Art Therapy

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Modern art therapy is closely connected with the recognition of the value of human resources as the most important condition of a steadily developing society. A concern about the human resources is inseparable from the improvement of medical and social assistance, including the introduction of effective methods of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of mental and physical illnesses. At the same time, maintaining health and improving the quality of life of people are determined not only by medical and social assistance but also people’s personal responsibility and activity as well as desire and ability to care for their health and well-being by the means of using internal and external resources. Today, art therapy reflects the arts of social change, as it penetrates a wide range of healthcare fields, social work, and education.

Areas of Art Therapy

From the institutional environment, art therapy often moves to a wider area associated with day-to-day activities and relations among people and communities. The evidence shows that it is focused not only on treating diseases or solving people’s problems but also supporting their internal resilience, including the increased use of a variety of available external resources related to nature, culture, communication, and creativity (Levine & Levine, 1999). Some of the most important groups on which modern clinical and social art therapy is based are people with mental and physical health problems, veterans of wars, elderly people with characteristic psychosocial problems and diseases, children, adolescents, youth, as well as adults who are in abnormal psychosocial conditions.

The development of art therapy is characterized by a significant variety of its forms and methods that are targeting different clinical and sociodemographic groups in relation to cultural and institutional conditions. The experts note that modern art therapy uses a rich experience of cultural heritage with its characteristic forms of artistic expression and healing practices related to creativity and communication (Edwards, 2014). Moreover, it also relies on the achievements of medicine, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychology, and the actual art therapy made on the previous stages of its historical development. At the same time, modern art therapy has several features of the theory, methodology, tools, and forms of work that distinguish it from the medical practice of the previous centuries and decades (McNiff, 2009). In recent years, the development of new models of clinical and social art therapy complement the psychodynamic and artistic-educational model characterized by an increasingly close relationship with clinical medicine, on the one hand, and the increased attention to social and cultural factors, on the other (McNiff, 2009). Moreover, there are attempts to combine these two vectors of development of modern art therapy, an example of which is the domestic model of clinical systemic art therapy. Therefore, the importance of clinical and social art therapy is increasing.

Clinical Art Therapy

Clinical art therapy focuses on an active use of art in healthcare institutions. As a rule, it is based on the bio psychosocial paradigm of development and treatment of mental and physical diseases (Levine & Levine, 1999). Along with psychiatry, clinical art therapy is represented in such areas of medicine as somatic medicine, especially in prevention and treatment of acute and chronic diseases of internal organs, palliative care, preventive medicine, geriatrics, and pediatrics (Edwards, 2014). Art therapy allows individuals to use their creativity as an additional factor in the prevention and care of mental and somatic diseases as well as rehabilitation of persons with disabilities of mental and physical health. The study asserts that owing to the development of the clinical direction in art therapy and its relationship with medical practice, scientific medicine is strengthening, which can be recognized as a significant factor in further improving the art-therapeutic services (McNiff, 2009). Therefore, art therapy successfully integrates with clinical conditions.

The Components of Art Therapy

Art therapy acts as a complex kind of therapeutic and rehabilitative processes, including not only artistic creativity but also interpersonal interaction, discussion of the products of the creativity of patients in the context of their problems and system of relations, as well as the use of various psychotherapeutic techniques implemented by the means of a personal approach. It is based on the concept of personality through the system of human relations with the environment, which is associated with the recognition of artistic creativity as a special kind of personal activity. Commonly, it is used in a wide range of life situations, including stress and illness. At the same time, creative activity is understood by many authors as a kind of personal process that is affecting emotional, cognitive, behavioral, physical, and spiritual spheres as well as fulfilling the function of preserving and transforming identity into a dynamic system of regulation of self-relationship and relations with the outside world (Edwards, 2014). An important part of art therapy is the dynamic concept of treatment, which presupposes the rationale for general and specific factors of therapeutic and preventive effects.

Conclusion

Art therapy reflects the arts of social change, as it penetrates different fields of medicine, social work, and education. It often deals with day-to-day activities and relations among people and communities. It is oriented on both treating diseases or solving people’s problems and supporting their internal resilience based on internal resources. The development of art therapy takes place due to a significant variety of its forms and methods, thus targeting different clinical and social groups in relation to cultural and institutional conditions. The therapy also acts as a complex kind of therapeutic and rehabilitative processes, including interpersonal interaction, patient creativity, and various psychotherapeutically techniques. Thus, art therapy reflects a personal approach to treatment.