What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a human care service which expands the psychotherapeutic process to encompass the client’s visual, as well as verbal, expressions and reflections. Art therapy clients are able to deal with the same kinds of issues they would deal with in conventional talk therapies, however, they engage in the therapy by creating with art materials as well as talking with the art therapist. The proportion of art making to talking, and the precise way in which the two forms of communication are blended together for therapeutic effect, will vary according to the needs of the client and the situation. In all instances, though, the making of art is central to art therapy.

Clients do not require any special art skills or abilities in order to benefit fully from art therapy. The creative process and artwork are considered in terms of their therapeutic significance rather than their artistic merit per se. Working in a collaborative manner, the art therapist serves as a witness, guide and facilitator helping the artist-client to express their unique creativity and then "translate" their creative language into meaningful avenues of exploration and personal insight.

While best recognized for its contributions in clinical environments such as mental health facilities and hospitals, the practice of art therapy extends well beyond the boundaries of health services to include work in corporate, educational, social, cross-cultural and community settings.   


© 2015 Quebec's Art Therapy Association - AATQ
911 Jean-Talon Street East, Suite 307-B, Montreal, Quebec

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software