. Using the creative arts in therapy is especially useful in exploring our emotions (Psychology Today, 2016).
According to one source,
“Art involves the right side of the brain which is the place where visual memories are stored. That means children who do not have language skills can communicate emotions and fears using images”
(Best Masters in Psychology, 2019).
As a corollary to this, art can be useful in therapy to help people dealing with severe mental illness who may not be able to vocalize what they are feeling, but can more easily draw or paint their emotions.
At Painted Brain, contributors are offered classes in a variety of art mediums as well as skills such as job skills group and community meeting. The community meeting on Mondays from 2 to 3 PM is a group that serves to keep everybody aware of developments in the community space while also modeling the behaviors involved in organizing a community.
At the beginning of community meeting and many other groups held at the Painted Brain community center in Los Angeles, contributors check in with the group to their feelings about how they are doing at that time. These check-ins are vital to keeping everybody aware of the issues (as well as the strengths) that are affecting members of Painted Brain’s community.
Because some contributors come to us experiencing symptoms of mental unwellness, they can certainly be helped by the approach to using creative arts in therapy that we use at Painted Brain. Contributors who are actively experiencing symptoms are able to express themselves through creative arts in a way they aren’t able to in simple conversation or talk therapy.
It is the aim that with each new contributor that enters Painted Brain’s milieu, they are able to focus on recovery aided by the use of arts and crafts.
Best Masters in Psychology (2019). How is Art Therapy used? Retrieved from https://www.bestmastersinpsychology.com/faq/how-is-art-therapy-used/
Psychology Today (2016). Art Therapy. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/art-therapy