Have any questions? Feel free to contact us:
+254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585
Our Location
Muthangari Road 37, Lavington
Open Hours
Mon — Fri: 8 am — 5 pm Sat: 8 am — 1 pm Sun: CLOSED
Art therapy: What role does it play? - CBT Kenya
  • Comments: 0
  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin

Art therapy: What role does it play? – CBT Kenya

Understanding Art Therapy

Definition and Origins:

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes the creative process of making art to improve and enhance mental health and well-being. It is a dynamic discipline that finds its roots in the early 20th century, gaining momentum as psychologists and artists recognized the therapeutic potential of artistic expression. Pioneers like Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer laid the foundation for what would become a diverse and impactful field.

How Art Therapy Works

Many people ask “What is art therapy and how does it work?” The underlying concepts are that in expressive arts therapies, people can understand and respond to their emotions and thoughts with a valuable new perspective, and that artistic expression is good for mental health.

During a session, an art therapist works with clients to understand what is causing them distress. Then the therapist guides the client to create art that addresses the cause of their issue. During a session, art therapists:

  • Describe the goal of art therapy
  • Explain that clients don’t have to think of themselves as creative or artistic to benefit
  • Help the client choose and use a medium, such as drawing, sculpture, collage, or painting
  • Guide the client through expressing themselves through art, usually by asking questions
  • Discuss the results, both the work of art and what the client felt
  • Plan for another session or for the client to work on their own

When It’s Used

Art therapists work with individuals, couples, and groups in a variety of settings, including private counseling, hospitals, wellness centers, correctional institutions, senior centers, and other community settings.

No artistic talent is necessary for art therapy to succeed, because the therapeutic process is not about the artistic value of the work, but rather about finding associations between the creative choices made and a client’s inner life. The artwork can be used as a springboard for reawakening memories and telling stories that may reveal messages and beliefs from the unconscious mind.

Art therapy can help with many conditions and experiences, including:

The Therapeutic Process:

Self-Exploration and Reflection:

Art therapy encourages individuals to delve into their inner selves, exploring emotions, memories, and experiences that may be difficult to articulate verbally. Through the creation of visual metaphors, individuals can gain insights into their own psyche, fostering a deeper understanding of their thoughts and feelings.

Catharsis and Emotional Release:

The act of creating art can be inherently cathartic. The physicality of painting, drawing, or sculpting provides a tangible outlet for emotions, allowing individuals to release pent-up feelings and alleviate stress. Art becomes a medium for emotional expression, offering a sense of relief and liberation.

Addressing Mental Health Challenges:

Anxiety and Stress Reduction:

Art therapy has demonstrated efficacy in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and stress. Engaging in creative activities triggers the release of dopamine, the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitter, promoting relaxation and a sense of accomplishment.

Depression and Mood Enhancement:

For individuals grappling with depression, art therapy serves as a means to reconnect with positive emotions. The process of creating art stimulates the production of endorphins, fostering a more positive mood and outlook on life.

Applications and Approaches:

Individual and Group Settings:

Art therapy can be tailored to suit individual needs or employed in group settings. Group sessions promote social interaction, fostering a sense of community and shared experience. This inclusivity enhances the therapeutic benefits, providing individuals with a support network.

Diverse Artistic Modalities:

Art therapy encompasses a wide range of artistic modalities, from painting and drawing to sculpture and digital art. Therapists adapt these modalities based on individual preferences and therapeutic goals, ensuring a personalized and enriching experience.

Art Therapy in Various Contexts:

Schools and Educational Settings:

Art therapy has found a place in educational settings, offering a creative outlet for students to express themselves, manage stress, and enhance cognitive skills. It serves as a valuable tool for educators and mental health professionals working collaboratively to support students’ emotional well-being.

Healthcare and Hospitals:

In healthcare settings, art therapy plays a crucial role in the healing process. Whether used in rehabilitation or palliative care, creative expression becomes a means for patients to cope with illness, pain, and the emotional challenges that accompany medical treatments.

The Future of Art Therapy:

Integration with Traditional Therapies:

As the therapeutic landscape continues to evolve, there is a growing recognition of the complementary nature of art therapy alongside traditional therapeutic approaches. Integrating art therapy into treatment plans enhances the overall efficacy of mental health interventions.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice:

The field of art therapy is actively engaging in research to establish evidence-based practices and demonstrate the effectiveness of various interventions. This ongoing commitment to empirical validation strengthens the credibility of art therapy within the broader mental health community.


At CBT Kenya, our portfolio of therapy techniques includes art therapy. We use art therapy to aid our clients in expressing their inner feelings and emotions through painting, drawing, writing, and modeling.

Art therapy works for adults as well as children, who have gone through traumatic events including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. This type of therapy is also effective for individuals suffering from stress and depression, people with learning disability, individuals suffering from brain injury and children with behavioural problems.

Getting professional help does not mean you are weak or broken. It’s choosing to get better and take care of yourself. CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or info@cbtkenya.org.


Author: cbtkeadmin
Open chat
Hello 👋
Can we help you?