What is Art Therapy?  How Does Art Therapy Work? How do you do Art Therapy?

art materials are used in art therapy for calming effects like meditation and breathing techniques

What happens in an art therapy session? 

These are some of the questions I get in a lot of calls to my practice.  Art therapy is pretty broad and very customizable.  I spend a lot of time listening to my client’s themes, stories, and their needs in the moment. That alone makes one on one therapy curated to their energetic pattern (aka archetypes). There’s a lot of confusion out there about what art therapy actually is.  Art therapy can include movement, meditation and breathing techniques, story telling and using tools like oracle and tarot cards, drumming or singing bowls, and so much more.

Art Therapy Mindfulness Breathing Meditation

Here’s a breathing exercise example video I made:

No “art talent” is necessary.  You don’t have to be able to draw a straight line or a stick figure!

How Do You Do Art Therapy?

When I start with a new adult in art therapy, here are my art therapy “rules”:

  1.  There is no right or wrong way to go about something.  My prompts are often open ended.  They are suggestions to get you warmed up.  If you have an idea while you start working, great!  If my prompt doesn’t do it for you?  That’s okay, go in the direction that feels better.  The goal is for you to be able to get curious and sit with yourself.
  2. Rule two is like rule one–You don’t have to follow directions!  Life isn’t fill in the blank or multiple choice.  Therapy is more like life.

Well they aren’t really my “rules” for art therapy.  They are more like setting the stage for how I work and what to expect.  I am more likely to help you reduce the self-imposed rules in your life.

How Can I Be Kinder to Myself?

3.  Final rule:  When you talk about your art, yourself, or your art talent, try to practice kindness and be compassionate toward yourself.  It can sometimes be the biggest way to practice a kinder way to live in your life.  I have found that most people have a much easier time being nice to others than they are to themselves.

How to Use Art Therapy as A Coping Skill

Here’s another example of me playing around with art media and different ways you can use art materials as a coping skill.  It might give you a better feel how it works.  I learn from doing and maybe you do too.

If you haven’t downloaded my free at home Beginner’s Guide to Art Therapy, you can check it out by subscribing to my newsletter on the opt in at the bottom of the blog page.

If you like my videos, you may also be interested in a interview I did about artists dealing with anxiety.

I’m always happy to answer your questions.  Let me know what questions you have and what you want to know more about.