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There is no doubt that art has played a central role in medicine in terms of art therapy. The two fields have established an integral intersection, which benefits the patients in many ways towards the speedy treatment of terminal illnesses. Art therapy describes a profession of human service, which exploits images and media for the sake of a curative creative process (Navarra, 2004). Besides, art therapy involves the responses of the patients to the products that are created to regulate an individual’s development of thoughts, conflicts and concerns, interests, personality, and abilities. The term art therapy is also used in psychology to describe the employment of artistic methods to enhance mental health and treat mental disorders.
The practice of art therapy is based on psychological theories, as well as knowledge of the development of human beings, which are implemented in different models of treatment and assessment (Malchiodi, 2008). Such models include educational models, cognitive models, transpersonal models, and psychodynamic models, among other therapeutic ways of resolving emotional conflicts, managing behaviors, reducing anxiety, developing social skills, elevating self-esteem, aiding reality orientation, and fostering self-awareness (Warren, 2006). Art therapy, in the medical context, provides a forum that is structured for families and patients to go through complicated life situations.
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Art therapy facilitates the open expression of emotions and other issues, which surround medical crisis and hospitalization (Malchiodi, 2008). Painting and images form the basis of the guided creative efforts of art therapy, which allow clients to overcome many aspects of the disease. Apparently, the manipulation of art mediums facilitates patients to make sense of hospitalization and alleviate stress and depression (Johnson, 2008). Children benefit a lot from art therapy, although the therapy is not limited to pediatric cases. Therefore, the intersection of art therapy and modern medical treatment forms part of a treatment plan (overall), which provides patients with viable avenues for true healing (Ornstein, 2006).
Although art has found lots of applications in modern medical health care, it is intriguing to examine the effectiveness of the tool of art in the treatment of mental health. Art plays a central role in psychotherapy (Malchiodi, 2008). As an expressive medium, art can be employed to help patients communicate, explore the diverse aspects of their behaviors, as well as overcome stress.
Even though art has been employed by individuals to communicate and express emotions for a long period, art therapy was not formalized until the mid-twentieth century. Physicians and psychiatrists observed that mental patients expressed their feelings and emotions with the help of uncanny artworks, particularly drawings and paintings. The observation motivated the doctors to consider utilizing art as a treatment strategy (Johnson, 2008). From that time, art has gained significance in the therapeutic field, and, nowadays, it is employed in various treatment techniques, as well as assessment techniques.
A close look at situations when art therapy is used reveals that it is applied for the treatment of diverse psychological distresses and mental disorders (Navarra, 2004). Art psychotherapy collaborates well with other psychotherapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or group therapy. Art therapy revealed its importance in various situations. The most common cases involved kids with learning disabilities, individuals with brain injuries, and people with stress experiences (Ornstein, 2006). Furthermore, art therapy can be employed on kids with behavioral problems in society, as well as adults or children with extreme experiences of traumatic events (Malchiodi, 2008).
There are various ideas that art therapy can utilize to ensure that patients get maximum benefits from the intervention (Navarra, 2004). For instance, the approach can employ such methods as sculpture, drawing, and painting on both the elderly and young. Creative expression is specifically beneficial to clients with a history of physical violence, trauma, depression, anxiety, and domestic abuse, among other psychological issues (Malchiodi, 2008). Furthermore, art therapy can be employed in diverse backgrounds as community organizations, schools, and hospitals where patients can be placed under treatment plans for maximum benefit.
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Sessions of art therapy differ from usual classes of art. The difference is brought about by the fact that art therapy emphasizes sessions of innermost art therapy to uncover the innermost experiences, perceptions, and feelings (Ornstein, 2006). During the art therapy sessions, the client is encouraged to develop and express images, which come not from the outside world, but from the mind (Navarra, 2004). The images in the inner world of the patient form the basis of art therapy intervention as the patients relieve the entire memories trapped in the subconscious and unconscious mind. Even though art therapy is sufficient for medical cases on its own, the approach works best when it is combined with other treatment strategies and techniques.
Consistent art therapies work in an extremely effective way in bringing normalcy, as well as sound mental and emotional health back to clients. However, art therapy should be initiated, controlled, and handled by a trained therapist to avoid cases of relapses due to violation of professional codes of ethics. During the entire therapeutic intervention, the rights of the clients should be upheld and given priority. The therapist should discuss the process of intervention with the patients before and during the entire course of intervention to facilitate clients in making informed choices. It is very unethical for a therapist to utilize their intellectual authority to manipulate the client or meddle with the personal life and beliefs of the patient. Hence, this moral aspect should be taken into consideration.