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Art Therapy

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By Angie Best-Boss, Contributing Writer

Art therapy taps into the core of my being, allowing a visual display of my soul. It gently touches the deepest and darkest emotions within me...I have given myself permission to feel every emotion, to experience it within my body with a new appreciation.

Contributing Artist, Hungry Souls

There is no “one size fits all” model for treating people with eating disorders. People with eating disorders may have a variety of different reasons for their illness – biological, emotional to environmental. In the same way, treating eating disorders usually requires a team approach – with assistance from counselors, psychologists, nutritionists, and other specialists.

Art therapy is one therapeutic approach that may be helpful in treating people with eating disorders. Though not as well-known as more popular forms of therapy, art therapy is an appropriate treatment approach for many people. The American Academy of Art Therapy Association explains that its members are “professionals trained in both art and therapy. They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art. They use art in treatment, assessment and research, and provide consultations to allied professionals.”

Art is a visual and symbolic language which can be highly effective due to the symbolic nature of eating disorders. As art reflects life and culture, these images are reflective of the process of dealing with the pain and internal changes occurring as one grows in confidence and self-expression. Ideally, through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

A non-profit organization called allassofoundation.org creates special events, films, and more to showcase the work of women and men who explore, cope with, and resolve issues related to their struggles with body image and eating disorders. For more information, you can contact the foundation at (404) 378-4167 ext. 6 or via email at info@allassofoundation.org.

For assistance in finding an art therapist, contact arttherapy.org.

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