Using Art Therapy To Help Patients in Crisis

At Kingwood Pines Hospital, many different types of therapy are used to help patients recover from their mental health crisis. One type is Art Therapy, which is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

One of the major differences between art therapy and other forms of therapy is that most other forms use language as a means of communication. Some patients, such as children, are often not able of expressing themselves within this limited range, so art provides a perfect outlet.

Helen West has a Masters’ Degree in Behavioral Science and is a Registered Art Therapist. She is the full-time Art Therapist at Kingwood Pines, and her expertise helps patients feel comfortable with this form of expression. Art Therapy Groups can help increase insight, identify and get in touch with feelings, process and explore stress and anxiety reduction, promote life satisfaction and coping activities, promote interaction with others, and much more!

“One Art Therapy project uses the left half of a piece of paper for the patient to visually describe the way they feel now, and the right half is then used to visually describe the way they want to be seen by the world,” Helen explains. “By envisioning a positive goal, the patient can improve their self-esteem and realize mental health goals more quickly.”

Everyone can use Art Therapy! Whether or not you feel you can draw, here are ideas that anyone can use to help express themselves therapeutically through art:

1. Draw a favorite kind of day.

2. Draw your coping activities, such as a music note to indicate listening to music, a book to indicate reading, etc.

3. Create a mask…one that you use that is a “cover up”. Example: a clown mask, because you are often the “clown” making jokes, etc.

4. Make a thank you card to yourself. Consider appreciating and thanking yourself, forgiving and stating positive feedback to yourself.

5. Draw your “wall”. What kind of wall is it” Is it brick, stone, or what? Is anything on your wall? It is a fortress or crumbling, cracking, or what? Is it coming down or going up? Is there any way to get around or through it? Is it appropriate and therefore healthy or outdates? What are the cause and effect of your wall? Was it put up for protection?

6. Make a “health collage” with magazines. Include pictures and words that are supportive and meaningful to you right now. Consider and focus on surroundings, vacations, food you eat or cook, exercise, social activities, alone time, self care, rest, etc.

7. Draw your overall feelings/emotions you are experiencing today. For instance, sad, anxious, hopeful, grateful, angry, happy, etc.

Kingwood Pines Hospital serves the crisis mental health needs of people ages 5 and up. If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis—please seek help immediately, and treat it as you would a medical emergency. You can call Kingwood Pines Hospital 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at 281-404-1001, and we provide no-cost assessments. More information about Kingwood Pines Hospital can be found at .