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The power of healing art

Healing art is a term applied to any form of art used in healing and is a relatively new concept in Western society. Only in the last 20 years have doctors, therapists, and other types of physicians begun to recognize and study the therapeutic effects of creativity and artistic creation on people’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

According to Cathy Malchiodi, in her book “The Art Therapy Source-book”, art therapy is “…based on the idea that the creative process of making art heals and improves life, and that it is a powerful form of communication. It uses the creative process… to promote growth, self-expression, emotional repair, conflict resolution, and transformation.”

Art healing is a practical self-help approach to overcoming obstacles in life. It is not enough to read articles or books on healing art, you must participate in the creative process for it to be beneficial.

And while artists in general tend to focus on the visual aspects of artworks, art curation focuses on feelings and thoughts.

According to Malchiodi, artistic healing is beneficial in several ways:

o Dealing with traumatic emotions visually can feel safer than dealing with words.

o It allows us to express things that we cannot express with words.

o It is useful to release emotions.

o It is a powerful therapeutic process that has meaning and comes directly from our own feelings and imagination.

o It allows us to know ourselves.

o It is available to everyone.

o Improves our lives and reduces stress.

Anyone can use art, from crayons and construction paper to acrylics and oils, to overcome pain and stress. Many cultures have used art healing for centuries (although it has not been called art healing) to keep individuals and communities centered and in touch with themselves.

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