By Helen Cooper, Art Therapist 
 
The benefits of art therapy are multileveled. Art as a way of communication may take many forms. In our society words tend to dominate, however, human experience cannot be entirely reduced to words. Trying to express how it feels to hate or love, to suffer depression or experience trauma may involve far more than struggling to find the ‘right’ words. Some emotional states and experiences are beyond words. This is relevant when difficulties originate in early infancy before the ability of putting experiences into words was ever possible. 
 
Art therapy offers a way of overcoming the terror, frustration and isolation such early experiences may engender through providing an alternative medium for communication and expression. Finally, art therapy offers a chance for clients to discover the creativity within their inner selves and to have a shared experience of exploring a different method of expression when some feelings are just too deep for words. 
 
Anyone can benefit from art therapy, including adults, children, teens or the elderly. So, what are the benefits? 
 
One of the main benefits of art therapy is self-expression and expression of one’s feelings. Creating an artwork and discussing it with the therapist can help you see your intense feelings from a different point of view. In the session a client can reflect on the feelings verbally as well as through the artmaking without words. It is useful when the depth of feelings is such that words are inadequate. 
The client’s different life experiences can also be brought to the session and reflected upon through the medium of art. This process can offer a new viewpoint from possibly a chaotic emotional picture. Other benefit of the art therapeutic process is the fact that artmaking can result in feelings of calmness and happiness purely from being creative. 
 
During the creation of art, the client is using his or her body and hence it helps with linking the mind and body which results in the client feeling more grounded. Art therapy helps with anxious thought processes as in a session the client can be brought into the here and now and can focus on his or her image as they create it. 
 
Art therapy provides the client with a way to really focus on a creative process rather than simply be distracted. It can be similar to meditation as it helps to get the client into the present moment and they are no longer ruminating about their problems. 
 
Making art has been shown to heal neural pathways in the brain and hence help with memory loss. 
 
Overall, the client can become more aware of their own personal growth and their strengths through the art therapy and can begin to see things differently. Their perception of their problems can change when the emotions are expressed and the client is able to move on from painful feelings. A client can share emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety during a session where in everyday life it is more difficult to acknowledge these ‘negative’ emotions. 

7 Signs That Show You Could Benefit from Art Therapy 

 
• Having feelings of low self-esteem which affect your quality of life or your affect relationships 
• Having a specific issue such as personal loss, rejection, job loss, problems at work 
• Having a tendency to ruminate on negative outcomes or on death 
• Experiencing feelings of bitterness and resentment on a regular basis 
• Having a tendency to isolate yourself 
• Experiencing intense anxiety 
• Having an interest in improving oneself and don’t know where to start 
I can provide a constant space where using art materials these issues can be addressed and explored together, in order for the client to let go of the past and enter onto a journey of personal growth in the present. 
 
I enable a clients to tell their story and through the process of image making give them the opportunity to begin to make sense of their experiences. 
Conclusion 
Art Therapy is an effective and creative way of addressing human problems. Within the context of a supportive psychotherapeutic relationship the making of images which involves the imagination can help a person with emotional growth, self-esteem and social integration. The creation of images and objects makes it possible to reflect on the client’s experience by externalising it. 
 
For some clients the images they create may help to contain or ‘hold’ feelings which might otherwise be experienced as unbearable. In art therapy the client can give shape to his/her experience of the world which can then provide the basis for emotional growth and self-understanding. The creation of a physical artwork provides a lasting record of the imaginative processes that created it. Verbal expression is transitory in nature whereas the artwork is permanent and can be used to follow and reflect upon the changes occurring during the process of therapy. 
 
Essentially, art therapy can be helpful for the expression of feelings, gaining a better understanding of the difficulties a client might be experiencing and it can help to potentially improve a client’s quality of life. 
If you or your children are struggling with expressing their emotions or if you would like to discuss whether art therapy would benefit you, please get in touch. 
 
Call us on 07942 626960 or email contact@wellbeingcentrelondon.com to book your free 15 mins consultation. 
 
We provide sessions Online, via Phone or Face to Face at our therapy room in Putney Bridge, Fulham, South West London. 
Helen was voted a Psychologist of the year in the London and South East Prestige Awards 2020/21 and she was nominated for Corporate Live Wire prestige award for her art therapy. 
 
She works with children 9+, adolescents and adults. 
 
Helen is a qualified Art Therapist and a musician. She spent 10 years working for Victim Support, 4 years specialising in domestic violence and 6 years managing a team of volunteers who emotionally supported victims of crime. Helen has 5 years’ experience of working in a school for children with special needs. She works with adults and children dealing with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder. 
 
Helen offers a secure, empathic, kind and restful space for people who need help with their particular personal journey. 
Tagged as: Art therapy
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