Many times when I am in a conversation with someone and they ask what I do, people try to relate what I am doing in my painting practice with something with which they are familiar. Usually people automatically relate it to paint nights, which is completely understandable. While there are some similarities, like providing supplies, so you just come and paint, there are some discrete differences as well, and I think to really understand the differences, it is helpful to start with understanding the answer to “What is Therapeutic Art?”.
If you google Therapeutic Art, you are likely to get the word and definition for Art Therapy. But given that Art Therapy is performed by Art Therapists who have both a background in therapy and art making, a Therapeutic Art Coach is one who uses therapeutic art as a modality in their coaching.
I like to use art creation and observation in my own life, it is how my painting practice evolved into what I do today, and why I coach others on how to incorporate it into their lives as well.
So what is Therapeutic Art? Like in english class when we are defining a new phrase, we break it down into its parts. In this case, Therapeutic + Art = Therapeutic Art.
According to the Oxford Languages, the relevant definitions of art are…
1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. works produced by human creative skill and imagination resulting in the production of paintings, drawings, or sculpture
2. the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, the definition of therapeutic is “having beneficial or curative effects”.
So if you combine the ideas of the two words, and my experience in using painting as a tool focusing on the process not an outcome based on the technical aspect of the painting…
Therapeutic Art, specific to painting, is creative activity resulting in the production of paintings that benefit the artist and/or the observer.
So whether you painting the painting, or you observe it afterwards on an easel or wall, you can experience therapeutic art.
Are you wondering how to incorporate therapeutic art into your life? I’ve opened up spots on my calendar for one-on-one Paint Clarity Sessions. If this sounds like something you want to explore, visit this page.
Peace & Creativity,