The Therapeutic Value of Art

Guest blog post written by Neville Glass, owner of finds comfort in the works of his personal art hero Sam Mclarnon.

The art world is one that is enjoyed by millions, whether it’s their favourite painting or chosen piece of music. However, the art world is one with several layers, and it’s not only art fanatics that can benefit from the art world.

When looking at psychology for the first time, it would be easy to assume that only clinical methods such as psychotherapy are used, when in fact the art world has a huge part to play.

The great thing about art is how much choice there is, meaning that finding a method that works shouldn’t be too difficult.

How Is Art Therapeutic?

Art is used in many ways in relation to therapy. Stress is something that we all endure, but some can experience these emotions more often that they’d like to. Depression is another medical condition that is experienced in different ways by different people, meaning that treatment can often differ.

Although there are medicinal approaches, and in some instances, these will be a necessity, adopting art can be a great stress reliever, as well as an excellent way of expressing feelings when words just aren’t enough.

This isn’t to say that art is the miracle cure for all ailments relating to stress and depression, but they can contribute towards a stable infrastructure that limits the likelihood of using unsavoury coping mechanisms, such as drugs or alcohol.

Art therapy can also be a great way of dealing with a sudden trauma or life-changing event. Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things a person must endure, and it’s easy to see why the outcome may be bleak for some.

Although grief is a normal emotion, and is a time for mourning, this isn’t to say you can’t celebrate the things that made a person so special to you.

Creating a painting based around the person you love can help channel your emotions in a calm way, as well as creating something you can look back on that invokes happiness as opposed to feelings of sadness.

The reason for this is because when brains are engaged in producing art, they become active. They also become more psychologically resilient, allowing for better coping strategies moving forward.

What Type of Art Therapy Should a Person Choose?

The great thing about art is that anyone can have a try. You don’t have to be the next Van Gough or Picasso to start creating works of art, as the main goal is about expressing yourself.

There will have been many times when you’ve seen a painting, sculpture or drawing that makes little sense, but is immersive nonetheless. This is due to many artists expressing their inner thoughts using a medium that’s comfortable to them.

Some people may find that some simple doodling on a pad can be enough to stop their mind becoming overactive. Similarly, some find colours calming and inspiring, so may choose to invest in a colouring book that is designed exclusively with art therapy in mind.

The art world is one to be enjoyed, but it’s important to take note of the therapeutic aspects of art. Those used to more conventional approaches may feel a little overwhelmed initially, but it’s simply a case of finding what works for you. Art never judges.