Fighting Depression With Creative Therapy

artist using coloured pencils on white paper

Creative or expressive therapy is a novel approach to treating depression by helping patients get in touch with their feelings and leverage various creative expressions as outlets. It is used for identifying and changing negative emotions and thoughts related to depression. The concept of utilising creative therapy for expressing inner emotions and thoughts isn’t a new idea, but it has only been recognized as a form of therapy within the last fifty years. These days, therapists of creative expression are trained in therapy and the arts. 

How Creative Therapy Works 
For those living with depression, creative therapy could be an easier way to break through barriers that might be impeding psychotherapy. Each time they create art, such as write a song or paint on watercolor paper, they’re essentially creating a snapshot of something that can help them reveal what they’re really feeling and why. 

Different Kinds of Creative Therapy 
All forms of creative therapies can be conducted individually, in a group setting, or with partners or family members. Regardless of the kind of creative therapy used, they can all help individuals find healthier ways of expressing themselves so they can learn more about themselves. When conducted under a trained creative therapist’s guidance, they can enhance and complement more traditional treatments for depression. The different kinds of creative therapies include the following: 

-Art therapy including drawing, sculpting and painting 
-Movement or dance therapy 
-Music therapy through writing music or listening to it 
-Drama therapy- acting and storytelling for encouraging expression and self-discovery 

How Creative Therapy Can Help With Depression 
Essentially, creative therapies set you on a path that will help you find out exactly who and what you are, what you have, where you are, and what you must do to get what you want in life. They could be a potent healing force for your mind and body since the process of creating something can help trigger the release of specific brain chemicals that can combat depression. Studies have also indicated that these therapies could boost self-worth and sense of self. Below are other ways that creative therapy can help combat depression: 

-Creating any form of art gives you an actual product that you could assess and learn from. 
-Assessing your finished product can help you identify life aspects you want or need to change.   
-Expressing yourself without judgingment could keep away negative thoughts depression brings. 
-Feeling and letting your emotions helps you trust yourself and your therapist more. 
-Going to group therapy could help you connect better with other people. 

Starting Out With Creative Therapy 
Remember that you shouldn’t use creative therapy as a substitute for conventional treatments for depression because it is most effective when combined with other therapies such as psychotherapy. It is offered in various private practices, outpatient centers and hospitals as treatment, but you may want to ask your psychotherapist for a referral.