Eco-Art Therapy: Healing through Nature

Ivo Bisignano

Nature can heal us in ways we don’t fully understand, but we feel it. We feel better after spending time in a local park or sitting outside with ourselves. We feel energized after a brisk walk. Our moods boost after we walk past a flower bush.

While we cannot irrefutably explain the reason for this healing, many therapists have begun to incorporate nature into other therapy forms to benefit their client’s mental health further.

One way they incorporate nature into their therapy is with Eco-Art Therapy. This type of therapy takes Art Therapy and includes natural world elements, such as leaves and branches.

If you’d like to learn more about Art Therapy, visit the link below:

What is Eco-Art Therapy?

Eco-Art Therapy is a type of therapy that combines the healing power of nature and art into a joint therapeutic session. Art Therapy is an uncommon therapy form gaining popularity with patients who struggle with depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Therapists give patients the tools and space to explore art coupled with nature. Patients can paint outside and incorporate anything they can obtain into their artwork. Things like eggshells, dry leaves, pinecones, seashells, seed pods, weeds, flower petals, and grass clippings are all fair game.

Dani Karavan

Eco artist Dani Karavan

Eco-Art Therapy encourages patients to expand their ideas of art and find self-expression in everyday objects. It also helps patients find nature everywhere, not just in sprawling parks or acres of land.

How Does Eco-Art Therapy work?

Eco-Art Therapy works similarly to traditional art therapy.  Therapists use art to diagnose and help patients in several ways, but they fall under three main categories.

Art as Therapy

In this approach, the journey is the destination. Patients enjoy the process of creating without fear of scrutinization. They can paint, draw, sculpt, build, collage, color, and design for the sake of creating. Making art is the therapy itself and can be a cathartic experience for helping patients realize what they’re feeling.

Art as Psychotherapy

Therapists will work with patients to uncover any symbolism or patterns they may find in their finished artwork. These patterns allow therapists to delve deeper into a patient’s psyche. Think of a Rorschach inkblot test, except the patient creates the art, and the therapist helps to find their meaning.

Therapists will usually employ other forms of therapy to couple with art therapy.

Art Therapy as Stress Relief

This final approach treats art therapy as a means to practice mindfulness. Patients experience a sense of calm while creating art and can get lost in their creation. This focus on their artwork can increase their concentration and block some of their negative emotions.

Patients can escape from their stress and anxiety with art. Art Therapy is a healthy, productive activity that transports patients into a different state of mind. Allowing their minds to just focus on their art may give them the time to find solutions to their problems and dissipate their anxiety.

What are the benefits of Eco-Art Therapy?

Eco-Art Therapy can be accessible to a broader group of people. Patients don’t need to buy expensive tools or equipment to begin. Therapists encourage patients to think creatively and use whatever they can find.

Some patients who live in highly urbanized areas may not have access to a park or nature. Eco-Art Therapy broadens the definition of “nature” and encourages patients to see nature everywhere. It doesn’t have to be a National Park or a reservation. You can find materials around if you just know how to look.

Eco-Art therapy also shares the benefit of giving patients a way to express themselves without the need to speak. Sometimes, a patient can feel overwhelmed by trauma or symptoms that they cannot communicate their feelings. Eco-Art gives patients a way to express themselves and begin to understand how they’re feeling.

Final Thoughts

Eco-Art Therapy is a growing field that promotes mental health and helps patients reduce anxiety and stress. If you feel you would benefit from Art Therapy, reach out to a licensed therapist today

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