Developing Modality of the Art Therapy Schools

January 14, 2011

Once art therapy became part of the psychotherapeutic modality, another avenue opened up for healing–Art Therapy Schools. Visual expression prior to the 1940s was based on the artist’s ability to clearly express themselves, using techniques dating back to the Paleolithic era and the first cave art.

Two entirely separate things, art and healing, both complemented each other but were basically not connected as a distinctive professional tool, that is until the development of art therapy. Art Therapy Schools were then begun, as the interest in the field became popular with children with a developing ability to reach the darkest recesses of the human mind. Up until then, their trauma and crisis had been tackled by traditional talk therapies that had been used with anything short of success.

Art Therapy Schools are on the rise due to the combination of traditional psychotherapeutic theories and techniques that work in diverse populations, such as children, adolescents, and adults. Art therapy works because it is healing, because it works through traumatic issues–by using a person’s subconscious creativity in their drawings, paintings, photography, sculpture, and even their writing. Their underlying feelings combined with subconscious thoughts help the clients gain better insight about what has happened to them, assisted by professional art therapists and Art Therapy Schools.

Art Therapy Schools train individuals in the field of psychological assessments in order to administer and interpret them. Not a new thing, in 1906 a German psychiatrist by the name of Fritz Mohr created the world’s first drawing assessment for the purpose of psychological purposes. Right after that in 1926, a researcher by the name of Florence Goodenough created a way to measure the intelligence of children with the Draw-A-Man-Test, whereas the more details the child being tested could incorporate into the drawing–the smarter they were.

C.J. Jung once said, “The hands know how to solve a riddle with which the intellect struggles in vain.” With this in mind, the Art Therapy Schools are simply another piece of the puzzle when it comes to working with emotional conflicts on many levels of the mind. And when it comes to working with children or adolescents who are troubled and have many issues, art therapy helps to identify and reconcile such things. Visual art processes are used as the primary modality for treatments and assessments, whereas art education teaches the children or adolescents to produce and evaluate their own art work, not analyze what message it is subconsciously saying.

Schools and other institutions that work with troubled individuals share responsibilities, with the art therapist participating as a member of the treatment group. The goal of this group is to successfully assist in the development of a meaningful identity for the troubled individual.