Balance is one of the main keys to a health. Creativity and self expression can be healing. Art therapy is an active process that can allow for integrating the four elements of well being. The four aspects of health are mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. When one of these aspects is not taken care of, or is stressed, our well being can be compromised. Each of these four components impacts the other dynamically. As human beings, we need to express our uniqueness, our feelings and our sense of meaning.
Mental health includes our thoughts, learning, and how we perceive ourselves and others; how we communicate, play and create is also key to our health. Our health is also impacted by how we express ourselves and create. It is important to have an outlet for self expression.
Emotional health relates to mood and feelings. While moods are partly influenced by physiological factors, mood is also impacted by our mental outlook and how we manage feelings. Utilizing positive outlets for expressing feelings and ways to relax and recharge is conducive to emotional balance. Art therapy is a creative, expressive way to express and explore feelings and thoughts.
Physical health involves the body, as well as the environment, everything in and around the body. What we take in to our bodies, including food, water, medication, drugs or alcohol all effect our body chemistry and balance. The way we move and engage our senses are elements of our physical well being. What we create in our environment and how we integrate our mind, body and movement to make something is an empowering action.
Spiritual health involves a sense of a higher meaning and purpose. Spiritual wellness includes our values, beliefs and ways of living with the nonmaterial world and mysteries of life. Having a way to integrate our values and beliefs with our lifestyle enhances spiritual integrity and purpose. Having a way to delve in to self expression and exploration can deepen our sense of meaning. The process of art therapy is as important as the product; it is not just about creating something, it is also about the experience of making it and can be a way of sharing what gives us a sense of purpose.
Art therapy involves making art and talking about the process and the creation. It involves the therapist as a facilitator, witness and support in the art process. The emphasis is on the person and the process. The creative process can give rise to a dynamic and integrative process of expression and healing.