Are you looking for the perfect outlet which will allow you to improve your physical, mental and emotional well being? A lot of people find it hard to express their feelings and they have been wondering about how they can properly go about it. You might have heard plenty of great things about art therapy and how it is able to help people truly find the means to express themselves and be at peace. If you are considering art therapy for yourself as well, you should know that you stand to gain plenty of benefits from it.
Of course if you want to know more about art therapy before you set out to find some that you can use for yourself, we have all the information you need right here. We are going to tell you all that you need to know about art therapy, how it works and why it works.
Guess what? Once you understand how it will help you out, you won’t have to go anywhere else to find art therapy courses. This article also contains the list of the best art therapy courses online right now. This is your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the best online art therapy courses and where you can find them.
Let’s get started.
What is Art Therapy?
Also known as expressive therapy, Art therapy uses art as a means of communication. It lets people explore their emotions and thoughts while expressing them through a visual medium. It is a type of therapeutic technique which is rooted in the idea that creative expression can actually garner the process of healing and mental well-being. The best thing about it is that you do not need to be even slightly artistic or creatively talented in order to use art therapy.
A lot of people find it surprising that art can be an effective tool in mental health treatment as well. After all, what could art have even remotely to do with psychotherapy? Well, as a medium to express yourself, art can help people communicate their feelings, it can help them overcome the stress that they are going through and it opens doorways for people to explore the different aspects of their personalities.
Psychologists can also use artistic methods in order to treat psychological disorders and enhance the mental health of their clients.
You see, art therapy is not just art for art’s sake. It goes above and beyond those boundaries. Art therapy combines the techniques of psychotherapy with the creative process of art to improve mental well-being.
The American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as “Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.”
How is Art Therapy Done?
The process of art therapy involves the use of multiple artistic techniques which include the likes of drawing, painting, sculpture, collage among many more. People who have a difficult time expressing themselves in words can utilize the visual medium to talk for them. This does not mean that they have to create beautiful landscapes or portraits. It can be anything and everything that they want to make. There is no concept of skill dictating whether or not the art therapy process works or not. It is all catharsis.
Of course, it begs to ask the question: how does art therapy and any regular art class differ from each other?
Cathy Maldiochi wrote an excellent book on art therapy called The Art Therapy Sourcebook. In the book, she talks about art therapy sessions and how they are different from the regular art classes.
She says that most of the art therapy sessions focus on an individual’s internal experience. It encourages the person to explore the inner landscape – the feelings, imagination and perceptions – everything. While there is some level of learning skills and art techniques involved with the process of art therapy, that is only a secondary concern. The main premise for the process of art therapy is that it revolves around the development and expression of images which come from within the person rather than the output of representing what the person sees around them in the outside world.
While some regular art classes will require you to draw from your imagination as well, art therapy differs in the fact that the visualization of your internal feelings, thoughts, ideas and feelings are the primary concern for the whole experience.
Why Art Therapy Works?
Now the last thing we need to address before we move on to the list of the best art therapy courses online is why art therapy even works. It is important to know this because art therapy presents an unconventional approach to therapy. Since there is more of an expert opinion on the matter rather than proper substantiation that art therapy can make a positive difference, researchers set out in 2015 to properly conduct a study and identify the possible effects of art therapy on people with personality disorders.
We’re going to spare you with the technical details of their study and tell you the main takeaways from it but you can feel free to check it out here. Suzanne Haeyen, Susan van Hooten and Giel Hutschemaekers went through a lengthy Grounded Theory Approach to get the results. Theese were the primary concepts which they came across.
- Perception and Self Perception: Subjects of the study reported that the art therapy helped them focus on staying in the moment, identify proper emotional responses. They were also able to experience the intricate connections between emotional and body awareness. The people initially did not feel to o good about this experience. The experience did help them reach the first step of recognizing and validating certain emotions which served as a good departure point for further therapy.
- Impulse and Emotional Regulation: The individuals managed to learn how to regulate their emotions through art therapy. This meant that they were able to experience more freedom when it comes to the expression of their emotions. The experiential space they could explore through art therapy allowed them to experience with new responses to the more difficult feelings they felt. It also resulted in more confidence in themselves.
- Personal Integration: The individuals interviewed felt that through expressing their experiences in art, their self image and identity also strengthened. They began to feel more positive about themselves. This was most importantly because art therapy made their emotions visible and allowed them to further dissect their thoughts and emotions within the course of the therapy. Another major thing was that they felt that they could put together conflicting emotions and express them in the same place through the artistic medium – something words cannot always accomplish.
