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It’s About the Process of Creation, Not a Perfect Final Product

One of the goals of art therapy is to help clients see things from a new perspective—we use a different part of the brain to express and explore thoughts and feelings beyond words.

Creativity assists clients in examining how rigid their thinking can be. Often those struggling with eating disorders can be very restrictive in their processing. Sometimes they will only use one or two colors to illustrate their emotions and thoughts. Through guided sessions, clients can progress and use more colors and abstract metaphors in their artwork which reveals critical insights and new perspectives. For instance, clients who are too controlling, find the freedom of a blank canvas can enable them to express themselves and explore a level of creativity that is without boundaries.

Therapeutic art can also provide another perspective for responding to a stressor. For example, a client who relapses can often feel as if she has not made any progress in treatment and will verbally express self-judgement. However, through the medium of art, she is able to realize that she had made progress in areas that were not realized during individual and group therapy sessions. Art provided a unique perspective and shed a different light on how far she had come in her journey to recovery.

For patients who have experienced trauma, art therapy can be a less threatening way to process the emotions that relate to those experiences. The edge of the canvas is a symbolic representation of how the emotions and feelings are contained.

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