Pottery as Art Therapy

Art can also be very therapeutic. Far from medicinal treatments, art therapy relies on artistic creativity to heal, especially in the field of mental illnesses. In the modern world, you may find general tools to cope with stresses and emotional distress. There are several relaxation techniques including massage, yoga, and physical exercise. However, many mental disorders can be successfully treated with the help of different art therapy and pottery as art is one of them. The process combines the gentle method of using the art form as therapy. The participants do not need to have professional training as an artist. Instead, they just need to let their creativity flow and give free rein to their imagination.

From psychology to art, from art to psychology: art can be a great healer

Since the end of the 19th century, psychotherapists and psychiatrists have been studying creativity and artistic expression in their relation to mental health. For example, artistic creation plays a major role in psychic health according to Freud. He is passionate about art as “inaccessible essence”, while in the 1940s, artists such as Dubuffet and André Breton explore the expression of the unconscious in artistic production. Winnicott looks at creativity itself as an attitude towards the outside world.
Psychiatric hospitals, specialized institutions, medical-social centres… the art as healer plays an important role in establishing care.

What is pottery as art therapy?

It is a form of psychotherapy where the art of making pottery is used as a tool for healing. Here the therapeutic aim is given more importance than the artistic aim.
The primary goal is not to create a work of art, but to utilize the pottery art as a mean of expressing the inner self of the patient. It is therefore important to let the imagination of the patient flow without focusing on the artistic result. The pottery work actually brings out the inner self of the patient and offers a chance to understand the emotional turmoil or state of mind. The emotions, thoughts, intuition, and imagination of the patient can be visualized through the result of pottery formation.
Objectives of pottery as art therapy to heal patient with psychological issues

The goal of pottery art therapy is to achieve healing and improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual status of individuals. This form of therapy makes it possible for the patient to express his/her inner thought and pain which he/she is unable to express through words. It is indeed having a number of therapeutic effects such as:

• providing confidence
• well-being
• creative awakening
• a sense of freedom
• managing emotions
• stress management
• reduction of anxiety

Application of pottery as art therapy in different individuals

Pottery as art therapy is ideally used in many therapeutic areas such as:
• working with children
• working with the elderly
• working with patients with severe diseases (eg cancer)
• working in psychiatric hospitals
• working with regular offenders

A typical session of pottery art therapy

A typical session of pottery as art therapy usually lasts for around one to one and a half hours. The therapist accompanies the patient in his creative pottery work without making interference. It is not an analysis but a real process of allowing the patient to evolve at his own pace over the various sessions and different artistic productions of pottery. Often the therapists arrange a group session of longer duration. The individual session is preferred for more critical cases.