Art Therapy Hastings NE
By Deirdre Shevlin BellIn
In 1888, painter Vincent Van Gogh, in a manic rage, tried to attack his friend with a razor blade. Later in the day, he severed a piece of his own ear. That landed him in a hospital, and then a mental institution. Shortly after his release, Van Gogh shot himself dead. Although the last two years of his life were nothing if not troubled, during that period he produced some of his most brilliant artwork.
Van Gogh represents the quintessential mad genius. Since pen first touched paper and brush canvas, people have associated his type of tragic figure with creativity. Even Aristotle weighed in, saying, “Those who become eminent in philosophy, politics, poetry, and the arts have all tendencies towards melancholia.” Recently, however, the notion of creativity’s effects on health has changed.
Once seen strictly as deleterious to health—or at least a sign of unhealthy tendencies, particularly in the psychological realm—creative pursuits now appear to be beneficial to mind, body, and psyche. New research suggests creativity can improve memory by strengthening brain cell connections, boost morale and coping skills by changing the way we respond to problems, and even bolster immunity by increasing the body’s levels of natural killer cells and T lymphocytes. And for those with special needs, creative outlets can be particularly helpful. Caretakers and therapists now use art activities to encourage the development of children with disabilities, to heal those with eating disorders, and to give a voice to older folks. As research in the field continues, the definitions of creativity and its many potential uses in healthcare expand almost endlessly.
Kids get creative
Because children tend naturally toward uninhibited, creative expression, artistic therapies can help them work through problems when more traditional therapies fail. Janet Tubbs, author of Creative Therapy for Children With Autism, ADHD, and Asperger’s: Using Artistic Creativity to Reach, Teach, and Touch Our Children (Square One Publishers, 2007) has used creativity to help children reach their full potential for more than 20 years. It didn’t take her long to see how music, art, and puppetry could help children with developmental disorders, too. That led her to develop a program for bringing creativity into the lives of children with autism, attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder, and Asperger’s Syndrome.
These disorders—and many others—affect children physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, according to Tubbs, and art can help them integrate all those aspects of their being. “There really is nothing that brings all of them together more rapidly or effectively than the creative arts,” she says.
Author: Deirdre Shevlin BellIn
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