Art Therapy Proven to be Successful Alternative to Traditional Talk Therapy
Research shows that almost 20% of adults and nearly 14% of children in the United States between the ages of five and 17 have received mental health treatment.
Most people assume talk therapy, where a person speaks with a trained therapist who helps them understand certain feelings and behaviors, is the only way to receive treatment. But, that is a misconception.
There is exposure therapy, play therapy, occupational therapy — and, art therapy.
WHat is art therapy?
“Art therapy uses art as a means to express or communicate something that may be difficult to communicate or that maybe we don’t have the words for,” said Melanie Heindl, Registered Art Therapist at Wellpoint Care Network.
“We can do traditional painting, drawing, sketching, watercolor, clay. But, we also get creative. You tend to get scrappy as an art therapist, because you do what you can with what you have. You don’t have a studio space a lot of times, and you don’t have access to the best materials in the world because they’re expensive.”
Who is art therapy for?
Art therapy is for patients of all ages, youth to adult. It can help anyone who has experienced trauma in their life, or suffers from anxiety or depression.
“Especially, if they have an interest in art, it’s a nice way to get them in the door,” said Heindl. “Or, for patients that are a little bit more resistant to engage verbally. Art therapy can be completely talk-less for some people, especially for the ones that might have a more challenging time being able to process.”
What can art therapy do?
For many, art therapy can produce positive outcomes.
“It can be a very transformative process,” added Heindl. “I think sometimes art can move things along faster; we can get to where we’re going a little bit quicker than if we were to use traditional talk therapy. And, I think the depth of what we can process can be deeper, too, depending on the need of the client.”
In the state of Wisconsin, art therapists are licensed professional counselors so that services can be billed and covered by insurance. This means that clients are getting both an art therapist and a traditional talk therapist in one.
“It’s kind of nice, because sometimes folks need that little bit of credibility, I suppose.”
where can I find an art therapist?
At Wellpoint Care Network, art therapy services are offered at our Capitol Drive campus, West Bend campus, as well as remotely via online telehealth.
“We’re all about creative and expressive therapies as much as possible,” said Heindl. “If we can find a way to provide that, I think that is important. We know that some of the clients we work with aren’t necessarily going to be as receptive to the typical therapy. So, we need to get a little novel in how we approach it.”
Learn more about Wellpoint Care Network’s art therapy program in this informational PDF.
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