FAQs About Art Therapy

Art therapy is a recognized form of therapy. Led by a trained art therapist, it takes a creative approach to working with stress, trauma, growth and change. This allows issues to be explored in a gentle way. Some experiences are so disturbing that there are no words that help a person come to terms with them and move on in life. Art can express what the person cannot.

In working to resolve major conflicts, trauma, loss and grief, art therapy can help to provide:

  •  Support to contain and safely manage those things that are difficult and painful to acknowledge or discuss verbally.
  • A tangible record of progress that can be reviewed during and at the termination of therapy.
  • Insight into and validation of one’s feelings.
  • A way to recharge and nurture your own self-care.
  • The opportunity to discover strengths and authenticity, leading to a stronger sense of identity and contribution to relationships, family, community and the world.
  • Help with problem solving emotionally difficult choices and decisions through creative expression of these choices.
  • The recovery of a sense of enjoyment, peace, and well-being.
  • Engagement of the whole brain, keeping the mind fit through the stimulated integration of cognitive, feeling, and sensory processes.

Art therapists are regulated by the Canadian Art Therapy Association and guided by its Code of Ethics. Most art therapists are trained at an art therapy school and have a minimum of 600 to 1,000 face-to-face clinical hours as practicum during this training.

Research is ongoing within the profession of art therapy.

Recent findings include acknowledgment from the medical field that expressing oneself in a creative process can positively affect the mind/body relationship:

  • Allows the body to release endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters.
  • Reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Creates a body response that improves immune function and helps to naturally relieve pain.

Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself (2013) by Dr. Lissa Rankin, MD