The Difference Between Art Therapy and Therapeutic Art-Making

June 17, 2020

Art Therapy Near Me.  Both art therapy and therapeutic art-making can provide alleviation to the adverse effects of stress and trauma by giving individuals a new medium of expression. Anyone who has shown any interest in the idea of art as therapy has likely wondered about the main difference between therapeutic art-making and art therapy itself. This is actually something that many art experts are asked about often, and in fact, there are a few differences between the two that should be made note of.

 

Here are some of the most common differences between therapeutic art-making (aka “art as therapy”) and art therapy.

 

GOAL OF EACH

Perhaps one of the most common differences between the two is the overall goal, which is self expression. In other words, the main goal involving art therapy is to either communicate or express something, while the main goal involving therapeutic art-making is to either experiment or learn something. Whether through a new technique involving creating something specific or replicating an example or instruction. Additionally, creating and learning something will also impact how both artwork and art supplies are also viewed by others.

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS

Another common difference between therapeutic art-making and art therapy involves the general relationship between the artist and the professional involved.

 

  • While art therapy typically involves a therapeutic relationship, which is considered to be the most important part of any type of therapy, there are certain elements and boundaries to a therapeutic relationship. An art therapy session is facilitated by a professional art therapist who leads a client through art exercises that encourage emotional, creative, and spiritual growth. 
  • On the other hand, therapeutic art-making can potentially involve relationships; however, they don't involve a traditional client/therapist relationship, as the role of an instructor is different than that of a therapist. While the student/teacher relationship has different dynamics than a more traditional relationship. When it comes to art teachers, they will need to be both competent and skilled in all areas that they teach; however, they do not receive all of the same training that is required in order to practice as an art therapist.

 

 

INTERPRETATION OF ART

One other common difference between art therapy and therapeutic art-making is how the actual art product itself is viewed. 

 

  • In terms of art therapy, artwork will generally be viewed as either a reflection or extension of a part of the client. Essentially acting as a mirror that reflects their general thoughts or feelings. 
  • Therapeutic art, on the other hand, tends to focus more on the product itself, with the overall goal being to create a specific piece of beautiful artwork. Oftentimes, the goal is to create something that is interesting, beautiful, or visually appealing, with students also wishing to either frame their creations or display them in some other fashion.

 

 

ART THERAPY BENEFITS

  • You will be able to take advantage of having a safe and private place to express anything and everything that may be on your mind.
  • As a result of self expression, you will be able to work through past traumas or experiences with a professional therapist.
  • You will be a part of the therapeutic relationship, which is considered to be extremely unique.
  • An art therapy session itself is able to offer an opportunity for both intentional discovery and self reflection.

 

 

THERAPEUTIC ART MAKING BENEFITS

  • You will be able to learn all sorts of new skills, which can help to greatly increase your self esteem.
  • You will be able to develop and increase your technical abilities, which you can use for your visual self expression.
  • Social interaction will be able to be achieved, which can greatly help you with building relationships with other individuals taking part in the same class.
  • As a result of self expression, you will be able to experience a feeling of catharsis.
  • You will have the chance to indirectly learn more about yourself.



Thank you for visiting the Art From The Streets blog, an Austin based nonprofit that provides a safe and encouraging environment in which the positive spirit and creativity for those experiencing homelessness are nurtured through their own therapeutic art-making. If you are looking to further discuss our program, please contact us today for more information.


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