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How Can Art Therapy Help with Mental Health

a woman smiles with her hands up showing paint all over her hands after her art therapy and mental health program

Today there are many alternative approaches to mental health. While traditional therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help clients manage emotions, understand thought patterns, and change how they feel, alternatives like art therapy can make a world of difference, no matter someone’s mental health. Art therapy and mental health programs are increasingly popular in mental health treatment across the United States and here in New Hampshire.

If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of art therapy for depression, anxiety, and mental health conditions, A Better State can help. Our outpatient programs provide holistic treatment for mental health and substance abuse. Call us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our art therapy program and get started with a therapist today.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a specific type of experiential therapy with a certified art therapist. Clients meet in individual or group sessions for 60 to 90 minutes. Many art therapists are practicing artists who combine their own artistic experience with evidence-based therapeutic techniques. The therapist provides the client with materials, prompts, and activities to guide self-expression. Clients express their memories, sensations, moods, and emotion through color, texture, and various artistic mediums. For many clients, expressing themselves in non-verbal ways can help them better articulate and process memories and emotions.

There are many art therapy techniques for depression, anxiety, and general mental health. Therapists try different techniques and mediums to help clients find the best medium for their expression. Some mediums include:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Coloring
  • Scrapbooking
  • Sculpting
  • Photography
  • Collages
  • Digital Art

For many clients, art therapy becomes a part of their home life, developing their artistic practices for maintaining mental health between sessions.

Benefits of Mental Health and Art Therapy

Art therapy helps clients manage their mental health by rewriting personal narratives, self-regulating, and finding safe, effective ways to process emotions. They learn to express themselves through creative outlets to reduce self-harm, negative self-talk, and self-mediating. Benefits of art therapy for mental health include:

  • Relieving stress and raising stress tolerance
  • Holistic trauma processing
  • Lower anxiety levels
  • Higher self-esteem and confidence
  • Ability to cope with physical pain or illness
  • Become more resilient to change
  • Better ability to regulate emotions

Common art therapy prompts for improving mental health include:

  • Communicating self-loathing thoughts through painting or drawing
  • Expressing challenging memories through photography or digital art
  • Depicting past trauma through sculpting or collage

Artistic expression can increase dopamine levels, promote calmness, and help people regulate their nervous system. Like yoga and meditation, art therapy can help increase creativity and reduce emotional extremes. Art therapy can make a world of difference in day-to-day stress for those struggling with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.

Learn More About Depression and Art Therapy at A Better State

Today, many people avoid artistic expression because they are afraid of failure. Art therapy and mental health programs can help people balance mental health, reduce the need for perfectionism, and experience creativity in nonjudgmental spaces. Whether working in individual or group sessions, clients can quickly progress in balancing emotions and managing their mental health.

If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, art therapy can help. With a range of therapies, our outpatient programs help meet clients where they are. Our art therapists help clients understand personal narratives, manage emotions, and reduce daily stressors. With a range of outpatient programs to fit clients’ schedules, the team at A Better State can provide you and your loved ones with trauma-informed, holistic treatment for mental health, substance abuse, and addiction recovery. Reach us at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our art therapy and mental health programs for depression and anxiety.