Types of Creative Therapy

This image is from https://balance.media/creative-therapy/

This image is from https://balance.media/creative-therapy/

Noemi David, Staff Editor

There are many popular and well-known types of therapy, including child therapy, physical therapy, and countless more. However, many are unaware of the more visionary sides of therapy. These innovative types of treatment are known as creative therapy.

Creative therapy is healing that uses different art forms- from dance, to music, to illustrating- to help patients with certain conditions. This type of treatment can aid people experiencing mental, physical, and emotional issues. What can drawing a simple picture do to benefit one’s mental state? Well, according to “Creative Therapy: Types, Benefits, and More,” an article from medicalnewstoday.com, the writer states several benefits to creative therapy. Some of these benefits include: improvement of cognitive and sensorimotor motions, improvement of self esteem and self awareness, enhancement of social skills, and many more.

Okay, that’s great, but there’s no proof that it actually works, right? Wrong. In the same article, the author mentions a case study from 2018 where researchers looked into studies about creative therapy- specifically how it helped people experiencing stress. They found that about 81% of the studies revealed that taking part in creative therapy significantly reduces a person’s stress. Not only that, but according to an article from pnas.org titled, “Science and Culture: Searching for the science behind art therapy,” “A 2014 review of 16 case studies and small experiments exploring art therapy as a treatment for dementias found evidence suggesting that art therapy may ease neuropsychiatric symptoms, raise self-esteem, and improve social behavior.” 

Now that there’s proof that creative therapy is effective, students should be familiar with the types of creative therapy there are. Although there are many forms, the following are some common techniques of this type of therapy:

  • Dance therapy: the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance to support intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body.
  • Plant therapy: a technique that relies on plants and gardening to help people overcome health issues such as high blood pressure and memory disorders. It can also greatly help those battling depression, anxiety, addiction, and for survivors of abuse. 
  • Art therapy: any use of art for a therapeutic purpose, including relief from anxiety and stress.
  • Music therapy: the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program

Of course, there are many more forms of creative therapy- or just therapy in general. District social worker and foster liaison, Ira Rounsaville, agrees that creative therapy “is not what you think of when you think of therapy. Just like people express their beliefs, values, and perspectives differently, people also express and heal differently. Creative therapy allows them to effectively do that.” When asked what he favored about creative therapy, Rounsaville explained that it aids individuals in the most effective, helpful way for them. “If you don’t want to talk you don’t have to talk. If you want to express yourself or heal in a way that works for you then you should be allowed to do so. The first responsibility of a therapist is to meet the client where they are. Creative therapy allows for this and it doesn’t limit the therapist for supporting a client and a client is not limited on how they’re supported.” Rounsaville summarized that, “it affords us the opportunity to meet people where they are based on who they are and what they need.

Creative therapy is more than just about drawing to ease one’s nerves. There are many forms of this kind of therapy to help each specific individual. Next time students feel stressed or depressed, they can turn to different forms of creative therapy, like music or art therapy, to aid their mental health.