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Art therapy- Your Guide to Battle Depression

By Minali N Thakkar, Art Consultant and Director of the Art Advisory firm ART APPROACH

A mere lump of clay or a blank canvas can be far less intimidating. Than voicing out painful feelings, words, or images. The simple act of scribbling on a paper is likely to put the spotlight. On darkness, ignite conversation, or aid the effective release of a depressing thought.

The simplest and most precise definition of ‘Art Therapy’ that one might actually understand would be: an application of the visual arts in a therapeutic context. Here, an important note to be taken down is that you don’t necessarily have to see a therapist. To experience some of the therapeutic benefits of artistic expression. A bunch of ‘no sweat’ activities which you can try from the comfort of your home. Such as art journaling, sketching, creating collages, sculpting with clay, etc have proven to be therapeutic for numerous people.

What essentially holds importance is that you ultimately feel comfortable and tranquil irrespective of the medium you wish to use.

Amid the pandemic, numerous people around the world have experienced depressive episodes. And have found art therapy to provide a line of communication—both verbal and nonverbal—that opens up conversations with themselves, clinicians, and peers. In doing so, you can fully explore your thoughts and emotions and address your mental health disorder safely and positively.

Also,

Additionally, art therapy allows you to achieve a sense of independence and self-sufficiency along with breakthrough dysfunctional thought patterns. Expression through art helps develop healthy coping mechanisms, achieve greater empathy, and strengthen your problem-solving abilities. During the Pandemic and isolation, we distributed ‘Art Therapy Kits’ to hospitals, quarantine centres, and Covid warriors. While engaging the warriors with our art therapy kits, it was noted that the practice was engrossing and fruitful for the mind and body. The outcome proved to be so rewarding, as it aided the release of creative energy and had therapeutic benefits. There were clear indications that artistic engagement has significantly positive effects on health and immunity.

Why Art Therapy?

People who struggle with depression may have a difficult time putting their feeling into words. The use of art therapy provides a way for people to express themselves in a non-verbal way

Art therapy provides an individual who is feeling pressured or overwhelmed with an opportunity to slow down and explore the issues that are occurring in their life. It provides them with a way to manage their behaviour, reduce anxiety, process feelings, and destress.

Creating art has been linked to increases in dopamine which, in turn, may increase feelings of happiness. Artistic creation generates a realization of self-expression for a patient. This leads to therapeutic benefits like a greater understanding of themselves, their personality, and helps them comprehend what it takes for them to heal. This type of understanding regarding self-expression serves as the foundation for art therapy.

Despite it having invaluable benefits, art therapy is not a standalone treatment. Rather, it should be incorporated within a broader range of therapeutic interventions to create a comprehensive treatment experience for people struggling with depression

Art therapy is an instrument that is capable of spontaneously curing, healing, correcting, restoring, or resolving an individual’s health needs; rather it is similar to a majority of psychotherapy modalities, it is an instrument that can help guide and promote psychological health and wellbeing.

Minali N Thakkar on art therapy

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