- Change in Behavior: Very briefly put, the behavioral changes includes a change that individuals’ behavior towards themselves and others. A lot of the people in this study reported that they learned how to change their emotional responses through the process of artistic expression.
Of course, this is very difficult to say exactly how this aspect of art therapy works. The conjecture is that it has something to do with the self-directed nature of artistic expression. It might provide people alternative responses to their emotions to the ones they would usually resort to.
Who Can Benefit From Art Therapy?
Of course, art therapy is not just for people suffering from serious mental disorders. This is a great tool for a number of people of all ages because it is so versatile. Art therapy can actually be pretty helpful for people who have already tried the traditional verbal therapy and it has not been able to help them out as much as they needed. It offers them something completely new to try out. It can even help you open up about emotions which you did not want to or simply could not address through the traditional therapy. It will bring them in front of you and make you notice them so you can work on them.
Here are some of the groups of people that can benefit from art therapy other than people with mental disorders:
- Dementia patients: Art therapy makes you use the creative side of the brain. For people with dementia, this can help to reduce stress levels and restore a sense of personal identity – something dementia patients struggle with.
- People who find it difficult to express their feelings: People who are not very good at expressing their emotions verbally will find that art therapy gives them the opportunity to communicate without using too many words.
- People with chronic illnesses or terminal diseases: Art therapy allows people to express their feelings and regain their sense of self control and freedom which can feel like it is slipping away due to disease.
- People on the autistic spectrum: Creative exercises in art therapy can allow autistic people to calm down and also help to improve their communication skills.
- Children with emotional, behavioral or developmental issues: Children that have a hard time regulating their emotional responses can find a very good alternative way to express their emotions through the artistic medium.
- Patients of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Anybody suffering from PTSD can benefit from art therapy. It can serve as a way to naturally and effectively bring relief and stability to a lot of people.
- People with panic and anxiety disorders: There are several options to help people with panic and anxiety disorders. Art therapy also offers a form of therapeutic healing for them to help them calm down and express their concerns so that they can deal with them proficiently.
Best Art Therapy Courses Online
Finally, we come to the point where we will see some of the best art therapy courses online right now. This list consists of art therapy courses which you can use for self therapy and art therapy courses which you can learn from to treat others.
1. Art Therapy for Self Healing Part One
This is one of the best art therapy courses you can find online. Created by Libby Seery, this is the first part of a two part art therapy course for self healing. This course explores various sections on art therapy which include self exploration and healing painful emotions. There are also sections in the course aimed exclusively towards the pure enjoyment of the artistic expression. This course also contains a section on using artistic therapy for family bonding.
Things You Will Learn
Here is a look at some of the things you will learn through this art therapy course:
- Exploring parts of your personality which you did not even know existed before.
- The ability to create art without the aspect of other people’s opinions bothering you or hindering your creativity.
- You will learn to use art as a medium to truly express yourself.
- Enjoy using art as a proper family bonding experience
- Use art to unwind and relax
- Use art as a means to actively meditate
- Create art as a means of self discovery and self healing
- Build up your self esteem and increase the confidence you have in your own abilities across the board.
- Enjoy emotional and physical well being brought on by expressing yourself freely
- Learn various methods of creating art for the pure enjoyment of it.
- There are no prerequisites for this course except imagination and an open mind.
With over 32,000 students already enrolled, this is one of the most popular online art therapy courses you can find.
2. Art Therapy for Self Exploration Part Two
This is part two of the art therapy course created by Libby Seery. It consists of a lot of wonderful activities which adults of all ages can explore no matter how old they are or what profession they belong to. There is a lot more to do with coloring and drawing as a means of unwinding and reducing stress in your life. You will also be able to explore various forms of artistic expressions that will help increase your concentration levels.
Things You Will Learn
Here are some of the things you can expect to learn through this online art therapy course:
- Mixing different colors and create your own color wheel
- You will learn how to create art with stippling and pointillism techniques.
- You will learn how to create your own mindmap.
- Understand the psychology which works behind the different colors and what they mean
- Create a wonderful family tree
- Learn how to draw and even shade 3 dimensional objects
- You will learn how to produce a self portrait
- Get a proper introduction to hand lettering
- You will continue to learn how you can enjoy artistic expression without worrying about the criticism and judgment of others.
- You will learn the basics of how to use metaphors in the artwork you create
- You will get a beginner’s introduction for digital art
- You will get a better understanding of various materials and tools you can use to create art.
