While art has been used as a method of healing and communication for thousands of years, it isn’t until the mid-20th century that doctors began to recognize it as a useful tool for psychotherapy. Individuals who suffer from a mental illness often express themselves through art. Vincent Van Gogh for example suffered from bipolar disorder, manic depression, and epilepsy. Aside from his beautiful art and technique, Van Gogh is well known for the artist who cut off his ear.
Today, art is used to help patients communicate with their doctor, overcome stress, and delve into the aspects of their own personality. Psychologists who practice art therapy understand that art is a creative form of self-expression that enables people to communicate when it’s difficult to use words.
Whether you are creating art or simply observing it, art can help resolve conflict, develop interpersonal skills, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and provide insight.
So go paint, sculpt, draw, or head to an art museum.