Art Therapy: Alternative Treatment for Stress & Anxiety


Stress related illnesses in our society today are increasing, Healthy Ireland Survey of 2016 undertaken by the Department of Health, IPSOS, and MRBI, found 36% of us have family or friends experiencing mental health difficulties. The report also showed 1 in 5 people in Ireland have or had mental health problems. While the increasing cause is not clear, we as a community must educate ourselves about mental health and support friends and family in need.

Stress and Anxiety can be difficult to talk about, understand or explain why we feel the way we do. Art Therapy can be an alternative to talk therapies. Creating an image to express feelings can be an easier and safer way, and feel less threatening. If we are angry or unhappy the images will speak for us. Art Therapy allows those emotions to be released safely by getting them out of the body and onto the paper, which in turn reduces the stress and anxiety. You don't need art skills for this type of therapy to be of value.

During the sessions, the client is given a variety of art materials to chose from. The space allows the client to become absorbed in the art-making, The client can discover and explore underlying emotions in their images. Once these emotions are recognized then the healing can begin. The images are a powerful method of communication which gives the unconscious mind an opportunity to bring these difficult issues into awareness.

The Art Therapist will support the client in their understanding and help them to make the necessary changes for improving their mental health and creating a healthier lifestyle.

We can also learn to incorporate basic art therapy techniques like journaling and image making called “active meditation”, a type of mindfulness, which is a calming and enjoyable method of reducing stress and anxiety.

Art talks, let’s talk about it!

Susan Slevin

If you know someone you think may benefit from art therapy and is not open to attending a private session, social art Ireland runs art therapy groups and workshops which offer a more relaxing and social environment.

For more info visit

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