. In fact, for ADHD, it might be one of the most single most effective therapies to help
and adults to concentrate, slow down and stabilize.
The same can be said for bipolar disorder
and OCD. Person's suffering with anorexia and bulimia
should similarly consider taking up art as a mood stabilizer.
Art slows down the mind, it can give a person an emotional outlet. It can help to build self-esteem. It can stabilize erratic moods. It also helps children and adults to get time for their minds to slow down and heal. Children and teens, adults as well, who have been victims of child abuse, should take up art, as part of a healing therapy.
Psychologist and theorist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
wrote extensively about “flow”which he describes as “a state concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.”
The artist can experience that state of flow
when being absorbed in drawing or painting. This can be true for children
, as well as for victims of child abuse
or children who are emotionally disturbed or experience intrusive thoughts.
Therefore, art as a self help therapy, or as something to be encouraged by parents, educators and caregivers for children who have mental health disorders or who are emotionally disturbed, is of much value.
Psychological Disorders self help and arts therapy
Art can be more effective than medications
with such disorders as...
- ADHD – Helping children with ADHD to concentrate
- OCD – Assisting persons with OCD to balance
- Bipolar Disorder – Helping adults, teens and children to balance mood swings of bipolar disorder.
- Depression – Help a person suffering from depression to get away from depressing news or negative programming on television.
- Schizophrenia – It can also be part of an effective plan for those with schizophrenia.
- Autism – One art teacher in Paterson N.J. feels that teaching autistic children and teens art in his summer programs has helped them to develop the ability to focus. One of his students went on to hold a full-time job. Art was part of the therapy that was of help to some of these autistic children.
- Addictions – Alcohol and drug addicted clients can benefit from art therapy, as can those addicted to pornography, for whom art therapy can be an essential element in recovery.
Natural remedies for ADHD. Arts therapy works for anxiety treatment. Painting: Dancing Flowers in Rio, Cecilia Carvalho.
Art and Positive Psychology, Prevention
The creation of art by the individual can help to improve
because it gives tangible proof of one's ability to create and worth as a person.
Additionally, art helps children, teens and adults, to get away from the overstimulation of television, movies and video games, and to create their own little peaceful and creative space.
Art has an important role to play in 21st Century psychology.
Art is a natural and effective therapy for ADHD.
See ADDA org article By Daniella Barroqueiro, Ed.D, Professor of Art Education, Illinois State University.
Arts Therapy and Self Help
In addition to self help, art is used in a professional setting as a therapy. Art therapy is a true branch of psychology with its own licensing credentials, associations and Masters programs in major universities. Art therapists are Board Certified.
Where do school art therapists work?
- public or private schools
- private practice
- community agencies
From School Art Therapy, Janet Bush. (see link below).
Art Therapy Associations
The New Jersey Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as being,
the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.
Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; reduce anxiety
; improve social skills; aid reality orientation; increase self-esteem; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.
The American Art Therapy Association states that art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.
Art therapy has been used in hospital settings by psychologists and therapists, and in schools, both public and specialized.
Why is art therapy used in schools?
When a student is distracted by emotional issues, learning disabilities, speech or language disorders, behavioral disorders or illness, even a well-trained, experienced teacher may be unable to get beyond these barriers to a student’s learning.
As one professional on a student services team, the school art therapist is not only trained to recognize these barriers, but to diagnose problems and provide individualized interventions and services to help the student focus on learning.
Art therapy provides a visual and verbal approach to accessing and addressing student needs. As a natural mode of communication for children, it is a means of externalizing the complexities of emotional pain. Children rarely resist the art-making process because it offers ways to express themselves that are less threatening than strictly verbal means.
What students should receive art therapy services?
Art therapy is valuable for all students, but especially for those experiencing difficulty at school
because of personal crises, disabilities, and behavior. Such students may be in regular education, special education
, and alternative education programs.
From: Janet Bush, Ed.S., ATR-BC. Founding member of the Florida Arts Therapy Association.
Both art as therapeutic self-help or parental-directed, and art therapy itself can be valuable contributions to the mental health profile of millions of children, teens and adults suffering from symptoms of ADHD, bipolar disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, autism and addictions. For many, whose disorders may or not be severe, it can negate the need for medication.
Public schools should consider using art therapy as a standard form of treatment for students with mental health difficulties.
School & Art Therapy, Janet Bush
The art on this page was created by Cecelia Carvalho of Volta Redonda Brasil. She took up art only a year and a half ago (2007), in response to guidance from her doctor who suggested art as a therapy for her intense anxieties. This proved to be of value to her in coping with her anxieties and that without medicine. Art as a self help therapy or in conjunction with professional therapy is a valuable tool and life skill.
Art therapy and mood: Positive Art Therapy more effective than venting.
There are a number of ways of using art therapy. One is by using it as a way of "venting" negative emotions. Supposedly, this will help to vent negative feelings, and get them out of our subconscious. This can have a positive effect for some.
Another way is by drawing or painting, instead, something expressing happy or positive emotions. This also can be of value in helping to create a positive mood.
Of the two, which is more effective? A study conducted at Boston College, concluded that artwork created expressing positive emotions was of more positive value to emotions than that expressed through "venting".
The study was conducted by inducing a negative mood, by participants watching a film which was serious and left participants in a negative frame of mind, even though there was, what one could say, a happy ending, in this case, a rescue.
From this end of the study, we can learn, (not the point of the study, but it is a valid sidepoint), that films, and the type of films, and by extension, television, we watch, can indeed effect our mood.
The positive artwork produced an opposite mood, that is a happy mood. This is something to note for both those who use art as a form of self help, something to be encouraged, that it can, in fact, help one with depression, to find some change to a positive mood. If a positive mood is elicited with enough frequency, it can create positive thought patterns, and this can lead to some significant relief of depression.
Short-term mood repair through art-making: Positive
emotion is more effective than venting.
(2008) Anne Dalebroux, Thalia R. Goldstein, Ellen Winner
Arts therapy page links:
Janet Long, M.A., LMFT, ATR-BC, CTP
Oakland Hills, CA
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is an organization of professionals dedicated to the belief that the creative process involved in art making is healing and life enhancing, Its mission is to serve its members and the general public by providing standards of professional competence, and developing and promoting knowledge in, and of, the field of art therapy. The AATA represents approximately 5000 members and 36 AATA State and Regional Chapters that conduct meetings and activities to promote art therapy on the local level.
See also Art Therapy Credentials Board:
www.atcb.org Off-site link
Best Site on learning to draw simple portraits see:
Arts in Health and Care:
http://arttherapy.wordpress.com/ Off-site link
Arts in Therapy Network:
http://www.artsintherapy.com/ Off-site link
Arts in Psychotherapy magazine:
National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations
New Jersey Art Therapy Association
NYU Arts Therapy page
results&detailed=1&Record_id=5&Record_id-opt==uid=default&t=Dept_art_programs Off-site link
Arts Therapy page credits:
Roberta Shoemaker-Beal, MFA, ATR-BC, is an adjunct professor of Art Therapy at St. Mary's of the Woods College, near Terre Haute, Indiana, who reviewed and contributed to the production of this Art Therapy page.
Pages Related to Art and Arts Therapy
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- Art for ADHD
Children and Art
- Ideas to help your child involved with art
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