- You do not need to have any previous experience when you take on this course but it will only help if you already know something.
- You will need to get the basic art supplies like paints, pencils, color pencils, papers.
3. Therapeutic Art Life Coach Certification
Created by Joeel and Natalie Rivera along with Victoria Hawkins, the Therapeutic Art Life Coach Certification is an accredited program. People who take this course will receive an official life coach certification from the Transformation Academy.
This course will give you all the tools you need to help other people heal, reduce their stress and allow them to feel more joyful and satisfied with their lives. This course will go in-depth to teach you the psychology behind how and why art is such an amazing tool when it comes to emotional, mental and physical well being. You will learn all the exercises you can practice to heal yourself and to heal your clients.
Things You Will Learn
Here is a brief look at some of the things you can expect to learn through one of the best art therapy courses online right now:
- Understand the psychology behind how art therapy can be used to access the subconscious mind and change the limiting beliefs and patterns in your clients.
- Use techniques from art therapy to help your clients reduce the stresses and pain of their lives.
- It will teach you how to use art therapy techniques to help your clients increase the joy they feel in their lives, manage their emotions in a better manner and find better alternatives to express their emotions and feelings.
- You will learn art therapy techniques that you can use to help your clients increase their intuition, raise their levels of self awareness and improve self expression.
- You will also learn how to use step by step instructions for art therapy processes that include affirmation art, vision boards, dream boards, Mandalas and even guided meditation among many other things.
- There are no real prerequisites you need to have before you take on this course except for the fact that you need to be able to print the course material so you can use it effectively.
4. ArtWorks! Art Therapy Guide for Personal Development
Created by Pamela Malkoff Hayes from the LYFE Academy, this is a guide which you can use to harness your inner creativity, reduce anxiety and enhance your relationships. Pamela Malkoff designed this art therapy course for people who struggle to deal with sadness, disappointment and anxiety. It encompasses some simple, approachable and yet incredibly powerful art therapy techniques which you can use to channel you energy and reduce anxious and self distructive behavior.
Things You Will Learn
This is one of the best art therapy courses online because of its simplicity. Here are some of the things that you will learn through the duration of this course:
- You will learn how to use art to reduce stress and anxiety. It will create a sense of relaxation for you by helping you focus on the artistic techniques and get lost in the process.
- You will learn to tolerate your anger and sadness better by finding more proactive ways to channel your negative feelings.
- It will engage your brain in ways you might not have tried before and open a lot of doorways for inner exploration.
- You will learn techniques which will allow you to get in touch with your feelings and express them through art.
- You will also be able to enjoy learning alternative methods to solve the problems you face.
- You will learn how to challenge the negative thoughts and feelings you have so you can learn to let go of your fears that hold you back from the things you want to achieve in life.
- You do not need to have any prior experience of being involved with art therapy techniques to make this work for you.
- You do not need to be even remotely linked to the creative field.
- All you really need to do is take this course with an open mind and a willingness to try things which you have not done before.
- Of course, you will need some basic art supplies like pens, pencils, markers and crayons.
5. 30 Relaxing Art Therapy Exercises for Mental Well-Being
Created by an award winning artist Tatiana Ambrose, this art therapy course encompasses several exercises which you can use to help clear up your mind and relax. This course is a simple one which you can do at home with ease. The exercises allow you to go through and properly explore your internal emotions without the aspect of self criticism so you can see where they take you.
Things You Will Learn
This is one of the best art therapy courses online because it helps you learn art therapy techniques you can use to heal yourself and you can even use these techniques to help others around you that can benefit from it.
Here are some of the most important things that you will learn through the duration of this course:
- You will learn how to achieve a relaxed and more balanced state of mind.
- You will learn how to release the emotions you are hiding even from yourself.
- Reduce worry, sadness, depression, anxiety and loneliness.
- Control your emotions and impulses through these art therapy exercises.
- One of the most important takeaways from this art therapy course is that the exercises you will do are going to allow you to focus on the here and now.
- It will promote a healthy emotional state throughout the various exercises you will do in this course.
- There is even a bonus lecture in this course which will help you assess yourself and how efficiently you have been able to learn from the course.
One of the best things about these art therapy courses you can find online is that they are all incredibly accessible because of the platform that Udemy provides. You can assess the success of all these courses through the fact that thousands of people are already enrolled in each of them and those who have completed them leave their reviews about the courses on the platform for you to see yourself.
Choose any of these based on the requirements you have and hopefully, you will also be able to benefit from all the advantages that art therapy has to offer.