Art Therapy. What Is It and How To Use

The art therapy began its story as a psycho-therapeutic method and reflected the views of psychoanalysis – G. Jung asked his patients to draw dreams and fantasies, because he thought that the symbol represented by the artistic means had a link with the inner human survival. The artistic therapeutic process is based on the fact that the most significant human thoughts and experiences of being subconscious are more likely to be expressed in terms of images or words.

Another trend in art therapy reflected the attitudes of the humanistic (gestalt) therapies, which are closer to art therapy groups. They give a great deal of attention to the activity of the group members, their involvement in the artistic expression process, the sensations and feelings that arise during drawing; to a lesser extent – to analyse the meaning of the content of the drawings.

Existentially oriented art therapy focuses on deeper understanding of existential problems: love, death, suffering, freedom, responsibility, meaning – these and other basic experiences, art therapy softens its ability to talk about them symbols and metaphors, expressing them in graphic and color, reducing speech anxiety and letting them live closer to their presence.

What the art therapy is applicable for? In the global and Lithuanian practice, the art therapy is to be applied to the most diverse groups of society: disabled children and adults, people with special needs, dependents, mental patients, prisoners, pregnant women, persons who seek to become more knowledgeable about themselves, and others.

Different methods of the art therapy are to be applicable to different groups. For example, the arts classes for young children can be used as a field for a wealth of sensory experiences, small and large-scale motor education, and promotion of verbal expression. In the later stages of the century, the specially directed art classes allow children to express their inner world, to perceive it, to strengthen selfishness, the expression of emotions, and the formation of concepts. Children with special needs in these classes have opportunities to develop motor skills, strengthen the perception of space, self-awareness, express negative and positive experiences, become more aware of them, as well as develop linguistic expression. In the creative process it is possible to expand the cognitive possibilities of the child, such a process can influence the development in the event of its slowdown.

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