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Art Therapy For The Treatment Of Depression And Anxiety

The mentally ill have occupied various positions in society. They were once thought of as the messengers of the deities or tormented by demons. Later they were seen as sick and locked away from society for their own good. More recently they have been heavily medicated to allow them to return to their families and homes. While these views have their purposes, other types of therapy have also been considered which approach these illnesses in another way. Here we can look at some of the reasons that art therapy could be pursued.

It promotes creative thinking

Much of modern life seems designed to suppress our creative impulses. Our television programs tell us how the characters in our books look and sound which leaves our imaginations fewer opportunities to get to work. By expressing feelings through artistic measures such as painting or sculpting, creativity is sparked and patients can feel proud of what they have made.

It gets patients into the ‘flow’

The mindset known as ‘flow’ is one in which time seems to no longer matter because the task is so engaging and enriching. This feeling is especially useful for people who have spent a great deal of time being depressed or anxious. Not only does it help in the moment, it makes them more ready to cope with triggers they may face later.

It has no harmful side effects

Most of the chemical treatments that people are prescribed can cause side effects, some of them even increase suicidal thoughts. Art therapy does none of that and if any side effects exist they are positive such as discovering a new favorite hobby.

It can be enjoyed socially

Group therapy is social but sometimes patients get sick of talking out their feelings. With group art projects, people can come together and work on something without feeling like patients and thus enjoy their time together.

It is less expensive than most chemical interventions

There are very expensive art supplies on the market but even these do not compare to the costs of a lifetime’s supply of antidepressants and anxiolitics. For countries where the medical care of psychiatric patients is covered by the state, such non chemical interventions should be considered carefully.

Along with dance, drama and other creative therapies, art may very well become a more sought after treatment. In years to come, drugs may become more of a last resort.