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Art Therapy: How Art Can Cure Us

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Sooner or later, each of us has ventured into the art of drawing or even, in general, into artistic creations. I remember that as a child I was given the DAS and I enjoyed modelling it by making objects like puppets that I then dried and then coloured. I felt like a creator and tried to make coloured objects like those I had often seen in books, which my parents used for my growth as a girl.

It would often rain outside and I would spend my days shaping and colouring my favourite objects. Those colours were the same as I saw in the world of fairy tales I read, the same as my favourite fruits and my favourite dishes (such as macaroni with tomato sauce) that had affected my imagination as a child.

Art is a universal language among children. It’s something that comes naturally out of their souls. Do you keep in mind the children’s drawings? Each of them tells us something about their lives, about the characters that animate them, about their parents, about their home, about their way of seeing the world, about the details that strike them most. And you can immediately understand the soul that comes out of these little artists. If they use darker colours or brighter ones or more accessible colours, they show us their way of seeing the world.

In recent decades, many types of alternative therapies have been created, such as pet therapy, music therapy, aroma therapy, and even art therapy. I have already talked about other therapies in my blog and here I would like to talk about art therapy.

Of course, hearing that art can help us to heal ourselves seems curious. Telling about my experience as a child I tried to introduce the reader in the world of art therapy which is the world of children, in fact you have to come back a bit children to practice this art. Becoming adults, our way of being artists is covered with some super structures that we dare to define as technicalities.

On the other hand, art therapy does not require the patient to be a good draughtsman, at least he may not be able to draw a line. That’s not what counts. If his drawings are confused, disordered, all the better. Life problems often have the same appearance.

And when you decide to resort to a therapist to solve the problems, when you think you can no longer do it alone, but need the help of a therapist the choice can also fall on this type of therapy especially if we had tried unsuccessfully with other approaches. The only thing that will be enough to do is give free rein to the confusion of our feelings through the design and our therapist will be there to guide us and explain that there is no need to be experienced artists, but the goal and create something personal and meaningful for your self, which can serve the therapist to unveil your unconscious and arrive at solutions.

Just like the psychological interview that the therapist specialising in psychoanalytic psychotherapy uses dynamically and the difference will be that the medium for the unconscious is art and no longer language. The therapist will know how to read so in your soul and should not confuse the pastime of colouring, which often helps adults and reduce stress, with art therapy, as this requires a certified professional expert capable of treating many modern diseases including lack of self-esteem, behavior disorders, suicidal and self-injury thoughts, identity crises, anxiety, substance abuse, psychotic thoughts, among others. 

Dr Floriana De Michele is a psychologist and psychotherapist from Italy. She runs Psicologo Avezzano

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