Life is often stressful. And what seems a minor inconvenience to some is a major stressor to others. Unemployment, inflation, and worry over infectious diseases are all issues that cause concern in today's world. For those who lack good coping skills, life can be difficult, indeed. Fortunately, art therapy has proven itself to be a healing tool for those struggling with stress, anxiety, and more.
Art therapy, and the art therapist who administers it, can be instrumental in improving the overall quality of a person's life. Through guided artwork and the artistic process, patients can discover unknown truths about themselves. Therapeutic recipients find they are resilient and perfectly capable of changing their lives for the better.
They can learn more positive forms of self-expression while tapping into a creative process they find relaxing and enjoyable.
In today's overtaxed healthcare system, art therapists are in high demand. Do you have what it takes to earn a degree in art therapy?
What Does and Art Therapist Do?
What is an art therapist? An art therapist uses the creative process to help clients heal from issues such as trauma, stress, and depression. During an art therapy session, a patient is encouraged to work with the medium of their choice, which may include colored pencils, paint, clay, or other media. The very act of creating helps to reduce anxiety, improve focus, and quiet intrusive or negative thoughts. As the client works, the therapist leads them through a psychotherapy (talk therapy) session that addresses any issues they may be experiencing.
Art therapists work with patients of all ages. They are experts in human development and highly trained in the connection between art and psychology. These professionals understand how the human mind works and how thoughts and emotions guide behavior. They're creative, empathetic, intelligent, and highly effective communicators. If this sounds like you, earning your bachelor's degree in pre-art therapy could be an ideal career choice.
How a Degree Leads to Positive Change
Most people experience negative thoughts from time to time. If you've ever been stuck in traffic after a hectic day at the office and thought, "I'm never going to get home," this is a prime example. For some people, however, these negative thoughts, or "cognitive distortions," occur continuously throughout the day. They become stuck in a cycle of all or nothing, always or never, with no in-between option. And this is a stressful, anxiety-inducing place to be.
For this demographic, therapy, including art therapy, can be life-changing. Through gentle redirection, patients can learn how to change the way they think, and instead of that constant nagging voice in the back of their head that says things like, "you'll never be good enough" or "you're going to fail again, just like always," they begin to think more realistically.
Art therapy has proven immensely helpful for patients and for others like them because it focuses on a pleasant activity that relieves stress and offers a distraction from exhausting intrusive thoughts. This, in turn, allows the therapist to explore the problem more deeply without causing distress. Earning your degree in art therapy will teach you how this is done.
Encouraging Creative Expression
Art therapy encourages creative expression because it lets the patient choose what they're going to create. There is no right or wrong way to proceed. Patients aren't required to paint the house they grew up in or to make a sculpture that resembles their abusive spouse. Instead, the client chooses how to begin and concentrates on the process. As a result, they experience feelings like enjoyment, satisfaction, and peace. This experience is often helpful for removing barriers they have built up in their minds that tell them they absolutely can never talk about what happened.
Because verbalization is difficult for many who have survived traumatic situations, such as sexual assault, approaching the topic in a way that is less direct is often the key. As the patient focuses on the art, they may find themselves able to recall events or to voice memories, unlike before. It's the job of the art therapist to encourage this communication in ways that prevent the client from feeling threatened or fearful.
Providing Stress Relief and Coping Mechanisms
Art therapy is not only a good way to relieve stress, but it can help patients discover effective coping mechanisms, as well. Through art therapy, many people have learned how to meditate, how to be more present in the moment, and how to channel chaotic feelings onto canvas, paper, or clay.
Other coping behaviors that may be learned through art therapy include therapeutic breathing, emotional regulation, becoming grounded, mindfulness, and increased self-awareness. These are all learned skills that help people process the things they're feeling at any given moment. They can help lessen feelings of anger, hopelessness, helplessness, and grief.
Helping Those Struggling with Mental Health Conditions
Approximately one in five adults struggle with mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and one in six youths under the age of 17 are fighting the same battle. Art therapy is a wonderful tool for helping individuals. In fact, it has proven instrumental in helping patients heal from:
As well as a number of other mental health conditions. With a pre-art therapy degree, you'll be well situated to earn your master's, which could put you on the front lines as a warrior in the mental health battle.
Earn a Pre-Art Therapy Degree Online to Become an Art Therapist
Does this sound like a career you would find fulfilling? If so, we invite you to explore the Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Art Therapy program at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. Lindenwood University was founded in 1832 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This means the credits you earn at Lindenwood are easily transferred to the master's degree program at many graduate universities. Additionally, the Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Art Therapy at Lindenwood can be earned entirely online. There are no geographic barriers to earning the degree of your dreams. You can learn at your own pace and have greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling your classes around your existing work and life responsibilities.
A Bachelor's Degree in Art Therapy can be used to pursue entry-level jobs in the human service fields in such settings as social service agencies, nursing homes, residential treatment centers, and more. You will be better prepared to provide support for individuals experiencing stress or loss.
For more information, contact the admissions office at Lindenwood University today. We're happy to answer all your questions regarding admission to our online Pre-Art Therapy program and how your art therapy credentials can prepare you for a master's degree program.
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