Psychology studies behavior and the self. Psychologists run many different tests, interpret a lot of data, and study tests subjects all for the sake of further understanding the way humans connect, and how they respond to stimuli.
Arts And Creative Expression In Psychology
In terms of therapy, one-way psychologists and psychiatrists use to understand better their patient is through creative expression. When words fail to explain experiences, traumatic or not, their patients can turn to artistic expression and freely express themselves. According to Marni Rosen, PsyD, “Finding the words to express trauma is a common challenge for trauma survivors. Creative arts therapies can bridge the shattered memory or painful emotion, and a cognitive-linguistic expression of the traumatic experience. It brings the absence of language into the present though art.”
Creative expression comes in many types and forms. It is a broad artistic spectrum with various creative mediums. Some widely known methods of creative expression are dance, creative writing, theater, drama, acting, singing, music, and even through broadcasting and scriptwriting. Visual art forms like photography, drawing, graphic artistry, murals, creative vandal, and painting are also under creative expression.
Creative expression amplifies three significant components, both from the observer’s point of view and the artist:
These three major components are tools to better understanding artworks, regardless of form.
Additionally, creative expression becomes a tool for the self to feel fulfillment. In individuals who have lost their sense of self to their mental illness, creative expression can help them slowly regain that. According to Amber L. Cromwell, LMFT, “Art therapy supports the treatment for a wide range of mental health issues and may assist in the process of achieving personal insight in individual, group, couples, and family therapy.”
Creativity is known to decrease depression. Studies in the field of psychological research suggest that engaging in artistic activities significantly decreased negative emotions experienced at a given time, and ultimately reduced depressive episodes. According to Katrina Curry, LMFT, “Creativity offers a release for stress hormones, and for tangled up cognitive and emotional experience.”
The creative process is ultimately beneficial to the human psyche because making something is inherently a human trait. The drive for creation propelled most of the scientific discoveries and historical events in the past. The desire to create, to express, and to improve the quality of life all seem interconnected.
Outside Of Therapy
Artistic expression outside of its use in therapy varies widely. Patients indulge themselves in this expression to relieve themselves of past trauma. They use it to communicate themselves and their inner feelings, consciously and subconsciously. Artists engage in creative expression as an outlet to express themselves when they can’t do it outright.
Others engage in creative expression as a hobby, and because it makes them feel good about themselves. More often than not, it is a valuable skill that one can develop and explore endlessly.
Creative expression is right for your overall health and wellbeing. It becomes an outlet for stress, negative emotions, and pent up frustrations. Being able to express yourself freely without restriction dramatically improves your mental health. Not only that, but creative expression also allows you an escape from the harsh realities of life as you focus on your art.
In some cases, exploring your potential for creativity and similar creative pursuits might inspire you to be better. Creative expression inspires action and often comes with positive, feel-good results.
Additionally, for those prone to illnesses of the body as well, creativity improves your immune system. Participants who engaged in emotional writing had a noticeable increase in the production of lymphocytes in their body.
Creative Expression In Culture
The idea of creative or artistic expression being able to contribute to the self’s healing process is nothing new. A lot of different cultures worldwide know of the benefits of art, and its appearance brings to the soul. Throughout history, people have used dances, chants, pictures, and stories as a part of their healing rituals. Recently, further studies have been about exploring the therapeutic effects of the arts in spiritual, emotional, and mental healing.
As a whole, creativity and the right to express yourself artistically is something beneficial and inherently a part of the human psyche. In psychology, where studies and research are continuously in the process of development with regards to creative expression, its positive impact on the body is undeniable.
Aside from that, engaging in artistic activities also offer fun but a cost-effective escape from the horrors of reality. Being deeply absorbed in your art de-stresses you from your toxic work environment, allowing you are breathing space to grow.
Creative expression promotes freedom of speech, creative space, better self-confidence, and in turn, a glimpse into the artist’s subconscious. Through the artistic expression of thoughts, feelings, emotions, and need, you can be better understood.