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What is Art Therapy?


"Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.


A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore client's functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being. Art therapy practice requires knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms) and the creative process, as well as knowledge of development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques."

The American Art Therapy Association, 2013 

Visit the American Art Therapy Association's website:

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Who can benefit from Art Therapy?


  • People of all ages, including:

  • Children

  • Adolescents

  • Adults

  • Seniors

Art therapy can be helpful for individuals living and coping with (not an exclusive list):

  • Developemental Disabilities

  • Physical Limitations

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Sensory Processing Disorders

  • Behavioral Issues

  • Issues related to medical problems

  • Depression

  • Anxiety and Stress

  • Trauma-related disorders

  • Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

  • Survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence

  • Displacement

Art therapy can be used in many settings (including but not limited to...):
  • Schools
  • In-home
  • Hospitals (Medical, Psychiatric)
  • Clinics or Private Practice
  • Community Centers (Shelters, studios, places of worship, libraries)
  • Veteran Affairs and active-duty military settings (bases)
  • Detention Centers
  • Retirement communities
  • Hospice
Art therapy can be a source of enrichment, rejuvenation, and be used to ease or prevent compassion fatigue for:
  • Caregivers
  • Health and Mental Health Care Providers
  • Teachers and Educators

These are just SOME of the materials that can be used in art therapy:

  • Paints: watercolor, tempera, acrylic, oil

  • Pastels: chalk pastels, water-soluble oil pastels, oil pastels

  • Collage and tissue paper collage

  • Clay: earth clay, oil based clay, air-dry clay

  • Drawing materials: colored pencils, ink pens, markers

  • Fabric/fiber materials: felting, sewing, yarn for crochet and/or knitting

  • Jewelry and paper-bead making

  • Many more!

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