Frequently Asked Questions About Art Therapy As An Alternative Treatment

There is a saying that art encompasses everything in life. Almost anything in this world can be considered an art. Art includes nature, music, language, literature, technology, tourism, and many others. Art is such a multifaceted concept, and it has no boundaries.

History shows art as a means of communication way back. Long before men could write or speak, art has been a way to express thoughts. Without a doubt, it plays an influential role since civilization began.

However, art has not only allowed people to express themselves creatively but as well as to become curious and inquisitive. Many of today’s tools and technology may be directly correlated to science.  Hence, there are links interweaving art and science, particularly medical science.


The use of arts in medical science has long been around. According to historians, it started as early as the 3rd century BC. It has allowed individuals to illustrate and document their medical knowledge relevant to today’s different healthcare practices. From human anatomy to designing diagnostic models to surgery to drug formulation, art has significantly and continuously helped the healthcare industry.

Fast forward to today, art in medical science has progressively evolved alongside humankind. As primary care and public health are growing, many physicians continuously look for multiple treatment approaches for different physical and psychological conditions. At the beginning of the 1930s, art has become an adjunct to the health sector through art therapy, centuries since its introduction to the medical field.

Art therapy is a multidisciplinary field utilizing the importance of art-based methods and creative processes as a healing component. Evidence shows a strong link on how visual design, multimedia, and performance positively impacts an individual’s well-being. Since then, doctors have promoted art therapy as a treatment option for all ages, whether it is a physical disability or psychological problem.

If you are interested to know more about art therapy, below are the frequently asked questions about this topic.

What is art therapy, and how does it work?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes art materials and creative expressions to improve mental wellness. A licensed art therapist facilitates a session where the client may draw, paint, sculpt, or collage to express their emotions and understand their inner selves.

Who uses art therapy?

Art therapy is for any individual of any age – from children to the elderly. Art therapy sessions may be done individually, by group, family, or community.

Do you have to be good at art to be an art therapist?

No. An art therapist does not necessarily need to be good at art. The focus of art therapy is not on the technique and form of artwork but on expressing one’s inner self.


What are the disadvantages of art therapy?

A disadvantage of art therapy is the discomfort caused by unfamiliar emotional responses or reactions due to the activities. These feelings include increased pain, anxiety, and trauma.

How does art therapy help anxiety?

Art therapy activities help an individual be calmer and less stressed by reducing anxiety. This therapy also gives the sense of being in control, minimizing the feeling of loss of control associated with stress.

What can art therapy help with?

Art therapy helps boost your mental wellness. It also improves people’s mental health from mental and emotional health issues like addiction, anxiety, grief, depression, and trauma.

How does art therapy help self-esteem?

Art therapy builds an individual’s self-awareness, helping them recognize the hidden emotions that they have. Through this experience, they begin to be more accepting of themselves, thus improving their self-esteem.

Is art therapy in demand?

Recently, there has been an increasing demand for art therapist jobs. This increase implies a growing public interest in art therapy for the improvement of mental wellness.

How long does art therapy take to be effective?

Like other psychotherapy forms, there is no definite time for art therapy to take effect. The response to art therapy also varies from person to person and from case to case.

Can you do art therapy on your own?

Yes. You can do some art therapy on your own at home. But note that there is a significant difference between self-therapy and seeing a licensed art therapist. The latter can tailor fit the activities to what you will need to boost your mental wellness.

How much do art therapists make an hour?

Art therapists with less than a year of experience in the field may make about $14 to $18 per hour. While more experienced practitioners may make about $23 per hour.

How long do you have to go to school to be an art therapist?

Art therapists go to school for a minimum of six years to be licensed in the field. It includes four years of an undergraduate degree in art therapy or a related field and two years of art therapy graduate program.

Who invented art therapy?

The establishment of art therapy started in the mid-20th century in the United States and Europe. Adrian Hill, a World War I artist, coined the term “art therapy” in 1942 when he discovered the benefits of painting and drawing while he was recovering from tuberculosis.

How can I do art therapy at home?

There are several ways to do art therapy at home. Some of the most common activities are creating an emotion wheel, painting your emotions, creating a journal, and sculpting your anger. You may also ask your art therapist for other creative activities to do at home to improve your mental health.

It is astonishing to know that art can be a form of therapy. The relationship between art and medicine is genuinely magnificent. Our knowledge about therapy has only been limited to traditional therapy, which often only utilizes verbal communication. Who knew that art could aid in the recovery of many mentally-ill patients?

Although still an emerging field, art therapy has become a valuable treatment approach in the medical industry. Therapists who wish to practice art therapy need to have supplementary training.


Art therapy’s power allows patients to release their stresses, anxieties, and fears in different creative processes such as drawings, paintings, poetry, dance, and many more. Simultaneously, it allows people to become more self-aware, and there is a noticeable boost in their confidence.

Other patients also get to enhance their art skills while in art therapy. It has also become an effective medium for creating a comfortable and safe environment for the patients. At the same time, this therapy makes it easier for patients to trust their chosen therapists.

It is a common misconception that art therapy is exclusive for those who are good with the arts. But the truth is, everyone is welcome in this kind of therapy. Art therapy is a powerful tool in helping people deal with their health conditions and promoting growth and healing. As the famous proverb goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Allow yourself the freedom to create art and relieve all your worries and tension. If you are considering art therapy for yourself or your loved one, you can connect with your local therapist for assistance.