Art Therapy - This is one of the central psychotherapeutic areas, which includes therapeutic, remedial and rehabilitation work. It is based on the use of visual arts to help patients. The term "art therapy" was originally used in English-speaking states. It appeared around the first half of the twentieth century. This term denotes various methods of rehabilitation and therapeutic practice, based on art.

Today, art therapy is a therapeutic use of the patient's visual creativity, which involves three-sided directed interaction between the patient, his work and the psychotherapist. Creation of visual images on paper is considered to be the most important means of interpersonal communication and is a form of cognitive activity of the client, helping him to express past or actual experiences today, which are quite difficult for the client to convey with the help of words.

Art therapy methods

The main goal of art-therapeutic methods lies in creating a harmonious development of personality through the formation of the abilities of self-expression and cognition. From the standpoint of the followers of classical psychoanalysis, the sublimation mechanism is considered to be the core tool of psychocorrectional influence in art therapy. K. Jung made an assumption about the leading role of art to facilitate the processes of individualization of the formation of personality, which is based on the establishment of a balance between the “I” unconscious and the “I” conscious. The most important technique of the art-therapeutic effect Jung considered the technique of active imagination, which is aimed at colliding with each other the “I” of the conscious and the “I” of the unconscious, at reconciling them with each other through affective interaction.

Art therapy can be used as a primary method or as an auxiliary method.

Today we can distinguish two peculiar to the method of art therapy, the fundamental method of receiving a corrective impact on the human psyche.

Art helps in a specifically symbolic form to recreate a traumatic conflict situation and allows finding ways to solve it by transforming such a situation using the client’s creative and creative abilities. This is the first reception of art therapy.

The second method is closely connected with the nature of the appearance of the aesthetic reaction, which allows you to modify the effect of the affect from negative to positive.

The methods of art therapy include drawing, sculpting, music, modeling with paper, modeling, woodworking, literary creation, singing, dancing, etc.

Art therapy classes can be conducted in two ways. The first way is to provide the customer with the possibility of making crafts from a specific material on the model on a given topic. This allows you to see striking unusual color combinations, the original expression of the plot and its peculiar shape. All of the above has a direct connection with the peculiarities of the patient's world view, his emotions, experiences, worries, which reflect the symbols concealed from consciousness, which makes it possible to obtain additional diagnostic information indicating the presence and quality of the client’s problems.

The second method is an unstructured lesson in which customers are invited to choose the theme or plot of crafts, material, tools. The final stage of this method is to discuss the topic or story, manner of performance, choice of material, etc.

Many well-known psychotherapists emphasize the leading role of art therapy in enhancing adaptive abilities in everyday life.

A variety of art-therapeutic methods creates a specific situation in order to get a painless approach to the depths of client consciousness, stimulates the processing of his unconscious anxieties and experiences, helps to develop previously blocked or underdeveloped perceptual systems responsible for the perception of the surrounding world, to form an associative and figurative thinking. For an experienced psychologist or psychotherapist, art therapy is invaluable diagnostic material. A variety of art-therapeutic methods opens up unprecedented scope for creative delights.

One of the leading methods of art-therapeutic effects is the Mandala method, which means center or circle. The pattern of the mandala is symmetrical and is usually a circle with a pronounced center. The main landmarks, the number of which can vary, are indicated inside the circle. However, in the complex geometric structure of the mandala, you can find other elements, such as square, all sorts of ovals or curved lines, rectangles and triangles. Thus, the mandala is a circular pattern that can be the product of an individual's spontaneous creative activity or drawn in accordance with a given instruction. The drawings, inscribed in a circle, originated in ancient civilizations and are preserved in the modern world. The round variation of mandalas has always accompanied mankind, for example, the circle is the central accent of many sacred cults of gods and prehistoric places of worship. The image of mandalas is found in various ethnic groups and cultures, for example, in various architectural compositions, on the tambourines of the shamans of Siberia, in the schemes of labyrinths.

Since ancient times, the mandala bears the spiritual meaning of the conditional reflection of the world order and mental harmony. Mankind intuitively learned to calm the soul and mind with the help of drawings in a circle, using them as an opportunity to get closer to nature.

