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Art Therapy

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
– Pablo Picasso

Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in making art is healing and life-enhancing. It combines traditional psychotherapeutic theories and techniques with an understanding of the psychological aspects of the creative process, especially the affective properties of the different art materials. Basically, art therapy uses the creative process for healing and growth. At Parkside, in art therapy we use the issues that come up during the creative process to help patients increase insight and judgment. We have found when patients participate in art, they often can cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, and build better relationships with family and friends. Patients also report enjoying the life-affirming pleasures of the creative experience. Parkside has three art therapists on staff. A Registered Art Therapist (ATR) has completed specific graduate-level education in art therapy and supervised post-graduate clinical experience specially preparing them for art therapy. Anyone can use art in therapy, and add a valuable and powerful dimension to the therapeutic process.

How about some art fun?

Think a minute about what you might like to create with the pipe cleaners……there are no limits: animals, a flower, a doll or even something abstract. What is therapeutic about pipe cleaner art? EVERYTHING! The creative process is calming and brings concentration and creativity into the process. Every creation is a self-expression. Sometimes, human figures are a kind of self-portrait. Other objects may relate to a memory or experience. Sometimes, the abstract work can be most revealing and will in every event facilitate some discussion.


Try to twist up an animal, or other figure to start:

Start simple, and fun. Use one or two colors and create something for the joy of creating and sharing.


Figures or dolls can tell a story:

These might take a little more work and creativity, but the end result can tell a story or facilitate discussion.


More complex objects:

More complex projects can help with more complex expression; such tasks can provide areas of focus, provide an avenue to address self-awareness, create opportunities for practice and learning and concentration. Here are a couple of great examples recently twisted up by friends of Parkside.