Everything You Need to Try Art Therapy, According to a Therapist

Due to the pandemic and beyond, general tensions have increased exponentially over the past two years. While many have turned to traditional talk therapy to help them deal with everything from trauma to the daily rigors of ordinary life, art therapy is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to ask for help. ‘aid.

Art therapy is a mental health profession in which trained art therapists help individuals, families, or groups use artistic creation to explore feelings, process emotions, gain self-awareness, develop new ideas and more,” Ingrid Mellor, licensed clinical art therapist told HuffPost. People often find that creating art in this environment allows them to express emotions and thoughts that are hard to find words for and helps them look at challenges from a new perspective.

Although the founding of art therapy as a regulated mental health profession took place in the last century, Mellor said we can see instances of humans using art to heal across cultures and time. . Art therapists today hold a graduate degree in art therapy, which includes training in clinical theory, art therapy practice, psychology, human development, and ethics.

Art therapists work in many settings, including mental health clinics, hospitals, schools, youth residences, crisis centers, veterans programs, community centers, museums, private practices, etc

“Anyone who is open to art in therapy as a way to express emotions, develop personal ideas, and work on therapeutic goals is a good candidate for art therapy,” Mellor told us. “Many artists and creatives are drawn to art therapy, but you don’t have to identify as an artist to benefit from it.”

Mellor recommends starting a regular art practice for relaxation or mindfulness. “Find a time of day that works for you and be consistent with it, just as you would with exercise or any other self-care habit. Focus on benefiting from the experience rather than creating of a “perfect” art product. It sounds extremely basic, but it can really be powerful to do something for the sake of the experience rather than having something to show off.

There is no one medium that is right for everyone, as different people have different reactions to art materials based on their personal experiences, culture, and preferences. In her own practice, Mellor uses tools like “painting, pencils, sewing, macrame, embroidery, pottery, collage, photography and more. You can also get creative by reusing and recycling materials like fabric swatches and old magazines.

“If you’re looking to start a regular self-care practice, try to pick something that’s sustainable for you, meaning it’s affordable and you have regular access to it,” she said. added.

If you’re curious to learn more about art therapy, research a licensed art therapist through sources such as the American Art Therapy Association, Psychology Today, and Open Path Collective. Most art therapists will offer a free, confidential consultation call so you can see if it’s right for you.

We’ve rounded up some easy craft and art supplies to help you dip your toes into starting your own art practice.

HuffPost may receive a share of purchases made through links on this page. Each item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

A sewing machine for beginners

Launch your sewing dreams with the Brother sewing machine. It features 37 unique built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, top spool and includes six sewing feet, set of needles, spools, instructional DVD and more. You’ll be crafting everything from clothes to pillowcases before you know it.

macrame supplies

Made of soft natural cotton macrame yarn, this kit includes macrame rope, two wooden sticks, two wooden rings, 100 wooden beads and 10 colorful wooden balls.

A clay starter kit

MagicFly’s eco-friendly polymer clay blocks are a great way to keep your hands busy and create something beautiful. It includes 45 different bold and beautiful colors and accessories like plastic tools, pin holders, ear hooks and more.

A crochet kit

The Craftiss Crochet Starter Kit has everything you need to start your crochet journey. It includes two hooks, two weaving needles, four stitch makers and 700 yards of soft, comfortable and beautiful yarn.

A set of watercolors

The Kassa watercolor kit includes water brush pens in three different sizes, 30 sheets of watercolor paper and a watercolor paint kit with 21 colors.

A set of acrylic paint

If you’ve always wanted to try acrylic paints, opt for Caliart’s acrylic paint kits. It includes 24 high-quality pigments in rich shades that dry quickly and glide on easily.

A cross stitch kit

Ideal for beginners, the Caydo Embroidery Starter Kit includes five bamboo embroidery hoops, 50 different colored threads, two pieces of Aida fabric, a packing bag and a tool kit.


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