Art is an effective tool in mental health treatment. As an expressive medium, art can be used to help clients communicate, overcome stress and explore different aspects of their own personality. In psychology, the use of artistic methods to treat psychological disorders and enhance mental health is known as art therapy.
Improve mental health and well-being. The Malaysian Association of Psychotherapy (MAP) describes art therapy as "a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight."
While people have been using the arts as a way to express, communicate and heal for thousands of years, art therapy only began to formalize during the middle of the 20th-century. Doctors noted that individuals suffering from mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings and other artworks, which led many to explore the use of art as a healing strategy. Since then, art has become an important part of the therapeutic field and is used in some assessment and treatment techniques.
Clinical Application of Art Therapy
- Art therapy can be used to treat a wide range of mental disorders and psychological distress. In many cases, it might be used in conjunction with other psychotherapy techniques such as group therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Some situations in which art therapy might be utilized include:
- Children with learning disabilities
- Children with learning disabilities
- Children suffering from behavioral or social problems at school or at home
- People experiencing mental health problems
- Individuals suffering from a brain injury
- Children or adults who have experienced a traumatic event
Techniques of Art Therapy
- An art therapist may use a variety of art methods including drawing, painting, sculpture and collage with clients ranging from young children to the elderly. Clients who have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression and other psychological issues can benefit from expressing themselves creatively. Hospitals, private mental health offices, schools and community organizations are all possible settings where art therapy services may be available.
- You might also wonder how an art therapy session differs from the average art class. "In most art therapy sessions, the focus is on your inner experience—your feelings, perceptions, and imagination. While art therapy may involve learning skills or art techniques, the emphasis is generally first on developing and expressing images that come from inside the person, rather than those he or she sees in the outside world," explains Cathy Maldiochi in The Art Therapy Sourcebook ."And while some traditional art classes may ask you to paint or draw from your imagination, in art therapy, your inner world of images, feelings, thoughts, and ideas are always of primary importance to the experience."
How to set up an Art Therapist Clinical Practice
- In Malaysia you need to first become a licensed practitioner member of MAP in order to offer psychotherapy services.
- Psychology centres endorsed by MAP such as IPC offers credentialing programs allow art therapists to become registered, board certified or licensed art therapists as licensed practitioner member of MAP (Division of Expressive Therapy).
According to MAP, the minimum requirements:
- A master's degree in art therapy, or
- Equivalent related MAP endorsed certifications
Additional post-graduate supervised experience is also required. You can learn more about the training and educational requirements to become a psychotherapist.
- This includes all the skills and knowledge of how to apply yourself professionally in the practice of art therapy for effective outcome for the clients.
- We use the mastery system of education. Besides lecturing, this course provides clinical experience such as: research, case study, group clinical supervision, reflections, discussions & presentation. Assessment includes case study oral and written presentations, group participation, research paper and assignments.
- The topics mentioned above are taught within 3 months. During this period, students will also be given clinical case assignments and presentations to do. Our course is structured as 2 intensive workshop with six group clinical supervision & oral / written case presentation for the assessment. Fulfilling the attendance and passing the criteria given will lead to towards the licensed practitioner membership of Expressive Therapy Division of Malaysia Association of Psychotherapy.
Below are the equipment used:
- Chairs & table
- Course book
- Art Therapy materials
- Cds and Music
- White board
- Notes/ books
About International Psychology Center
Our team of professional psychologists and counselors have been accredited practitioner licenses after having met the highest standards of qualifications set by various key professional bodies in Malaysia. This includes The Malaysian Association of Psychotherapy, The Malaysian Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Association, The Malaysian Society for Complementary Medicine, The National Board of Professional and Ethical Standards Hypnosis Education & Certification.See all International Psychology Center courses