Watercolor Paints

ART THERAPY AND HISTORY

Personalised Attention

Art therapy is not new. It has its origins way back in history. Since ancient times, art has played a role in health, and symbolic expression has been an important part of healing rituals. The need to make art is a basic human desire, a trait of our species as natural as our language in life. Early writings in a variety of civilisations used pictures of objects such as animals and birds. This can be seen in Egyptian hieroglyphics and in the paintings of the Aboriginal culture, which demonstrates the use of symbols to convey meaning.


In contemporary cultures as well as preliterate societies, art has been used symbolically to cure illness and bring about both physical and psychological relief. The Navajo from North America, for example, combine song, dance and sand painting in which specific patterns are used for specific illnesses. The Tibetans also use sand painting in the form of mandalas as a focus for prayer and an intention for healing. Both these forms of art are visually symbolic and intended for transformation and healing.


In many cultures, creating and wearing masks was considered the key to not only self-preservation but used to express and control powerful emotions, such as fear. In some African and South American societies, masks were believed to ward off evil forces and help the wearer assume the identity of powerful animals and spirits. The work of the shaman is strongly connected to Transpersonal Art Therapy, as an altered state of consciousness. It is used along with imagery to achieve a state of healing. The belief that art can effect change and transform people may be one reason why art has been, and still is, viewed as therapeutic.