For people living with mental illnesses, healing and coping can come in many forms. Many patients may benefit from a combination of therapies, as mental illness is not one dimensional. Art therapy can be an effective treatment for adult patients, as it involves emotional, mental, and physical healing. If you are working in a care facility or as a personal caregiver for someone with a mental illness, consider recommending one of these therapies.
- Collaging: With scissors and glue, patients can piece together emotions that otherwise might not make sense. This can be especially effective when traditional psychiatric care is feeling monotonous. Be sure to talk through the collage with the patient, encouraging them to express what the pieces mean.
- Music Therapy: Music is not only an incredibly healing form of expression, but it also taps into unique parts of the brain. Merging logic and creativity, patients can find comfort and purpose through following notes or composing their own tunes. Music therapy is also shareable, allowing your patient to show their creation to their family and friends if they choose.
- Sculpture: Forming clay is a creative way to engage the body and mind. It also encourages focus and abstract thinking. For older patients, sculpting can improve motor skills and hand strength while providing the healing and soothing qualities of art.
- Photography: Encourage your patient or loved one to form a photo diary, recording aspects of their everyday life. This visual representation of the best parts of their reality can have immediate and long-term healing effects. Photography is also a great option for anyone who is not interested in mediums like painting or drawing.
- Illustration: From simple drawings to large-scale paintings, forming pictures can be an extremely creative and expressive experience. Allow your patient or family member to choose their preferred medium and materials. If they seem stuck, consider giving them a prompt to guide their project.
As the cases of diagnosed mental illness increases, these therapies will become even more necessary. The number of people diagnosed with depression, for example, increases by 20% every year, widening the pool of patients who could benefit from art therapy. Whether during a hospital stay or at home, consider whether one of your patients or the individual under your care would find value in art therapy.