Painting as therapy

There are many alternative and complementary therapies to classical psychotherapies. Moreover, these therapies, such as therapeutic painting, help express oneself and improve the patient emotionally and cognitively.

Many free essay writing websites quote book by Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2014) “The Element” the following story is told in relation to painting: an elementary school teacher was giving drawing classes, and at the back of the classroom sat a little girl who did not usually pay attention, except in drawing classes. For twenty minutes, the girl drew, absorbed in her thoughts, and the teacher asked her what she was drawing. 

The girl replied, “I am drawing God.”

The teacher said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”

And the little girl replied, “They will know right away.”

This story shows us the importance of drawing and painting and how they can be used as a therapy to connect us with the world.

The psychology of art and painting

The psychology of art is a branch of psychology dedicated to the study of the phenomena of artistic creation and appreciation from a psychological perspective. Many aspects link the psychology of art to psychology in general, such as perception, emotion, memory, thought, and language.

Many psychotherapists have demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of art in assisting patients who come to the consultation with psychological concerns, because art in all of its forms (painting, dancing, music, literature, theater, and so on) liberates the person’s subjectivity. Thus, it can be used for conflict resolution, communication problems, expression difficulties, and other psychological aspects.

The benefits of painting therapy

Painting on canvas, paper, or any other medium that allows us to express ourselves may be a means to convey our feelings and thoughts. Especially for people who need to communicate with them and cannot do so by other means. In addition, it is a type of alternative and natural therapy that can have many benefits, such as the following:

 1. Improved communication

 First of all, people who start with paint therapy are often shy and withdrawn. In addition, they often have difficulty communicating with others. They may, nevertheless, communicate their sentiments and emotions via art.

 2. Increased self-esteem

 When painting therapy takes place in a non-competitive, relaxed, and pleasant environment, a patient can achieve great personal achievements. In this way, under the supervision of the psychotherapist, it will help him to express himself and sublimate his problems. This aspect can be important for people with codependency problems and traumas who need to strengthen their autonomy and learn to love and value themselves.

 3. Motor skills

Just as it happens when we play a musical instrument, with painting, when handling a brush or a pencil, we learn to regulate hand movements and develop brain connections related to that skill. In addition, in both children and adults, painting helps to improve fine motor skills.

 4. The brain in motion

 Drawing and painting stimulate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The left involves the logical and rational side, while the right relates to our creativity and emotions. Therefore, it is about giving wings to our imagination and letting it fly. It also serves as the perfect medium to express emotions.

 5. Concentration

Dedication to painting -or any other type of artistic creation- requires concentration. Painting is meticulous work that allows us to forget about our surroundings and to flow. That is, to make time pass without our noticing it.

Alpha is a state of advanced focus that has been the subject of various research. It is a state during which one part of the brain is conscious, and the other part brings up the unconscious. The same state is achieved through prayer, meditation, or music.

 6. Emotional intelligence and painting

Emotions are an essential component of our creativity. We may express our feelings via painting and experience pleasure, love, empathy, and tranquility. The relaxation obtained through painting helps to achieve harmony between the heart and the mind.

In conclusion, painting therapy is not only useful for expressing our emotions, feelings, thoughts, and traumas. In addition, it favors psychomotor skills, thinking, and management of cognitive processes. Therefore, it is an activity to consider those patients with expression and communication difficulties.

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