Art Therapy Activities

Art therapy activities are an excellent way to manage unhappiness, trauma, and stress. It helps people discover themselves and find meaning in their lives. Art therapy utilizes the activities of drawing, coloring, painting, collage, crafting, and sculpting. Below is a list of art therapy activities illustrating how art is used therapeutically.

Art Therapy Activities for Emotion Management and Understanding

  • Make sock puppets and act out events or memories that upset you.
  • Starting with a block of clay, sculpt your grief (or anger, jealousy, etc.).
  • Paint what you are feeling now, or what you felt in an emotional situation.

Art Therapy Activities for Coping with Trauma and Sadness

  • Make a diorama of a painful event in your life.
  • Cut pictures from magazines that represent your worries; make a collage.
  • Draw an event or person that has scared you.

Art Therapy Activities for Self Examination

  • Draw a timeline of important moments in your life.
  • Paint yourself as an animal.
  • Build a webpage or website that is a creative expression your thoughts, feelings, or interests.

Art Therapy Activities for Positive Attitude

  • Paint a rock that represents your strengths and abilities.
  • Make a collage of things you are grateful for.
  • Create a personal alter that represents your spirituality or what you value.

Art Therapy Activities for Perception Awareness

  • Paint or sculpt an image of how you think others see you.
  • Draw a self portrait on a paper bag; fill with items or pictures of things you love.
  • Make a collage representing a person that changed your life.

Art Therapy Activities for Self Soothing

  • Create any work of art using comforting objects.
  • Paint a picture representing a quote that you like.
  • Draw an experience of doing something you thought you couldn’t do.

Art Therapy Activities for Releasing Anxiety or Tension

  • Scribble. Then turn the scribble into a work of art.
  • Put on relaxing music; paint how it makes you feel, or what the song looks like.
  • Color in a coloring book.

Art Therapy Activities for Relationships

  • Draw a map of yourself and people you are connected to.
  • Make a sculpture that represents your family.
  • Make a collage representing how you feel when with (parent, friend, etc.).

photo of F.K. Waechter by Inge Sauer

Further Reading


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