Art as Therapy
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way…things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keefe.
Art Therapy promotes self-esteem, coping skills, and self-reflection and awareness, while increasing communication and connectedness. An anxious young child might work with an art therapist to create a “worry monster” picture. An adult might work with a therapist to create a mask, as a process of exploring a trauma and its impact.
Josselyn Art Therapist Jacky Switochowski, A.T.R., leads our Art Therapy program, which also includes four Art Therapists on staff. As Jacky notes, you don’t have to be an artist to make art—and Art Therapy can be effective for people of all ages, and in many kinds of settings. “Anyone can benefit,” Jacky told a recent group of attendees at a continuing education course hosted by The Josselyn Center. She notes that it is often a less-threatening approach to therapeutic treatment.
Unlike making art as a form of expressive therapy in which the art is a vehicle for symbolic communication, in Art Therapy, the creative process itself serves as a tool for healing, clearing the mind and expressing oneself. It is facilitated by a professionally trained Art Therapist, involves a therapeutic relationship, takes place in a safe and confidential space such as The Josselyn Center, and the focus is usually on the creative process. The main goal is self-expression, and art supplies are used as tools for this expression and communication. Ultimately, according to the American Art Therapy Association, it can “help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”