Art therapy refers to the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience physical or emotional illness, trauma, or challenges to living, and by people who seek personal development, and expanded self understanding.Through creating art, and reflecting on the art products and processes, individuals may potentially increase their awareness of self and others, resolve emotional issues in a safe way, and enhance their creativity and cognitive abilities. They can find new ways to cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences, as well as to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.
Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and psychotherapy. They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural, and artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art.
Art therapists use art in primary treatment, and in assessment and research. They also provide consultations to allied health professionals and work with people of all ages: individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.