Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses art materials, such as paints, chalk and markers. Art therapy 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.
As a mental health profession, art therapy is employed in many clinical settings with diverse populations. Art therapy can be found in non-clinical settings as well, such as in art studios and in workshops that focus on creativity development. Art therapists work with children, adolescents, and adults and provide services to individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.
Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process of art is both healing and life-enhancing. Art therapists use the creative process and the issues that come up during art therapy to help their clients increase insight and judgment, cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, have better relationships with family and friends, and to just be able to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of the creative experience. The term art therapist is reserved for those that are professionals trained in both art and therapy and hold a master's degree in art therapy or a related field.