Clinical depression goes far beyond sadness. It’s a disease that robs people of hope. Depression destroys the ability to find the pleasure in living — and enjoy activities that had once brought joy. When that feeling takes hold, we look for any way to bring a person back, to help them experience vitality once again.

Fortunately, there are now more treatments for depression than ever before, including art therapy, which Unison Health offers as part of its overall commitment to our patients’ mental well-being.

The Unison Health Approach to Art Therapy

Unison Health seeks to create an environment where individuals are empowered to make choices. That begins as soon as a person enters the art therapy studio — a visually exciting place that stands in stark contrast to more clinical settings. The studio is a place that immediately conveys the idea that “something different can happen here.”

As clients interact further with their environment, they are empowered to make even more choices regarding their choice of medium. Each medium has its own personality, from the light, soothing feel of watercolors to the dramatic power of oil paints, and the physical act of engaging with the medium invites different statements and initiates new action. A broad swipe of paint across a canvas parallels the bold movements of breaking out of one’s emotional shell. It’s meaningful, it’s powerful, and it has an immediate resonance with the emerging artist.

Unison Health Art Therapy Helps Adults Battling Depression

Treating depression is about more than managing the symptoms—it’s also about providing tools the patient can use going forward. These tools give the individual the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their mental and emotional processes and ultimately move beyond depressive episodes when they occur. As art therapy works in conjunction with an overall treatment regimen, it also provides a unique set of benefits that give patients new opportunities for hope.

Art Therapy Provides a Visual Voice. Think about how verbal communication works. As you speak, one thought leads into another, creating a narrative that takes the listener from Point A to Point B. Coming to terms with a behavioral disorder, though, is often a far less linear path. As thoughts race and mental images come to mind, the story may fold back on itself, preventing clarity from emerging.

As a patient creates a work of art, though, they are empowered to say the things that have not been said. Through art, the creator is able to face and embrace strong emotions — safely. The works they create reflect their feelings, illuminate previously unseen ideas, and inform both the creator and the viewer.

By creating symbolic representations of their feelings, patients allow for several layers of meaning to emerge, often leading to a heightened level of understanding. 

Art Therapy Encourages Stretch Goals. People with depression can often retreat, pulling themselves out of their day-to-day activities. That’s understandable. When your inner voice is constantly telling you you’re not enough, it’s all too easy to start believing it. Art therapy offers people an opportunity to re-engage with their world.

When we say art therapy encourages “stretch goals,” we are referring to art therapy’s ability to help clients achieve consistent continuous improvement. The therapy is structured in such a way that it provides just enough challenge to set the client up for meaningful growth. As their artistic skills improve, their confidence grows accordingly. They explore new interests and discover a light within themselves that they may not have noticed before.

Art Therapy Transforms Lives. Ultimately, the goal of art therapy is to empower individuals to look into their environment and recognize their right to make choices that are helpful to them. By creating a durable, concrete piece of art, the artist is making a statement that can return to over time and reflect upon its meaning. The work of art holds elements of the creator’s past, it speaks to them in their present, and it provides tools that can help them anticipate their future.

Explore Art Therapy with Unison Health

Art therapy is part of a regimen of treatment available to adults participating in Unison Health’s Spera partial hospitalization program. For more information about Unison Health’s integrated care for adults, visit our web page or call 419-214-HOPE today!