The Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy and PTSD are quickly becoming acquainted with one another. The benefits of art therapy for people with PTSD are many, as art therapy provides a safe avenue for relieving stress and anxiety while at the same time promoting healing. As an individual with PTSD begins to use art to express their emotions, they also begin to have a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. Art therapy can play a crucial role in recovery of PTSD by promoting creativity and providing an atmosphere of safety and encouragement. (George Washington University, 2010).
Art therapy can be beneficial to many people who struggle with emotional problems, but in PTSD it is especially helpful because many times, the person does not know how to verbalize the way they feel. In fact, Breat and Ostroff (1985) claim that traumatic experiences are encoded in the non-verbal pathways of the mind. Through art, they quickly learn that they can express their feelings without having to use words. Because humans are naturally creative, art therapy can draw on this natural tendency and provide an outlet for repressed and negative feelings.
By learning how to express these emotions in a healthy way, people with PTSD can expel negative feelings through art rather than in self-destructive ways. Using self-expression can bring a sense of well being, achievement, ans self-worth. Together, these factors are a powerful tool that can indeed bring healing to PTSD and allow the individual to finally begin to enjoy life again.
Art therapy can be extremely helpful for children who have PTSD. Often times, children fall prey to sexual, physical and emotional abuse and do not know how to articulate or fully comprehend what has happened to them. Using art therapy in children will give them a chance to express feelings that are just too complex to put into words. It can also help the therapists to understand the extent of the abuse that has caused PTSD.