According to the American Art Therapy Association (AAA), art therapy is the therapeutic use, in a professional relationship with people, of creating art for those who have suffered from illness, trauma, or other challenges that have led to varying degrees of dysfunction. People who are looking for personal growth through art creation and reflection on the process of creating art can benefit from art therapy. Art therapy can help you develop a greater awareness of yourself. Art therapy helps you to recognize and manage your own self through art creation. Art making enriches the learning process and makes it more enjoyable. It also enhances cognitive abilities and defines life-affirming pleasures like making art.

The American Art Therapy Association supports established standards in art therapy education, ethics, and practice. Members and experts from the field make up volunteer committees that work at the state and national levels to address clinical issues, professional development, and governmental affairs. Its annual national conference, publications and its online learning capability are all examples of the Association’s commitment to continuing education. The Association also awards national awards that recognize excellence in art therapy.


While visual expression has been used throughout history for healing purposes, art therapy was not established until the 1940s. Psychiatrists began to be more interested in the artwork created by patients suffering from mental illness in the early 20th century. Teachers were also discovering that children’s artwork reflected their cognitive, emotional and developmental growth. Many contemporary artists used primitive and child-like styles to express psychological dispositions and perspectives (Dubuffet and Picasso, Miro, Braque, etc.).

Hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers began to offer art therapy programs in the middle of the century. This was because they recognized that creating art could enhance recovery, health, or wellness. Art therapy has become an important and effective method of communicating, assessing, and treating children and adults in many settings. Art therapy is now a prominent profession in the United States, as well as within psychiatry and psychology, counseling, education and the arts.


According to the American Art Therapy Association (AAA), art therapists are professionals at master’s level who have a degree in either art therapy or a related field. The requirements for education include theories and methods of counseling and art therapy; ethics and standards; assessment and evaluation; individual and group techniques; creativity and human development; multicultural issues; research methods and practical experience in clinical, community, or other settings. Art therapists can use a variety art media (drawings, painting, sculpture and other media) to assess and treat patients.

Art therapists are professionals who have been trained in both therapy and art. They have a deep understanding of human development, psychology theories, clinical practice and spiritual, multicultural, and artistic traditions. They consult with allied professionals and use art for assessment, treatment, and research. Art therapists can work with individuals, couples, families and groups of all ages. Individually or as part of a clinical team, they provide services in a variety of settings, including mental health, rehabilitation and forensic institutions; community outreach programmes; wellness centers; schools, nursing homes; corporate structures, open studios, and independent practices.

To practice art therapy, an art therapist must be licensed. Each state has its own licensing requirements for art therapy.


Art therapy addresses a brain part that is functional even when others are not.

Art therapy can be beneficial for many people, including children in hospitals, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. Art therapy is also beneficial for the mentally ill. Many people with anxiety, fear, and depressions due to trauma or other developmental challenges have trouble expressing deep feelings. They often find that creating art allows them to release their dysfunctions.

Alzheimer’s patients and the elderly in particular can respond to drawing, painting, and sculpting to help them regain some lost abilities.

Studies show that art therapy sessions with seniors can improve memory and brain function. Additionally, creative movement reduces the risk of falling and accidents. It also encourages balance and movement. “Meet and MOMA” is a program offered by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. On Tuesdays when the Museum is closed, a group of Alzheimer’s patients with their caregivers tours the galleries. They are stimulated mentally and their lives are enriched by the stimulation of viewing and discussing art. Many patients have seen significant improvements in their memory, cognitive awareness, and self-expression since the program was established.

Prisoners can use art therapy to address their angers and resentments. They can see themselves clearly and understand why they committed a crime by creating. Art making offers many an opportunity to learn a skill that can enhance their lives and those of others.

Anyone with a mental or physical disability can find balance through art and creativity. In a nurturing environment, deep-seated emotions can emerge through the creative process. Artwork that expresses the challenge can help people face their worst fears and anxieties. It is often reduced when the problem is recognized, viewed, and discussed. Participants in a group realize that other people have the same fears and problems as them. Because the root cause of eating disorders is often hidden, creativity can help to address them.


Artist therapy is a profession that creates a sense or self. This can be a great way to help the elderly, Alzheimer’s sufferers, and those suffering from mental illness. Art making provides sensory stimulation and stimulation to fill in the gaps. This can be demonstrated through any and all art materials and skills, such as painting, drawing and water color, collage and sculpture.

Collecting images creates the feeling of connectedness and putting them back together. A collage is created by combining identifiable images that resonate with an individual’s experience. It can help bridge the gap between anxiety and fear and communicate the feelings to the outside world. The patient can start to recognize what is preventing them from thinking clearly and can talk to an art therapist about how the art works relate to their behavior and challenges.

The Meet At MOMA Program has shown that Alzheimer’s affects the part of the brain responsible for memories. Art stimulates the parietal brain lobe. A patient will engage in dialogue with the artist when they look at a painting. The visual response can be interpreted and questions asked. People who cannot recall their names or those of their loved ones can talk about the images they see and express their opinions about the paintings. Sometimes memories are stimulated and forgotten things enter the conversation.