What is Art Therapy? How Art Can Improve Your Life

Art therapy is simply the use of art to improve mental health and well-being.

A study showed that it offers several benefits for its participants.

In a nutshell, it can be used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In this post, we will talk about exactly what therapy entails, how it is used, and its benefits for its users.

By the end of this post, you would know how to get started with your therapy journey if it is something that you are interested in.

Let’s begin by discussing what art therapy is.

What is Art Therapy?

what is art therapy - painting a face

Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses art materials as a primary form of communication.

It can be used to assess and treat mental health conditions, physical injuries, and developmental disabilities.

During therapy sessions, patients use art to express their feelings and explore their thoughts which can be helpful for people who find it difficult to talk about their feelings verbally.

Art therapists are trained to understand the psychological effects of artmaking on clients and they use this knowledge to help patients improve their mental and emotional well-being.

Art therapy is based on the belief that art can be used to express thoughts and feelings that are difficult to put into words.

The creative process involved in artmaking can help people to resolve their problems, explore their emotions, and achieve personal insight.

How Art Therapy Works?

art therapy painting

Art therapy sessions at Melbourne Art Class are undertaken in the class setting and usually last from around 1.5 to 2 hours and are typically held once a week.

During therapy sessions, participants will be asked to express themselves through art while the therapist provides guidance and support.

The therapist will also guide the participant the on artwork created during the session with the aim of helping participants understand their thoughts and feelings better.

The Benefits of Art Therapy

woman painting flowers

Art therapy has several benefits for its users. Some of its benefits include:

1) Stress and Anxiety Relief

Art therapy can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels by providing a creative outlet for emotions.

Built-up anxiety can be a result of pent-up thoughts and stress. Art making helps calm and relax its users from stressful thoughts or emotions.

An effective session can provide its participant with a much-needed break from the outside world which allows people to unwind and de-stress in a safe and creative environment.

2) Improved Mood and Emotional Well-Being

Art therapy can also be a very effective way to improve your mood and emotional well-being.

Several mental health facilities offer therapy sessions for helping people who struggle with a variety of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety as it has proven effective in improving mood.

It is also effective in improving emotional well-being as it helps people express themselves in a creative and positive way which helps people understand their thoughts and achieve greater personal clarity.

3) Improve Self-Esteem

Creating art is also a great way to build self-esteem and confidence.

Art therapy can help people who struggle with low self-esteem as it provides an outlet for creative expression as well as a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.

Creative arts therapy is so effective because art therapists understand it as a combination of both art and therapy which allows participants to be creative.

Therapy participants can also feel secure because previous experience or artistic skills are not a requirement for enrollment in therapy courses and their art will not be judged based on art techniques or concepts.

Participants are also able to see the results of their hard work and effort which can reinforce their sense of achievement and increase self-esteem.

4) Develop Artistic Skills

Art therapy also provides an opportunity for participants to develop their art skills with the guidance of a professional art therapist.

The art therapist will help participants to find their unique creative processes and improve their art expression skills.

Art therapists often provide feedback focused on helping participants with expression and not on the technical concepts of art.

However, although expressive art therapy is not focused on developing technical art skills, by refining their creative process and art expression skills, participants are also able to improve their art skills.

6) Improves Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is one of the first steps in coping with several types of mental illnesses and trauma.

Art making allows therapy participants to become more aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Art therapists help participants understand how these emotions impact their lives and how to cope with them in a healthy way.

Furthermore, art making can also be used as a form of mindfulness where people can focus on the present moment and forget about their worries and other stressors.

It can help to ground people in the here and now which can be helpful for people who are struggling with anxiety or depression.

Therapy can also help patients understand themselves better and work through any negative emotions they may be experiencing by expressing themselves through art.

5) Express Yourself

Art is one of the best forms of expression as it allows people to be creative with their work and to think outside the box.

This helps them express themselves how they would like to – without restrictions.

Simply put, it can be used as a great form of self-care and self-expression.

Art therapists will provide guidance and support but ultimately it is up to the patient to create art that is meaningful to them.

There is no right or wrong way to create art which helps people to feel more relaxed and less anxious as they are not being judged on their artworks

This can help to boost self-esteem and confidence as well as provide a sense of achievement for participants.

6) Improve Your Overall Health

Art therapy can also help to improve your overall health in several ways.

It can help to lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and reduce stress by creating an outlet to express overwhelming thoughts, thus helping participants feel less stressed.

Furthermore, it also improves sleep quality and cognitive function which boosts the immune system.

It also helps with the healing process for several mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

So, it will not only help to improve mental health but also physical health.

How to Get Started with Art Therapy

painting art

If you think art therapy could be beneficial for you, you can get started by finding a great course for you.

At Melbourne Art Class, we offer a 6-week creative art therapy course. Find out more about our course here.


As we’ve seen, art therapy is a beneficial form of treatment for mental health conditions that can improve the lives of those who use it.

It is popular for improving mental and physical health and can help to boost self-esteem and reduce stress.

It may also be a fantastic way for you to express yourself if you’re searching for a creative outlet.

If you are interested in art therapy or developing your artistic skills, feel free to contact us and we’ll be glad to help!


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