Saturday, April 27, 2019

X- Expressing Mental Health #AtoZ #MentalHealthAwareness

Artwork and psychiatric disorders are often linked. Accomplished artists with psychiatric disorders express themselves and their emotional distress through their works, and art therapists use the visual arts to help clients understand their problems and cope with them.

Several notable artists with psychiatric disorders have expressed their thoughts and moods in their artwork. Mark Rothko, Edvard Munch, and Bernard Buffet stated that their artwork reflected their depressed mood. Art historians and writers have interpreted the paintings of some artists (including Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock) as showing evidence of a psychiatric disorder.

Psychotherapy clients are often at a loss to describe how they feel. The discipline of art therapy is devoted to helping individuals express themselves without the need for language or logic; their lack of artistic skill or training is no barrier to self-expression.

Artists, psychologists, and sociologists have weighed in on this topic for more than 200 years, without a resolution. Benjamin Rush, the “Father of American Psychiatry”, thought a connection between mental illness and artistic creativity was likely. The Italian criminologist and psychiatrist Cesare Lombroso,theorized that artistic genius was also a form of mental illness.

Art Therapy

The first documentation of art as therapy was in the mid-19th century, in Scotland when asylum inmates were given art materials and encouraged to draw and paint. Since then, art therapy has evolved into a professional discipline with study at the Masters level leading to certification.

Art therapy is used with hospitalized patients with severe and persistent mental illness, inpatients with depression and anxiety disorders, and outpatients with any emotional disorder. Some addiction recovery programs use art therapy, as do programs for autistic children, incarcerated prisoners, and multi-lingual programs where verbal exchange between clients is limited.

Anyone who feels overwhelmed or pressured by the hectic world we live in should try art therapy. Creating art will give you a chance to slow down and explore any issues you may be having. 

Art therapy improves the mental health of people who are dealing with addictions, anxiety, attention disorders, grief and loss, dementia, depression, eating disorders, physical illness, PTSD, trauma, relationship issues and much more.

Since the focus is on the process and not the final product, art therapy is not about becoming a great artist but about finding meaning and connection in your life. All you need for it is a willingness to experiment.

Mental Health Benefits of Art Therapy Activities
Art therapy can be used as a complement to traditional mental health treatment.  The aims are:
  • ·         Self-discovery
  • ·         Self-esteem
  • ·         Emotional release
  • ·         Stress relief

DISCLAIMER: All the information being provided her has been sourced from the internet and books and some also via personal experiences. It has no medical authentication per se so suggestions if followed must be done in consultation with a trained mental health professional.


This post is a part of April Blogging from A To Z Challenge
You can find all my posts here.


  1. Mental health is such a imp issue these days. I am glad you are spreading awareness about it. keep going.
    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

  2. Thanks Manas, this topic is indeed close to my heart

  3. I've attended an art therapy as well as a dance therapy workshop in the past to cover for my blog. They were both enlightening experiences.
    Noor Anand Chawla

  4. Art therapy quiet colourful &interesting

  5. Thanks Noor for sharing your experience

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