How Does Art Promote Mental Health?

Among the many activities on our boarding school campus, the arts are perhaps the favorites of our students. We offer several different types of classes, including drawing, painting, digital arts and ceramics. These courses, while enjoyable, are more than just fun. In fact, they can be extremely therapeutic for your daughter.

Art and Mental Health

Art therapy has been used for decades, but convincing others that it works has often depended on expert opinion instead of scientific evidence. In 2015, this changed, according to Psychology Today. Three researchers, Hutchemaekers, van Hooren and Haeyan decided to take an entirely scientific approach to art therapy and figure out the possible effects of this type of therapy and individuals with personality disorders. In their study, they used anecdotal observations already made by professional practitioners in the field as well as patient testimonies. Then, using axial and open coding and in-depth interviews they created a qualitative study that helps identify five benefits of art on mental health.

  • – Art Helps With Perception- Much of the data gathered indicated that art helps individuals focus on the present, understand the connection between their body and emotions and identify emotional responses.
  • – Improved Self-Image- Because art allows individuals to express themselves honestly and openly, many of the individuals studied in this research found that it helped strengthen and improve their self-image and identity. At the same time, it helped them investigate their thoughts and feelings more easily.
  • – Emotional Experimentation- Many individuals felt that by using art to express themselves, they were able to experiment with new and difficult emotions they might not be able to express through words alone. This helped increase self-efficacy and self-confidence.
  • – Behavioral Changes- The study concluded that art therapy assisted in changes of behavior toward oneself and toward others.
  • – Improved Insight- Many of the reviews and interviews providing data for the study indicated that art helped individuals express themselves and their emotions more easily so they could turn non-verbal experiences into verbal ones.

In addition to this, many believe that the creative process is healing in other ways. Art helps lower stress and anxiety, helps individuals cope with grief, assists with relaxation and helps connect with others on a deeper level.

Art at Greenbrier

At Greenbrier’s boarding school for girls, we want your daughter to benefit greatly from her creativity. Our classes are not only designed to be academic and recreational, but also therapeutic. Students often find that they can more easily express their internal work externally in a non-verbal form, like painting, drawing or ceramics. In addition to this, your daughter’s therapist will often look at her art, in the presence of your daughter, and discuss the work together. The therapist may offer support or act as a resource your daughter can use to better understand the emotions and feelings behind her art and what they might mean to her present and future relational experiences.

Does your daughter enjoy art? The art classes at our boarding school are not only enjoyable, but can be beneficial to her mental health.

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