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Humanities Edge Undergraduate Research Symposium | Fall 2021

Abstract

Although it may not be the first option people look for when considering therapy, art therapy has been around since the 1930s and continues to prove it's mental and physical benefits for people with mental illness, PTSD, and grief. This project delved into the world of art therapy and sought to study what the process of art therapy looked like from the perspectives of clients and artists who practice it. The researcher reviewed literature on the subject matter and conducted two interviews with clients (one client and one artist who uses art as therapy for herself). The artist Cataphant was particularly illuminating about the therapeutic process. While client experiences in art therapy vary depending on their needs and mental health diagnoses, the art therapy method itself includes the following step-by-step phases: Checking in, doing the artwork, discussing and verbally processing, and performing a closing activity. What remains clear is that through different media and plans, art therapists can greatly help people of any age communicate heavy feelings and emotions through painting, drawing, sculpting, and psychotherapeutic communication.

Research Project

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