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Art Therapy: the Purpose and Understanding of the Process

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The process of learning the practice of art therapy was intriguing. I enjoyed this class and the way we divided the time between lecture and art. Being hands on with the art really gave a deeper understanding of the practice and how beneficial it is. The reading was very easy to comprehend which left me with no difficulty focusing,

Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses art as a way for the patient to communicate their emotions without using words; this often also brings up subconscious thoughts and emotions that the patient would not originally believe was bothering them. This form of therapy works especially sufficiently for those who physically or mentally are not capable of speaking or having cognitive abilities. People with autism, schizophrenia, dementia, etc. benefit from art therapy for it give them a way to express even if they are not really sure how. Those who are mute also use art therapy to talk without words.

Although art therapy helps develop and improve cognitive abilities for people with disabilities, that does not limit this practice. Art therapy is sufficient for anyone despite age, culture, race or gender. There are art therapists who solely work with one age group, as one can imagine the differences, for example, between the elderly and children. Even people who believe they are in a good place with their life could benefit from art therapy as it is a form of expression- not just for unwanted emotions. One can express their happiness or self-pride in art therapy, as well.

A huge part of the therapeutic process is the creative process. The creative process is all the steps from retrieving the supplies to cleaning up and all the beautiful creations in between. The process instills pride and comfortability in the client. The client goes and gets the supplies of their choosing, then set up their space. Once their space is set up and they have the directive of the piece, they can start working on it. When the project is done, they present it to their therapist and explain what they made, as well as what it means to them. This moment is filled with emotion, understanding, pride, and closure. They then could clean up. It is easy to get lost in the process of making art as your mind stays dormant and relaxed as your emotions take over.

I learned various things about not only art therapy but myself through this semester. I have struggled tremendously trying to keep up with my responsibilities this semester. Not only was this semester challenging, this year was a learning experience in itself. This was my first year as a college student and the newfound independence took some getting used to. I was not used to all the responsibility. In addition to this, I was dealing with personal issues as well as health issues. Now, at the end of my first year of college, reflecting, I have acknowledged some things.

Although, yes, this year was a struggle- I am so proud of the changes I have made in myself. I am not the same person I was a year ago, and I have evaluated since becoming a student here. I feel like a more well-rounded student than ever before. Especially due to taking this class, I have learned that school is not only about papers and grades. Learning about an art is interesting because it reminds me of the types of things I am learning here that I would not have ever had the chance to learn about if I did not go to a liberal arts college.

I even considered practicing art therapy myself. I am interested and thankful that I am able to see all the things I could do with my major and the many branches of therapy. As a psychology major, I saw this class as an opportunity to learn different ways to help people. I have a respect for this profession and glad that I have a better understanding of it.

Although this semester was very hard on me, I have full faith that I made the right decision attending Caldwell University or else I would have never got the opportunity to learn about this fast-growing profession. Art therapy is something that I could look more into if I decide that is the path I wish to go. It is always beneficial to know one’s options and to stay resourceful about the possibilities at your fingertips. Overall, I am very pleased with my freshman year of college. I believe it will only get better with time.

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