K. Jung was one of the first European scientists who studied the ideas of the mandala with close attention. In his work Memories, Dreams, Reflections, he spoke about his first depiction of a mandala in 1916, after which he sketched new mandalas every day in his notebook. Jung concluded that each new image reflects his spiritual life at a particular moment. Then he began to use his drawings to fix his own "mental transformation". Ultimately, Jung hypothesized that the art therapy method of Mandala is a kind of straightforward on the way to the center of the individual, to the discovery of its unique nature and individuality. He believed that the mandala is an immensely powerful symbol, which is a visible projection of the world of the human psyche and expresses the Self of the individual.

Today, many experts in the field of art, anthropology, archeology, psychology and psychotherapy continue to study the mandala. Working with mandalas helps the person to strengthen the connection between the "I" conscious and the "I" unconscious. The need to draw mandalas, especially in crisis situations, may mean that the "I" unconscious seeks to protect the conscious "I". Confirmations of this can be squiggles, often painted by children and adults in times of crisis, when the “I” is filled with unconscious, anxious content.

Mandalas can be abstract drawings that people unconsciously draw on paper while they are alone with them, for example, at a meeting or lecture that is not interesting for them, or during a telephone conversation. Such drawings are an attempt to compensate for mental distraction. If we analyze the unconscious drawings, we can conclude that the core of the majority of them are geometric shapes, such as square, circle.

One of the most important advantages of practicing with mandalas is revealing oneself with the help of one’s own “inner child”, by contemplating, using crayons, paints and free time.

Art therapy Mandala method is equally successful, both in work with children and adults. In psychocorrectional, rehabilitative and developmental practice with young children and adolescents, mandalas can be used to:

- correctional work of emotional states, normalization of behavioral reactions, for example, by coloring ready-made mandala colorings;

- diagnostics of the current emotional state and mood, for example, by coloring the white circle;

- studying group relationships of children, for example, by creating individual mandalas in a team with the subsequent creation of a group composition;

- diagnostic and correctional work with a specific problem, for example, by coloring the circle, which can symbolize the school, the child’s surroundings, the family, his image “I”, friendship, etc.

Also, art therapy Mandala method can be applied in other relevant areas of remedial, diagnostic, rehabilitation, developmental and therapeutic work with children, adolescents and adults. Such areas include problems with self-esteem, internal imbalance, fear of losing control over oneself, activation of individual’s resource states, depression, aggression, hypersensitivity or alexithymia, phobias, help with adaptation, personality and age crises, family and psychosomatic problems, disorders of fine motor skills , team building, etc.

Mandalas transform the forces of the innate mental structures of the subconscious into the conscious "I". Therefore, in the course of working with mandalas, the interpretation of a creative result may be the same as when working with other projective techniques. The colors chosen for the image of the mandala can reveal various aspects of the personality of the person who has applied, who will intuitively incline to the choice of the currently relevant or favorite color. Such a choice may vary depending on the internal state of the individual, on the age or life stage, etc. Children, when choosing colors, usually have more spontaneity than adults. After all, adult individuals are controlled by the mind, so they give great value to aesthetic criteria. Many individuals, who paint a mandala for the first time, suppress the open true expression of feelings, they are thinking about how to better arrange and emphasize colors so that the drawing is harmonious and beautiful. However, when the "inner child" awakens in the process of creativity, the process of "healing" begins. Any mandala is a product of individual creative activity of a person, created in a certain period of time and in a particular place. That is why it will always be unique and can never be repeated exactly.

Types of art therapy

For the human person, creativity is one of the easiest ways to comprehend your own inner world, to understand and know yourself. It is addressed to the best sides of the human soul, to its most light and sincere aspects. When a person draws, sings, plays music or finds self-expression in other types of creativity, it helps him to relax, calm down, reveal himself and be in harmony with his own soul. The following types of art therapy are distinguished: isotherapy, dance and play therapy, phototherapy, music therapy, phototherapy, fairytale therapy.

