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Art Therapy Programs

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If you've ever doodled during a nerve-wracking meeting or blasted the radio while sitting in traffic, you already know just how effective art can be at soothing stress. That's precisely the idea behind Art Therapy, a mental health treatment that combines the creative process with traditional therapeutic principles. Participants use artistic media – like paint, pencils, or clay – to create works of art. Then, working with an art therapist, the participants use those creations to:
  • Learn about their feelings
  • Deal with emotional conflict
  • Lower anxiety levels
  • Gain more self-understanding
  • Control their behavior or addictions
  • Improve social interactions
  • Develop self-esteem
  • Gain a more solid grasp on reality

You probably know all about the “right brain” and “left brain” and how each is in charge of certain aspects of thinking and communication. By creating art, patients stimulate the “right brain,” which handles emotion and creativity. The right brain then processes information that gets transferred to the left brain, or the “analytical brain,” which turns that information into language and memory. 

Art Therapy was first developed in the 1940s by a British artist named Adrian Hill. While he was in the hospital recovering from tuberculosis, he passed the time by drawing and soon noticed its soothing effects. Hill started working with patients and was later joined by another British artist, Edward Adamson. Adamson built on Hill’s work treating patients with Art Therapy and became known as the “Father of Art Therapy” in Britain. He went on to help establish the British Association of Art Therapists in 1964. 

Since that time, Art Therapy has evolved into a more comprehensive therapeutic treatment that combines traditional psychotherapy with a psychological understanding of the creative process. It’s used to help everyone from veterans suffering from PTSD and seniors who have dementia to adults and children dealing with trauma. Even people who aren't dealing with serious emotional issues have reaped the stress-relieving benefits of artistic endeavors – as shown by the popularity of adult coloring books.

Art Therapy can include a whole range of artistic activities, from painting and drawing to origami and working with clay. In recent years, some programs have started to incorporate visits to art galleries and art appreciation. As technology becomes more and more interwoven in society, Art Therapy has even branched into the digital world – with participants using computers to make collages, illustrations, and films. Art Therapy delivered through or distributed by social media may be on the horizon.

There are many benefits to Art Therapy. Participants get an outlet to express emotions and conflicts, they develop and strengthen fine motor skills and coordination, and Art Therapy group classes can foster a sense of community and belonging. Many people who participate in Art Therapy feel a sense of accomplishment after creating a work of art – making Art Therapy potentially-effective at boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Art Therapy is still a relatively new type of treatment, but scientific research has shown that it can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. One study found that when dementia patients participated in three weeks of art appreciation and art creation, they experienced short-term improvements in memory and verbal functioning. Preliminary research suggests that Art Therapy has positive associations with:
  • reducing anxiety, 
  • reducing depression, 
  • helping with pain management,
  • lowering stress and cortisol levels,
  • reducing the length of hospital stays,
  • and processing trauma, including PTSD.

Additionally, the benefits of Art Therapy can extend to caregivers. It not only helps increase the bond between patients and those who care for them, but Art Therapy can improve patient symptoms – like quality and duration of sleep – that consequently reduce the burden on caregivers and help to improve their quality of life. 
At Strive, all of our Art Therapy teachers are trained in both art and psychological therapy and have earned Masters Degrees in a psychology, counseling, art, art education, or a related field. Every teacher boasts at least five years of experience developing, implementing, and managing art instruction in a skilled nursing facility and/or acute care facility. Master-level clinicians, they’ve also completed a significant number of hours in studio art, and show proficiency in drawing, painting, and sculpture. 

Strive’s certified art therapists work with people of all ages in individual, small group, or large group settings. Our programs are targeted primarily toward senior living centers, nursing homes, and retirement communities, as well as government assisted living centers. Art Therapy can also be tailored to community outreach programs, medical institutions, rehabilitation centers, and even for corporations looking for team building or stress management activities. 

When you work with Strive, your assigned project manager will help you create an onsite Art Therapy program, choosing from group and individual classes. Small group sessions are designed for 5-8 participants, and large group sessions can accommodate 15-20 participants. Strive’s Art Therapy classes focus solely on painting, and instructors adjust individual classes to accommodate the skills and abilities of each participant – so every attendee feels included and accepted.  

One of the benefits of choosing Art Therapy classes through Strive is our nationwide presence. Whether you need classes for a single senior living center or you have retirement-communities located across the country and want classes in each one, we can organize and orchestrate a comprehensive Art Therapy program to accommodate your needs. We’ll find the right instructors, organize the necessary equipment and supplies, and coordinate every aspect – from marketing materials and class enrollment to administration and billing. You’ll get a single invoice that includes all program components, and you’ll only deal with one point of contact.

Contact us to learn about our entire catalog of workplace wellness programming. 
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