Art as a Therapeutic Release

It seems that in the last decade, mental health crises have gone up by a significant margin. With climate change concerns, the pandemic, and countless other events that have disrupted our daily lives, many people find themselves with no outlet to release their stress. It definitely doesn’t help that it is so hard to get a therapist. With waiting lists and trying to figure out insurance compatibility, seeing a licensed mental healthcare provider is simply not an option for many people. 

This is where I see “art therapy” coming in as a potential solution. Or, at least some kind of bandage to the solution while other options are simultaneously explored. “Art therapy” is a type of exploration through artistic expression and hobbies that seeks to work through personal problems and mental health obstacles in order to address a patient’s therapeutic needs. In fact, many licensed mental healthcare providers employ art therapy in their own practices, whether that is with children, adults, or both. Art therapy can be an incredible way of working through feelings in a nonjudgmental space that is focused on expression, freedom, and creativity. 

I think many people are hesitant to try creating art because they think that they have to be “good” at art to create it. I think it is a dangerous belief to think that someone must be skilled at a hobby in order to be “allowed” to partake in said activity. This is a dangerous idea because it places an emphasis on consumerism and commodification of art, rather than viewing art as being something to enjoy purely for the sake of it. Painting, drawing, sculpting, and many many other forms of creating something with your hands can be very beneficial for relieving stress and dealing with internal struggle.

I highly encourage you to pick up a paintbrush or pen and throw out all your ideas of perfection out the window. Your art does not have to be arbitrarily defined as “good” in order to be deserving of having a space in the world. Your art is allowed to simply exist for you, for your pleasure, and for your own personal journey and healing.

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