Applied types of creativity, such as painting, various types of painting, modeling, etc., are related to isotherapy. This type of art therapy is one of the most popular and widespread today. Doctors specializing in isotherapy recommend to show their own emotions and excitements with the highest possible spontaneity (spontaneity). The main advantage and advantage of isotherapy is the elimination of barriers to self-censorship, which opens the door to the client's subconscious. Creativity has a unique property that promotes the removal to the surface of all hidden and unconscious secrets, desires, problems that constantly put pressure on the person. In the process of modeling or drawing involved the right hemisphere of the brain. It is precisely because of this that the censorship of the mind, which seeks to filter out negative thoughts and negative emotions, is costing. However, before choosing a color palette, before appearing images, the human mind becomes impotent. In isotherapy, techniques to recreate your own dreams and drawing mandalas are also quite often used.

Dance therapy consists in expressing one's own mood, emotions and feelings with the help of dance. Dance therapy sessions are considered very effective and healing. Psychotherapists believe that this method of art therapy contributes to the transformation of world views. The ancestor of body-oriented therapy, V. Reich, stated that if any emotions, for example, anger or joy, are not given a long way out, they will accumulate in the cells of the human body, thus forming the so-called muscular armor. With the help of dance therapy can prevent this process. In cases where this has already happened - break. You need to dance until the moment of feeling complete freedom. However, one should not confuse dance therapy with classes in a dance studio, since in the studio all movements are determined by the coach, and not spontaneously expressed.

Beethoven treated music as a revelation higher than wisdom or any other philosophy. A lot of research proves that music therapy is of great benefit. It is effective in Alzheimer's disease, depression, stress, and sleep disturbances. In the process of listening to music, the internal state of the individual is modified. A person, listening to music, adapts to the rhythm of the motive, absorbs positive vibrations.

Game therapy also has a healing effect on the human psyche. Access to the subconscious is opened by playing back difficult life situations, turning to hidden corners of the psyche in search of important emotions. In the process of theatrical play, memory is activated, attention improves, the will increases, the imagination becomes brighter and the ability to control one's body improves. One of the types of this type of art therapy is considered sand therapy. Its foundations laid K. Jung.

For the solution of various psychological problems, self-development and self-knowledge, phototherapy has been used successfully for the last 10 years. This type of art therapy is considered quite young, its development began in the late 70s of the 20th century in the United States. In phototherapy, additional graphic techniques can also be used, for example, a collage, installation of ready-made images in the interior, works from mock-ups and further interaction with them, etc.

Art therapy Kopytin suggested using photography as a therapeutic, remedial, developmental, and health preserving agent. The availability of photography, as well as the variety of forms and variations of phototherapy sessions, allows using this technique in working with people of different ages (starting from three years), regardless of their level of development and needs.

Art therapy Kopytin noted the positive effect of photography on the patient's personality and its relationship with the environment. Such an effect can be manifested both during independent individual studies, and during the creation of photographs and their further discussion with a specialist.

Fairy tale therapy is quite effective when working with dreamers. It is successfully used to understand the mental state, the resolution of various conflict situations, for internal transformations. Fairy tale therapy is considered an indispensable method of helping very young children and more adults. It can be done in two ways: by listening to a fairy tale that the therapist or children can tell, they can make up their own story. Independently inventing a plot, the kid reveals the inner world, communicates his feelings and dreams, learns how to find a way out of any situations.

Art therapy for children

Art therapy classes for children today are the most exciting, effective and quite economical way of psychological assistance to children. It is based on creativity and play activity.

The psyche of the baby is characterized by vulnerability, as a result of which it requires a more careful attitude to itself. After all, the child is just learning to know himself, he is just beginning to get acquainted with the environment and other people. Therefore, on its still small life path, it is often very difficult for babies to face difficulties for them, for example, in a family or kindergarten. Parents really want to help their kids, but often they just don’t know how to do it. After all, explanations or beliefs, reading notations and warnings do not help, and the child alone is not able to clearly explain what caused their condition and what exactly happens to it. For example, why he refuses to go to the kindergarten or what he fears in the dark. Именно в этих случаях будут незаменимы арт-терапевтические практики.

Арт-терапия занятия для детей проходят обычно в более свободной форме. Обсуждение и разрешение различных психологических трудностей и проблем происходит на фоне игровой или творческой деятельности. At such classes, the child simultaneously with the enjoyment of the game or creativity reveals his own creative abilities, is the center of attention of an adult, masters psychological difficulties, changes personal psychological reality.

The main condition for all activities designed for children's art therapy is the comprehensibility and safety for kids, the availability of funds and attractiveness.

