Art therapy is the use of art materials for self-expression and reflection in the presence of a trained art therapist. It can also be defined as the use art making within a professional relationship by people who experience illness, trauma or daily life challenges an also by those who seek personal development. Through making images of objects, the client is able to externalize and objectify experience hence it becomes possible to reflect upon it. Art therapy can also be a tool for furthering a person’s emotional growth, self-esteem, psychological and social integration.
For some clients, the images and objects they create may help to hold or contain feelings that might otherwise be experienced as unbearable. Art therapy is based on the belief that states of mind that are beyond words may find expression through images in a symbolic form.
Topics that are most commonly covered in art therapy include but are not limited to gratitude, trauma and loss, self, relaxation, and happiness.