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Is Art Therapeutic?

In the last year on this blog and my Tiktok, I have been trying to be more transparent about my mental health issues, in an effort to connect with people from everywhere and to help one another. Since I am an artistic person, I have found art to be therapeutic during my worst mental health crisis. During my stay in the hospital, we did art and music therapy, group therapy along with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Even patients that did not consider themselves artistic, were able to use collage, drawing and painting to express themselves.

But does art therapy actually work? Well, according to a study in 2016, while testing cortisol levels in the saliva of participants, before and after 45 minutes of art making, it was found that it can reduce stress and help with your mental well-being. That means that under an hour of artistic and creative can be therapeutic for anyone, regardless of how artistic the patient is.

Now this isn't to say that art is the best treatment for all mental health issues. Many people who may not like art or do not consider themselves to be artistic, can be resistant to this type of therapy. One study showed that art therapy doesn't necessarily significantly reduce total or positive symptoms.

Want to try art therapy yourself? You can find this type of therapy in many different ways. You can of course check with your regular therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist to see if they can recommend an art therapy group. You can also check with group homes, community centers, colleges, and hospitals, many of these therapies can be free or covered by insurance. If you are a member of a group like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), you can ask for resources as well.

What do you think? Do you think that art is therapeutic? Have you tried art therapy yourself?





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