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  • Writer's pictureKajol Mathur

What is Art Therapy?

lavender flowers,  lavender aesthetics, candle

"Perception is Reality". So if i tell you that Art therapy essentially is a form of psychotherapy that uses art materials and creative expression as a means of communication and self-discovery, that is my perception. You might have the perception that 'therapy' is something required by the 'damaged' of our Society. I disagree. I think we all need therapy in various forms because it is as natural a process to us as breathing.

The entire notion of 'therapy' being a process of seeking professional help to address emotional, mental, and behavioral 'issues' has tainted the word red. A person in therapy, even in 21st century is viewed as 'damaged goods' or 'troubled', when in fact there is so much more to this entire process and its meaning.

What is Art Therapy?

Therapy for me is the process that brings you closer to your core, your soul. We are all living in a sophisticated jungle and we keep getting lost, we keep losing our path, infact most of us never find it again. There is a unique path for all the animals of the jungle, which if they manage to find, would bring them the utmost bliss, but how do we know whether we are on our path or somebody else's? Trial & error. So therapy essentially is trial & error till you find your path. Sometimes it can even mean finding your childhood, the things that really matter tend to pop-up when we are young and not so disturbed or bothered with the noice of the jungle and rather just listening to our own tune.

Therapy can be talking to your best buddy, therapy can be meeting new people, therapy can be chasing your dreams, therapy is doing what you love. Do I need a professional to tell me what I love doing? Sometimes, not for all.

So then what is 'Art therapy'? We all have our own customized versions of Art. Art is an expression of our imagination & emotions. Somebody's idea of expression could be writing, designing, painting, conversing, listening or just writing a journal. Someone can feel closer to themselves when they are in a sport, a sport of passion & competition & ecstacy, Someone can feel that joy in cooking, blending different flavours and making them work as a whole, gardening perhaps brings them that daily dose of bliss, someone might be passionate about learning, and passing it on to those who don't have that knowledge, hell it can be just talking about movies!

Types of Art Therapy

Painting / Sketching / Designing / Doodling

painting, colors

Probably the most common and widely used. The white canvas is a clean slate for us to paint our emotions over. Feeling inspired? Sketch your favorite comic, feeling low don't know where to go? take it out form your head and put it on paper, let the mind feel a little less heavy and your sketch book a little more colorful. We know how colors can influence our moods, it's a great way to express the feelings we feel and unable to express sometimes.

Sketching can be very intimate especially for the artists, its an escape route for the 'Romantics', a way to express the mood palette. The goal is not to be professionally good but just to be able to 'express'.


pottery, making a clay pot

For most of us it would be like learning a new art! But I am sure it can be addictive, in a good way. The satisfaction of moulding and bringing into existence something tangible which is a product of your imagination is sure to stir up your creative juices. The added bonus is 'hands in the mud', nothing more calming than being closer to the soil where it all began. Potters will also tell you how this Art therapy is also a way to become patient, no kidding. Good things take time right, especially when they are delicate.

There is also a feeling of humbleness in this art form. You get to witness the magic of nature in a semi-manmade form, nevertheless one of the best ways to take your mind off a tragedy, if any.

The Green therapy

green therapy, plants, gardening

You might think you don't have the 'green gene', but you know nothing Jon Snow. You might just fall in love with it if you try. Honestly I would see people obsess over their plants day in & day out and treating them like their babies and would not just understand the logic until I tried my hands on it. Let me try to explain my experience. You can be a complete beginner, not knowing the first thing about gardening, not even have any strong inclination and yet the process can be life-changing. Plants are intrinsically beautiful, the color green evokes feelings of nature, growth, rejuvenation, calm & creativity. The freshness & aroma are added benefits, it can bring an overall positive impact. You can have a small 'green corner' or a 'green workplace' or a 'terrace garden' if you live in the suburbs.

Poetry / Journaling / Blogs / Song or Script writing / Letter writing

letter writing, journaling, blog writing

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." - F. Scott Fitzgerald. You think you are not a writer huh? Try your hand, unleash those untold stories, those inevitable emotions, those uncontrollable events. "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou.

Letter writing. I ma big sucker for this lost art, it is probably the best way to express your most sincere emotions to anyone and yet we have lost this art in this jungle. People don't write letters anymore, maybe that's a good enough reason for you to try.

Even journaling is an art. Expressing your own thoughts can be quite challenging, it requires you to be close to your heart.

Dancing / Singing / Listening music

girl listening to music

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."- Ludwig van Beethoven. I am writing this blog while listening to my favorite playlist, look how well the article turned out :P

Music has the power of providing that spotlight to hat feeling in the corner. Any feeling, any emotion can be amplified with the right music and can be changed too.

The list can go on. You can define your 'Art'. Your 'Muse'.

Getting neck deep in your 'expression' to the point that it becomes different and yours, is what I call Art therapy. Cajoled is my muse, my art therapy. So go find your muse, its there, somewhere in the jungle, enjoy the process of finding it, because this jungle just keeps becoming more dense with each day.

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