What is art therapy and how does it help to experience positive emotions

Art has so many applications that it is difficult to list them. Beyond creation as a form of expression, art can be a vehicle for denunciation, fun or even calm. One of its most interesting applications is at the health level: the World Health Organization (WHO) itself has published a report in which, after analyzing 900 scientific publications, it comes to the conclusion that artistic expression, whatever it may be This can improve our physical and mental health .

But this is not something new. The health application of art has been around for a long time, through music therapy and art therapy . This last methodology, art therapy, is nothing more than “therapeutic accompaniment, individually or in a group, using art as a tool and vehicle of expression under the supervision of a professional”, as explained by art therapist Itahisa Mateo.

The ‘(H) Art Foundation’ was also born from this modality, whose objective is to use art to help sick people , family members and health personnel to feel more comfortable and accompanied in these places. The project includes the setting up of exhibitions and artistic workshops in hospitals, health centers and residences. Tamara Kreisler and Silvia Centeno, founders of the project, explain that “art is a way of experiencing positive emotions.” Both refer to the aforementioned WHO report, which confirms that being exposed to artistic activities:

– Helps to lower tension, stress and depression for both patients and healthcare personnel.

– Makes patient stays shorter.

– Reduces the need to use pain relievers.

– Increase the morale of the health personnel.

– Improves communication between patients and healthcare personnel.

Why art therapy helps us

The art therapist Itahisa Mateo points out that, when we carry out an art therapy process, we improve our relationship with our interior , our internal dialogue, therefore it also improves our relationship with the world and with our environment. «You don’t need any kind of artistic experience. What is important in art therapy is the process, the experience lived while doing the exercise and not the result, “he adds.

Likewise, art therapy has a direct impact on our well-being. “When we carry out an art therapy process we are ordering, releasing and expressing emotions , thoughts and behaviors that hinder our well-being”, says the professional, who adds that, with art therapy “we help to find a balance between our thinking, our feeling and our will , recovering our natural health and wellness system ».

Art in hospitals

About the ‘(H) Art’ project, Tamara Kreisler comments that it is also a way of democratizing art, since the objective is to bring art to the greatest number of people and “hospitals are one of the busiest places that exist.” “In some way, we want to remove art from its traditional spaces, such as museums, art galleries or cultural centers, so that people who normally do not usually approach them can enjoy it,” he points out.

On the other hand, the project also has the objective of helping and giving a gift to the toilets. “We consider that we owe a debt of gratitude to our health personnel who have been in the forefront of this pandemic, taking care of all of us, sometimes in impossible conditions,” says Silvia Centeno, who argues that making the environment more beautiful, warm and Artistic directly influences the mood. «In addition, our workshops are designed so that health workers can also participate. We are convinced that taking care of those who take care of us is the least that as a society we can do ”, she concludes.


by Abdullah Sam
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