Is Art Therapy Real?
Someone asked me recently, "what kind of art classes do you offer at Utter Studio?"
And I replied, we offer very flexible and dynamic programs wherein the lessons fit the current need of the child. In these sessions, different kinds of medium will be used in drawing, painting or crafts like acrylic, charcoal, colored pencils, pastel, cardboards, clay and many more.
And then he asked, "do you offer art therapy?"
No one has ever asked me this question before. Because typical adults who goes for art jamming sessions expect this already in one form or another. This is based on our observations and also the feedback that we get from our clients.
So, I paused for a moment and thought of how to answer his question.
And then I told him, in essence doing art (in any form) is already therapy in itself. So, all art classes are therapeutic in nature.
Why do I say this?
Nowadays, we live in a very fast paced world. Everyone is moving so fast. Wanting to do or acquire things instantly. And these causes a lot of stress, frustration and disappointments.
So more and more, people are looking for a solution or a relief from this very hectic form of living. So people go on holiday breaks, take sabbaticals, or just take work leaves.
What are we all looking for? It's to be able to slow down and enjoy the moment.
And this is exactly what happens when we do art. When we draw... When we paint... When we mould that clay with our bare hands.
It's the opportunity to slow down and be aware of what we are currently doing. And not rush thru it because we have KPI's to achieve in a short amount of time.
In doing art, we can have the opportunity to be more aware of ourselves, of our fears and insecurities. Be aware of our courage and creativity.
The opportunity to be more present.
Young kids don't have this problem. Most of the time they are in the present moment. They laugh when they find something funny. They cry when they're hurt. They act out whatever they feel in the moment. That's why art and art classes are easy and fun for them.
There are other specific ways to use art for therapy. Such as people who experience stroke and needs to exercise their hands to improve fine motor skills. But being present and more self-aware, this is the most basic and important gift that art can give to its students.