What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy utilising creative modalities, including visual art-making, drama, and dance/movement, within a therapeutic relationship to improve and inform physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Art Therapy has been recognised and regulated around the world by organisations such as the British Association of Art Therapists, the Health and Care Professions Council, the American Art Therapy Association, and the Professional Association for Arts Therapy in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Amy Bucciarelli, MS ATR-BC, LMHC, Board Certified Art Therapist, helped Frank
Amy Bucciarelli, MS ATR-BC, LMHC, Board Certified Art Therapist, helped Frank “Dylan” Dinkins make a painting for his parents. Bucciarelli works with pedatrics patients at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

The advantages of Art Therapy for children include:

  • Express feelings that may be difficult to verbalise
  • Explore their imagination and creativity
  • Develop healthy coping skills and focus
  • Improve self-esteem and confidence
  • Identify and clarify issues and concerns
  • Increase communication skills
  • Share in a safe and nurturing environment
  • Identify blocks to emotional expression and personal growth

Art therapies are traditionally based on psychoanalytic principles, and therapists utilise varied practice-based and evidence-based theoretical frameworks. These traditions include depth analytic, humanistic, behavioural, systemic, and integrative approaches.

Art therapy differs from traditional art-making or performance as the emphasis is placed upon the process of creating and meaning-making, rather than on the end product.