The most common and favorite method of art therapy for children that meets all the requirements listed above is considered to be sand therapy. All that is needed to conduct sand art therapy practice is a common sandbox or sandbox. With the help of drawing with sand, creating sand castles or other figures, a child develops tactile sensations, he becomes more relaxed. This is the way a baby expresses itself.

The most accessible exercise, for which you need only a piece of paper and a pencil, is drawing doodles. The child is absolutely free at the same time, without thinking about the end result, draws a tangle of lines on a piece of paper, and then tries to discern in it some kind of image with its subsequent description. In the course of the description, the child can already consciously draw it, highlight contours, accent lines, shade some areas, etc.

Another rather interesting type of isotherapy is monotype, which means “one print”. The child must create a drawing (spots, lines, etc.) on the surface that will not absorb paint, for example, on plastic or linoleum, using ink, ink, watercolors, etc. Then a piece of paper is applied to the surface, as if wetting . The resulting mirror image on paper should be given to the child so that he can examine it, describe what happened, add or draw an image.

Art therapy exercises

The main difference between art therapy and other types of psychotherapeutic practices is the use of non-verbal communications as the main mechanism for conveying information to people. Its basis consists of practical exercises that help an individual find answers to all sorts of questions, cope with internal inhibitory factors, overcome fears.

Exercises in art therapy practice are a kind of tool that allows you to explore ideas, events, feelings, develop interpersonal relationships, skills, increase self-esteem and confidence in the forces, create a new, more successful image of your own "I".

The session of art therapy consists of two parts. The first part covers the creative expression of the client, is non-verbal in nature, does not include the specific structure of the meeting. The main tool for patient self-expression in this part is creative activity, for example, drawing or sculpting. The second part is dominated by verbal mechanisms. It comes immediately after the first and consists in a verbal active discussion of the fruits of creative activity.

The most popular method of art therapy among the leading psychotherapists is considered to be a collage, as it allows the doctor to assess the current mental state of the patient, to identify the most exciting experiences. The main characteristics of this exercise are to emphasize the positive emotional experiences of the client, the opportunity for self-expression of any person, even completely far from art, to reveal the maximum potential. Collage is considered a very effective tool for working with the individual.

The creation of figures from clay allows an individual to vent his own emotions, experiences through modeling. There are many options for this exercise, ranging from the creation of earthen vessels and ending with the modeling of body parts. Art therapy with children and their exercises are aimed at increasing efficiency, relieving tension, and developing creative abilities. The most relevant today are music therapy, dance and drama therapy, fairy tale therapy, etc.

Listening to music, playing various instruments, tapping and clapping according to the rhythm of the melody - all this greatly increases children's performance, reduces stress, and contributes to the development of artistic abilities. Dramatic therapy teaches communication, contributes to the formation of adequate self-esteem. Art therapy with children and dance therapy exercises are aimed at the prevention of neuroses and complexes.

Art therapy techniques

Modern art therapy has an infinite number of areas and techniques. Therefore, today it is easy enough to choose an individual art-therapy method that will most fully reflect the state of the individual psyche, and, along with this, will be well perceived by it.

There are two main methods of art therapy: passive and active.

The passive technique consists in the consumption by the client of creative works created by other individuals. For example, you can view images, read works of art, listen to musical creations, etc. The active method is based on the creation of creative products independently by the client, while the aesthetic value and beauty of their creations are not evaluated.

Methods of art therapy allow the psychotherapist to optimally combine the individual approach to the patient and group forms of work. Art-therapeutic techniques, as a rule, are present in all programs of pikhokorrektsii, complementing and enriching them.

The art-therapeutic effect is based on the mechanism of sublimation, which consists in redirecting the energy of the psyche from the traumatic factor to an acceptable way out - creativity. In other words, if anxious experiences have accumulated in the subject, he may try to express them through creative activity and feel relieved. This is the healing effect of art therapy. However, creating an image of what excites is just the first step. The second step will be the transformation of the image in a positive direction. Simultaneously with the change in the image, the transformation of the internal representation also occurs, due to which the individual finds a way out of a seemingly hopeless situation.

Psychocorrectional classes with the use of art-therapeutic techniques and techniques are especially effective when working with younger schoolchildren, since they do not tire children, they retain their performance and activity throughout the entire class.