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CBT & Art Therapy: Mixing Theory with Creativity

So here is another very practical and simple strategy I use with clients to help manage their anxiety and depression thoughts. You can consider teaching this art therapy intervention to your clients as a "real-life application" of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) theory. Have you ever noticed how your mind works? Have you ever been so caught up in the track of your thoughts that you couldn't control them, or change them? Sometimes we get so focused on what's bothering us, that we can't think about anything else! This can happen when we are depressed, or anxious. It can lead to poor decision-making and impact our relationships. It is relatively simple, but it can be helpful to 'reframe' thoughts. CBT is a therapeutic approach that emphasizes the importance of thinking and its impact on feelings and behavior. So, if you think more positively, you'll feel better and do better.

Art Therapy Rx: Cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Art Therapy

In this article I will cover the following:

In this article, I will provide an art therapy-based intervention that can help your clients explore negative thinking patterns. This intervention will include 5 FREE downloads which include an Art Therapy Rx script with instructions, a CBT triangle handout, and 3 positive/negative templates. This activity is simple and encourages the client to explore thinking patterns creatively. In addition, it serves as a reminder of the positive thoughts and feelings that they can continue carrying with them outside of their sessions.

About CBT:

The human mind has the ability to take us from one end of the emotional spectrum to another in a matter of seconds. We focus on the fear based thoughts that create a reaction within our bodies...which we then focus on more until we unknowingly create so much internal stress, tension, and pain that eventually it becomes hard-wired into our everyday lives.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy? CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that has been proven to be effective for many mental, and physical, health conditions. It is a collaborative, client-centered approach that helps you to recognize inaccurate negative thoughts and beliefs that create distressing feelings, emotions, and physical sensations.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for dealing with all kinds of mental hang-ups and distortions. It works especially well for negativity, self-sabotage, faulty ways of seeing yourself, and difficulties relating to other people.

By giving power to your thoughts, you have the power to change your life.

Art & Creativity:

Creativity and art are just always a good idea personally to add to any theoretical approach. I say this because I practiced before using traditional paper and pencil tasks and handouts to help my clients explore their thinking patterns...and honestly can be a bit boring, especially for the kids and teens. I decided to update my approach and add a little art therapy spice.

Art allows clients to plan out their ideas more effectively when they can draw what they're thinking about. It helps to visualize the thoughts in order to get them down on paper. Afterward, the client can take an easy look at what was drawn and see if they can think of any insight into the drawing that may be symbolic. The client can gain some of these insights through a simple conversation of course; however, I've found that creativity works best when it comes from within.

This art therapy intervention will be broken down into three steps. I have included a handout to help provide psychoeducation about the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions. I have included a great visual for clients of the CBT triangle as well.

As always feel free to drop a comment below!

Until next time friends!

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be utilized as a form of self-help, personal clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes and to provide clinical art therapy directives/resources for trained mental health professionals. This information is by no means a substitute for therapy.

Affiliate/Earning Disclaimer: Lauren Graham is an affiliate of the and Amazon Associates. As an affiliate/associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases that are made by clicking on the affiliate links provided in this post. I only recommend products that I believe to be valuable and purchasing through my links is the same as shopping through each site. The only difference is you will be supporting my future work and allowing me to continue creating free quality content for you. Thank you!

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