Art Therapy

“Therapy is the treatment of a physical, emotion or mental disorder”. Art therapy is an up and coming form of the treatment to help individuals express their feelings and emotions. It is widely used for people with different types of mental illness including depression, anxiety and PTSD as well as behaviour and learning difficulties. Sitting down and talking about your feelings can be very difficult for some people because the questions can be very direct “Why do you think you feel this way?” “Where do you think the feelings originate from?” This can be very difficult for some people so, I believe using art to express those feelings can be very helpful because individuals can become more connected with their emotions which may help them to take control of their illness. Art therapy helps the person to use their right side of the brain more than the left side. The right side controls their creativity and art awareness and therefore the patient will learn to channel their emotions through this rather than overthinking and analysing the problems. The art may also help them to understand the cause and therefore learn to live with it and be in control.

Many artists today use art as therapy for themselves which you can see though their expression. Yayoi Kusama is a famous artist who had a trouble childhood with a “physically abusive” mother and father who had multiple lovers. She states she experienced hallucinations at a young age which is evident in her work. The poke-a-dot pattern originates from the hallucinations of talking flowers when she was a child.

Francisco Goya is another famous artist who is historically known for having mental issues. It is evident in his work because around 1819 they become very dark and disturbing. It is said that Goya experienced a nervous breakdown and question his own sanity which may be a reason for the torture paintings. They were found on the walls of his home – his personal space, the heart of his isolation – and I think must have given the founder and those who visited an insight into his mental breakdown. The paintings show only darkness which links to his mental state. There is no evidence that art therapy was used in this time but from his work I can take he used it in some sense.

As I have family serving in the military, I have strong emotions and connections with matter of depression and PTSD. After looking through much research and talking to Royal Marines I understand art therapy is becoming a bigger form of treatment in the military services. After my Fine Art degree I am hoping to get a work placement with a therapy clinic – the location is not yet decided – or with the Royal Navy, Royal Marines Charity who work with serviceman and their families to support in many ways. In order to do a Masters in Art Psychotherapy I am required to carry out at least one year of work placement in a relatable field or a significant mount of experience working with a range of ages and abilities. If I am able to work with the RNRMC I am hoping it will give me some great connections for my future career.

Author: ninasartspace

A first year Fine Art degree student studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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