For many people the process of talking about fine arts conjures thoughts of going to plays, watching someone dance, going to a gallery to look at some good art and perhaps catching a concert somewhere. And fine arts are very entertaining. Every day people search for fine art opportunities to go visit or participate in to add to their life.
But fine arts are much more than just entertainment. There is much value in fine arts and other hobbies that have been used to enhance a person’s life. Not only the person, who is looking for that great concert ticket, but also that person who is lost and can’t find their way anywhere, much less to a concert.
Fine arts impact us in a way that little else does. The arts touch us at our core and connect with something that we are not able to in many cases. The arts are special specifically for just that point. They touch us and reach into our souls in ways that sometimes no one else can. It is this connectivity to the human psyche that makes the fine arts and other hobbies that are closely related excellent therapeutic tools for many ailments and mental distresses.
As the world continues to understand the impact of the arts on human beings, the psychology of using these arts as a professional tool has come out of the “alternative treatment” category and into the full light of accepted therapy practices.
So how do these therapies work and what is it about them that make them successful? It is important to note that any fine art therapy needs to be administered by someone who is familiar with the art that is being used in the therapy. This of course makes the practice of an art therapy a bit more focused for the therapist and there are fewer that either use it or have the skill set to use it even if they wanted to.
One of the popular therapies to use especially with children or others who have a hard time expressing themselves is art therapy. This is the opportunity to allow patients to draw what is on their mind. In many cases the patients are very young and have gone through some traumatic event or have difficulty communicating and the pictures is a way to start to get their emotions out.
When these pictures are drawn it is then the therapists job to help the patient understand what it is that they drew and why they drew it .The key to the therapy is getting the patient to first try to express themselves in a very personal individual way and then expand on the pictures through additional conversation. This is the very basic way that art therapy works in most cases. Additionally, art therapy does tend to work with adults that have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The therapist can decide if it is appropriate or not and take it from there.
Of all the fine art therapies that are used today, music therapy is probably one of the most well known and most “mature” in terms of schooling, theoretical HIPPA Compliant application and therapeutically acceptance with the mental health professional community. There are a number of reasons for this. Perhaps the biggest is that the impact of music on the psyche of humans has been studied and used for years; centuries actually. So it has gone through a natural evolution.
Music Therapy finds the musical trigger that works best with the issue the client is being helped with and uses that musical genre to work with the patients in formal therapy sessions. Music therapy tends to work very well with young kids who are agitated as it tends to calm them and bring their anxiety levels down so they can be more open to therapy conversations.
Music therapy actually works well with a number of disorders, issues and ailments and is used everywhere from preschool to nursing homes. Of course it is not always used to correct issues, sometimes it is used to help develop an ambiance of fun or calm or excitement, depending on what is needed at the particular time.
In fact we use music therapy all the time when we turn on the radio after a tough day to calm down. We find the music that works best for us to get our mood to the space that we desire and we play it. Music therapy is more complex than the way that we use it in our everyday lives but both are useful.
For centuries writing has been a pastime of many. Well before computers and type writers writing a letter or a dairy was as expected as was eating and drinking. “Posting” a letter was big deal in the 1700 and 1800’s and one that required utmost attention to what was being written since you never knew when the next time would come that you would have the opportunity to write or receive a letter again. There wasn’t a mailbox down the corner and a postman to deliver it daily like today. It was a precious opportunity to express oneself by saying something important.
Well writing therapy is a lot like that still. In writing therapy you are asked to write down how you feel and then you review those writings with your therapist. Sometimes you are asked to keep a diary for a certain amount of time, sometimes you are asked to write how you feel while you are at the session. In writing therapy, the ability to let go and put down on paper whatever comes into your mind and then decide later why you might have written the things that you wrote.
Writing therapy is used with a lot of adults and although all adults can be open to it, it tends to work a bit better with women. Also children seem to do okay with it but they do not often have the sophistication to put down what they are thinking and the other therapies seem to work better with them. Again, like other formal therapies it is one that you can take with you and work at home just for yourself in an attempt to understand what is going through your mind day after day.
Art Therapies Conclusion
Any one of the fine arts can be applied to either a formal or personal therapy. They all have the ability to get under your skin and touch some of the places that perhaps you won’t let anyone else reach. They are all healthy and can be very soothing for you if you find the one that works best for you. Not all of the fine art therapies are right for everyone. You need to find the one that works for you alone.
They are not a one size fits all nor are they an automatic solution to what ails you. You will need to use the art form and really allow it to have the result that you are looking for. Simply turning on the radio or drawing a painting is not going to cut it if you do not allow yourself to understand why you drew what you did in the first place. Allowing your mind and soul to be a blank canvass is very important to allowing the different arts to impact you.
In professional therapy the therapist will help identify the type of art therapy that should be used and why. But if you want this type of therapy you are going to have to seek it out. Your neighborhood therapist likely does not use these types of therapies since they need to have a skill set with the art form as well as with mental health issues. Therapists are out there though so if you think it is something you want to pursue you should.