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Art Therapy

Art therapy has been a member of the realm of psychotherapy since the 1940s. Margaret Naumburg, who was a pioneer in the world of Montessori education as she facilitated the creation and teaching at the Walden School in New York, founded this psychotherapeutic technique. She solidified this method’s importance in exploring the depths of one’s self in healing or life-enhancing self-expression.


Today, art therapy is upheld by the American Art Therapy Association, which represents more than 5,000 art therapists nationwide. These therapists are often trained in both studio art and psychological therapy, sometimes needing a portfolio of their own to be licensed. The art therapist at Choices is board-certified and registered with the Art Therapy Board of Credentialing.

Art therapy can be practiced in nearly any setting with clients of any age. This vein of psychotherapy is deeply rooted in the idea that the creative process is organically healing and can enhance one’s life. No previous art experience is necessary—you don’t have to be a modern-day Picasso, just bring your own talents (or lack thereof). The key isn’t he quality of the artwork, it’s the process of creating it.

Self-expression Through the Creative Process

Art therapy encompasses a broad variety of techniques that all dive further into one’s self and their healing or self-expression. The creative process, the art media and the end result are all used for art therapy. All portions of art therapy are used to help clients with how they function and to renew their sense of well-being. Art therapy in all its methods encourages further discovery of the self.


Therapists in this field must understand the psychological aspects of the creative approach and while they’ll be able to help clients through the creative process, benefits also derive from insights into a client’s creations. Sometimes the end result of art therapy can come from your subconscious or internalized thoughts, ideas or understandings.


The creative process digs deep into our minds. While art therapy can aid in self-discovery or -expression, it’s important to ask questions regarding the true roots of your artwork. You may be asked asked questions that guide you to the source of your self-expression. Through this therapy, not only could you discover the source of stress or conflict, but you could become more and more comfortable with the sheer act of self-expression.

What Kind of Art Can I Do and How Often?

Chalk, drawing, paint—artistic expression is limitless. Whatever you gravitate toward, our art therapist can help lead you through your expression. In Choices’ one-to-one sessions, clients can expect to see our therapist on a weekly basis at first, and then they can move to monthly sessions or an as-needed schedule.


Unlike other therapies, like intensive outpatient therapy, art therapy doesn’t require a set number of sessions at strict times to benefit from its results. Depending on your individual needs, which are discovered through our long client intake session where we get to know you, you may want to have one or more sessions every week. As you gain comfort in expressing yourself or relieve stress, you may not find it necessary to plan as many sessions. The frequency of art therapy sessions is up to you, the client, and your needs.

Who Can Benefit from Art Therapy?

People who can benefit from art therapy include virtually everybody—regardless of developmental level or age. Nearly anyone is capable of artistic creation and expression. An art therapy client at Choices Psychotherapy can range from child to senior, can be of any gender and can have any reason at all to come to art therapy. There is no one set reason to choose art therapy as it can help alleviate a vast reasons for stress, sadness or otherwise.


Art therapy is also a great alternative to strict talk therapy. Sometimes people can feel limited by language. Either speaking is uncomfortable or they simply don’t know how to adequately express themselves due to language barriers or developmental level. What art therapy allows is for clients to express themselves without having to rely on spoken words to convey emotions or foster growth. Simply using your hands to create is language enough to find yourself and express it.


Just as anyone can express themselves through artistic ventures, anyone can benefit from art therapy. Unlike some other methods of psychotherapy, art therapy isn’t solely for helping someone enduring trauma or mental health issues. Art therapy is one technique that can be used by those simply looking to expand on their self-expression—those who want to further know themselves. You may be living a perfectly happy and healthy life, but you could still benefit from the stress-reduction of this therapy.

How Can I Use This Tool?

You may be experiencing developmental, medical, educational, social or psychological impairment, all of which can be helped through art therapy. You don’t need to bring any previous artistic experience as this therapy isn’t meant to create beautiful works of art, but rather is intended to use your creative process and creations to simply better understand yourself.


Art therapy can be a tool great on its own or in combination with talking therapies. Art therapists are well-trained in guiding you through the process by discussing your creation from an outsider’s perspective or talking as if you were in your creation. You can talk about the work itself or even about the process and what came to mind during that time. No matter the approach, art therapy can bring you to a better understanding of yourself.


Choices Psychotherapy of Minneapolis has everything you need to get started on your path to a happier, healthier you. Our highly experienced art therapist is prepared to help you express yourself through the vast world of art. Come in or call today with any questions you may have.


Psychiatrists & Therapists specializing in Art Therapy: