Number 55 in our countdown of '70 Ways Art Improves Our Health' highlights the practice of art therapy as a recognised psychological intervention…

There is no doubt that art and creativity can be powerful tools for boosting our health and wellbeing as we continue to explore in this series. But general arts in health practice and art therapy have important differences.

Art therapy is an established form of psychotherapy with its beginnings in the 1940s. (It has a rich and fascinating history in Britain, which we’ll discover later in our countdown.)

Art therapy is provided by a trained psychological therapist who has arts-based experience. Art therapists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council, which means that they are required to meet national standards for their training and professional skills.

Art therapy can support people facing a range of issues, such as emotional or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions, or physical illness. It offers a valuable alternative to talking therapies for people who may find it too difficult or painful to speak about their emotions or experiences. This is because art therapy uses art as the main form of expression and communication.

At Paintings in Hospitals, we don’t offer art therapy as an intervention because we are not psychological therapists. Our mission focuses on bringing art and creativity to existing health and social care services to supplement their them and improve mental and physical wellbeing for both service users and staff.

You can find out more about art therapy from our friends at the British Association of Art Therapists.

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