1. What is art therapy?


“Art therapy is 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.” (American Art Therapy Association, 2012)

Art therapy generally has similar goals and values as traditional psychotherapy, aiming to develop self-awareness and healthy strategies to deal with personal challenges. It integrates traditional psychotherapeutic theories and techniques with a unique understanding of the creative process and its ability to aid in the healing process. Art Therapy relies on self-expression to awaken an individual’s own problem solving capacities. Guided by a professional art therapist, the creative process can be insightful and therapeutic.

Art therapy is not an art class, although the sessions can be enjoyable and educational. The focus is not on the esthetics of the end product, but rather on the whole process of creation.



2. How it works?


Through creating art and reflecting on the end product and processes with the guidance of a professional art therapist, people can increase their self-awareness, notice particular patterns, and discover new ways of dealing with challenges. In a safe, non-judgmental environment, artistic process offers a way of expressing feelings and thoughts in a manner that is spontaneous and less threatening than strictly verbal expression. Anxiety, anger, grief and other emotions and needs can be externalized into a visual medium. The artwork, that is a tangible product outside oneself, offers distance from one's emotions, allowing the space for reflection, new perceptions, and transformation to happen.



3. Who is a qualified art therapist?


Art therapists are trained in both art and psychology and have extensive graduate level studies specifically in expressive therapies. The studies are backed by many hours of practical training and supervision with qualified art therapy professionals. Art therapists are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, the healing potential of art as well as spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions. There are various requirements for becoming an art therapist, which differ slightly between countries.

* So far there is no specialized degree in Art Therapy in Lebanon. For more info about education and requirements abroad, check the resources below.



4. Resources


American Art Therapy Association www.arttherapy.org
Canadian Art Therapy Association www.canadianarttherapy.org
The British Association of Art Therapists www.baat.org

About Other Expressive Art Therapies:
American Dance Therapy Association www.adta.org
North American Drama Therapy Association www.nadta.org

American Music Therapy Association www.musictherapy.org