Lost for words? Research shows art therapy brings benefits for mental health

Studies suggest art therapy could support people with a range of health conditions.
Girl holding up drawing of face on cardboard, white background. Mental Health. Art therapy.

Creating art for healing purposes dates back tens of thousands of years, to the practices of First Nations people around the world. Art therapy uses creative processes, primarily visual art such as painting, drawing or sculpture, with a view to improving physical health and emotional wellbeing.

When people face significant physical or mental ill-health, it can be challenging to put their experiences into words. Art therapists support people to explore and process overwhelming thoughts, feelings and experiences through a reflective art-making process. This is distinct from art classes, which often focus on technical aspects of the artwork, or the aesthetics of the final product.

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