What Is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a mental health profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.
Especially when people are struggling, facing a challenge, or even a health crisis —their own words or language fails them. During these times, an art therapist can help clients express themselves in ways beyond words or language. Art therapists are trained in art and psychological theory and can help clients integrate nonverbal cues and metaphors that are often expressed through the creative process.
-American Art Therapy Association-
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that harnesses the expressive and creative process of making art to improve mental health and emotional well-being. It is not about creating masterpieces but rather about the process of creating itself. Through painting, drawing, sculpting, and the use of other artistic mediums, individuals can explore and communicate their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a non-verbal and symbolic manner, creating a concrete narrative.
Art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit. The use of art enables you to express your feelings when words won’t suffice or an experience is too painful to talk about. What’s more, the process of making art can be healing and restorative—it can improve your focus, increase your insight, reduce your stress by discharging difficult emotions, and help you process thoughts and feelings that have long been unaddressed.
Who does Art Therapy work for?
Art therapy can work for anyone! You don’t need to have any experience with art, just an open mind. Art therapy often works well for people who have tried talk therapy and felt like it wasn’t a good fit for them or that they didn’t benefit from it. Art therapy is also useful for people who have a difficult time identifying, talking about, or expressing their feelings through language. Working with a registered art therapist can help guide you in this process.
Art therapists are credentialed mental health professionals with extensive training in both art and psychological theory. What’s more, a registered art therapist knows how to tailor the creative process to your specific situation, whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, or a chronic illness.
What Does Art Therapy Look Like?
At LifeCatalyst, we offer expressive arts therapy for children, teens and adults in both individual and group settings. Clients are welcome to participate in both programs as part of their treatment plan.
For children and adolescents, we may focus on using art to manage stress related to school, peer pressure, and family relationship issues. For adults, art serves as a coping tool for processing thoughts and feelings that are difficult to process.
In addition to visual art, our practice welcomes the use of music, journaling, creative writing, and even dance/movement practices in therapy. If you prefer one art form to another, we encourage you to make it part of your treatment. After all, art therapy is all about self-expression—we want you to bring what you enjoy into sessions with us!
How Can Art Therapy Benefit Your Life?
Art therapy can help you experience personal growth, an increase in self-awareness and self-esteem, a reduction in stress, and over time, an improved quality of life. It offers a time for relaxation and a place to organize your thoughts and gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
For many people, the act of transferring their emotional struggles onto a canvas (or into a song, a poem, etc.) helps decrease the intensity of the feelings. It helps detach the mind and body from painful issues, making those issues feel safer and more approachable.
Art therapy is a dynamic and inclusive approach to mental health that empowers individuals to harness the healing power of creativity. We invite you to explore the transformative potential of art therapy and discover more about yourself and enhance your emotional well-being.
What is a Registered Art Therapist?
Art therapists are credentialed mental health professionals that hold Masters-level or higher degrees who are trained to work with people of all ages and mental health concerns. Art therapists are guided by ethical standards and honor a person’s values and beliefs while providing a safe, non-judgmental, and empathetic space where creativity, self-expression, introspective change, and healing can occur. They have extensive training in using art media and creative processes to help increase self-expression and communication and enhance a person's ability to cope with mental health challenges.
About Our Art Therapist, Debbie DelVecchio
Debbie earned her Master of Arts in Art Therapy in 2015 from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.
Debbie is a Nationally Registered and credentialed art therapist as set by the ATCB (Art Therapy Credentialing Board) who has completed her education in art therapy and met rigorous post-graduate training and clinical practice in the field of art therapy. Debbie is also a Connecticut Licensed Professional Counselor.
Debbie has worked with individuals across the lifespan. She has facilitated art therapy groups with veterans and worked with older adults managing memory issues and Dementia. Debbie piloted art therapy groups in memory care facilities and led art therapy groups for older adults with developmental disabilities and chronic mental illnesses. She has also provided art therapy in private practice for teens struggling with school-related stress and facilitated psychoeducational and art therapy groups for children and adolescents impacted by social-emotional challenges. Most recently, she utilized art therapy techniques as a school based-clinician to help adolescents manage mental health concerns, boost self-esteem, and improve their academic performance and confidence during the school day.
Debbie’s goal as an art therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor is to incorporate expressive arts with Solution-Focused and Person-Centered approaches. She seeks to help people empower themselves as they learn new coping skills for improving their emotional health.
Experience The Healing Power Of Art Therapy For Yourself
If you want to learn more about how art therapy can help you manage stressful life transitions, achieve new insights, and improve your quality of life, we encourage you to connect with us. To get started, you can use the online scheduling form or call our office manager.
*Sarah C. Slayton MA, ATR-BC, Jeanne D'Archer MA, ATR-BC & Frances Kaplan DA, ATR-BC (2010). Outcome Studies on the Efficacy of Art Therapy: A Review of Findings, Art Therapy, 27:3, 108-118, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2010.10129660.