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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

The Science behind ART & HEALING

Art Therapy IS useful in assisting a client to explore and recover from traumatic events everyday new neuroscience research is backing this up.

Neuroscience has explored the way the brain functions, and how this function influences our emotions, cognition and behaviour. and image formation. This exploration also includes how images can cause a wide range of emotional responses in the body. Images are a bridge between the mind and body, in other words, what we see is processed in our mind, and our body responds to it.

Art therapy uses images, not only in the client’s art, but in guided imagery to reduce symptoms, positively alter moods, and help the body’s own healing capabilities. It is this guided imagery that allows the client’s mind to process the image being shared and then produce in the body a response. Thanks to medical advancements, we can now observe how imagery that we see (or imagine) activates the visual cortex of our brain. That is, the brain causes our body to respond to what it sees as though it is reality, even if it is just our imagination. Despite the advances in neuroscience, the reality remains that the physiology of our emotions is so complex “that the brain knows more than the conscious mind can reveal. That is, one can actually display an emotion without being conscious of what induced the emotion" (source: The Art Therapy Handbook, 2003, The Guilford Press, pg. 20) Medicine often works on the principle that all physical dysfunction originates in the mind. Art therapy is useful then in exploring traumatic events. This is because it is a sensory activity that uses sight, touch, smell etc within the experience. So now we know we can explore our traumatic memories in such as way that brings it from the physiological aspects of the body, and returns it to the psychological where we can address it. For example, for us to successfully process a trauma we must be able to do so through our senses, this includes drawing the event. I hope this gives you some insight into our mind and body and understand just how beneficial alternate therapies such as art therapy can be through our journey to healing ourselves.

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