Art therapy enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change (American Art Therapy Association).
The evidence-based modalities utilized by Appleseed’s Art Therapist includes:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness.
- Motivational Interviewing; a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; a type of talk therapy for people who experience emotions very intensely. It’s a common therapy for people with borderline personality disorder, but therapists provide it for other mental health conditions as well.
The therapist may complete a variety of assessments at the beginning of individual art therapy to bring some structure to the session and build insight on certain aspects of art like symbolism, meaning making, and representations that represent parts of the individual. Some activities that might be used are Draw A Person In The Rain (DAP-R), Draw A Person (DAP), Draw A Story, and Don Jones Assessment (DJA) using guided imagery. These assessments use art to assess stressors in the client’s environment, encourage problem-solving, reflect on relationships, and find strengths with the client. The therapist will also do other art interventions that are more unstructured giving the individual more ability to find freedom and meaning by making with their creations and using prompts related to topics of the session in which they are given time to create to help process current symptoms, emotions, and stressors.