¿What is Art Therapy?




The Ibero-American Forum of Art Therapy defines art therapy as:

"a specialized discipline in accompanying, facilitating and enabling a significant change in a person through the use of various artistic means: attending to their creative process, the images that are produced , and the reflections and questions that are made conscious to the patient."



Art Therapy as a Discipline

Art Therapy is a discipline of the field of psychotherapy in which the artistic process is used for therapeutic purposes. It consists of using art materials in order to enable expression through non-verbal language alongside a professional Art Therapist in a safe and confidential space. By being in contact with art materials such as paint, brushes, water, clay, colors, and shapes, participants create images that represent ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This allows the participant to express themselves through a creative means and access parts of their unconscious.


Three Stages of the Process

​In the Initial Stage, the art therapist listens to the patient’s reasons for seeking art therapy services, what they expect to obtain from the Art Therapy sessions, and the treatment objectives are defined. The participant has a first contact with the art materials and the therapeutic bond is established. In the Intermediate Stage, the participant represents thoughts, ideas, and emotions using the art materials. The activity of the art therapist consists of containing and processing these thoughts, ideas, and emotions through the recognition of the transference and analyzing the triangular relationship (art- therapist-patient). Additionally, the art therapist facilitates or prompts reflection of the images created in each session. In the Final Stage, the art therapist and the participant evaluate and reflect on the course of the sessions, the participant is prepared for the ending of art therapy and the separation of the bond with the therapist is processed.

Art Therapy with Children and Adolescents

Art Therapy with children and adolescents consists of three stages of the process. In the initial stage, parents or caregivers present the difficulty they have observed in their child to the art therapist. Once questions and doubts are clarified, a six-session assessment begins. The assessment consists of observations made by the art therapist in the art therapy studio. The observations are based on the child's interaction with the art materials, the content of the images, and the interaction they establish with the art therapist and space. Attachment styles, attention to limits, flexibility, creativity, time management and communication are observed. At the end of the assessment, the art therapist meets again with the parents to give them the assessment feedback and implement a treatment plan with the number of sessions to be carried out and goals. The treatment plan and objectives of the sessions are developed according to the specific needs of the case.