People think in pictures.
Our earliest non-verbal communications were pictures on the walls of caves. We've only been a reading and writing species for a small fraction of our existence and even then, most written language began as pictographs. When you read a book or listen to someone's story it evokes imagery in your mind. There's no doubt that we've evolved to be visual creatures.
This makes it especially sad that the older we get in modern society, the more we're pushed into a purely analytical mode of numbers and words. It's an important form of expression that we're conditioned to abandon over time.
This is where art-therapy comes into the spotlight. It's an approach to self-discovery and personal growth that lets you express your inner world in pictures. Art therapy is applicable to a range of contexts. It's often used in an educational setting for assessment and treatment. It can be used in group and individual contexts. It's enjoyable for its own sake and leaves a lasting impression on participants.
In a corporate contexts it can be applied to a variety of important areas: work and life balance, coping with change, stress management, personal growth and better interpersonal relationships for team harmony. Of particular interest is the way art therapy can unlock the creative potential of individuals in the workplace. In a world where the next big idea can launch you into the stratosphere, creativity is just as valuable as intelligence and analytical ability.
So how does art therapy work? The exact details of a session vary according to the therapeutic goals of that session and whether it is in a group or individual context. Generally participants are directed to express their inner world of thoughts, feelings and experiences rather than drawing things from imagination. The idea is to allow a different mode of expression to foster self-understanding. An art therapy session may include elements of art instruction to facilitate the process. Something that can make it more attractive to people that may be put off by "purely" therapeutic activities. This also makes it great as a team-building activity under a wider umbrella of exercises.
Art Therapy is very structured under the surface and the therapist will spend time understanding the goals and issues unique to the group or individual before devising a series of activities aimed at reaching those goals.
Art therapy is a great addition to the resources available to human resources managers and corporate leaders that want to improve the human element of their organizations. It provides both tangible and intangible benefits to innovation and interpersonal dynamics. Under a properly trained therapist it's a practical and enjoyable way to reach your team's personal growth goals.