Creative therapies are known as expressive forms of therapy and are often a form of self-help therapy. Expressive therapies have been shown to improve mental health issues and can also help manage medical and life management. Some of these sessions can be overseen by a trained professional but they are also great to do on your own at home.
Mental health charity Mind has stated “Arts and creative therapies may be helpful if you find it difficult to put your thoughts and feelings into words. They may also help with addressing painful feelings or experiences, including experiences of trauma. Some people find that doing a creative activity with their therapist helps put them at ease and can make the session less intense.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that arts therapies be considered for everyone who had psychosis or schizophrenia, which includes related conditions such as schizoaffective disorder. However, art therapies can help with other mental health conditions, although much research hasn’t been done, there are plenty of stories out there about how creative therapy has helped someone with a mental health issue or eating disorder.
Cinema therapy or Movie therapy was created and popularised by Dr. Gary Solomon. It involves the therapist-directed viewing of movies for therapeutic purposes. Watching films has been known to evoke feelings and allows a therapist to help a patient further analyze their thoughts, feelings and address them. For example, you could be watching a film that is not intentionally sad but for some reason, a scene in that film resonates with you, which may indicate some there are some unresolved feelings towards something that happened in that scene. Watching a film can be helpful to some patients, as it allows a therapist to ask non-direct questions and they are able to see how they are reacting to certain scenes indirectly. Although it is good to do this with a trained therapist, cinema therapy is also great to do at home on your own, as it can help you to try and explore your feelings but also offers a great way to destress.
Here are some benefits of cinema therapy:
- It encourages emotional release
- It can help us make sense of our own lives
- They offer us a break to not think about our issues and give us a chance to relax
- Movies can bring a sense of relief.
There’s also a YouTube channel that you can take a look at that focuses solely on cinema therapy. A licensed therapist and screenwriter run the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CinemaTherapySolutions
Art therapy is a technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. Just like cinema therapy, it can allow us to express ourselves in a new way. Instead of directly talking about our thoughts, feelings, or traumas, art therapy is a form of self-expression where you are able to focus all of your feelings on drawing, painting, or sculpting. Studies have shown that different forms of art therapy allow us to gain personal insight into our own feelings through self-expression and also allow us to develop new skills. Again, this form of therapy can be done at home or with a therapist.
Here are some benefits of art therapy:
- communicate feelings or thoughts they find difficult to talk about
- look at a problem or situation in a new way
- explore difficult or painful experiences
- understand themselves better
- feel more comfortable in therapy.
Types of art therapy:
- Doodling and scribbling
- Finger painting
- Working with clay
Music therapy again is a form of self-expression and you can interact with music in any way. Whether, it be through playing an instrument, singing, or even listening to music, it allows you to express your feelings in any way you want. There are also varying genres of music, whether it be gentle, upbeat, or heavy, like rock, often genres and instruments can reflect the feelings you are trying to show. Again, this form of therapy can be done at home or with a therapist.
Here are some ways that music therapy helps people:
- connect with their therapist and other people using music
- communicate difficult thoughts or feelings
- express themselves in new ways.
Dance Movement Therapy:
Dance movement therapy or dance therapy again is a form of self-expression, whilst it does help you to display your feelings through forms of dance, it is also a great way to stay healthy both physically and mentally. As dance is also classified as a form of exercise, it helps you in both ways, and exercise is known to help improve mental health, it also releases endorphins into your body, making you feel good overall. It involves using body movement and dance. For example, you might explore different types of movements and rhythms.
Here are some ways that dance therapy helps people:
- feel more in touch with their body and physical surroundings
- address difficult feelings about their body or appearance
- explore difficult experiences through movement rather than words.
Whatever therapy you may choose, these are all perfectly acceptable forms of self-help therapy that you can do at home or with the help of a trained professional.