As an augmentation or addition to conventional therapy and treatment, art therapy can have benefits for mothers who are suffering from postnatal (also called postpartum) depression. Here is how art therapy can help this sometimes very debilitating problem.
1. Remember it is not about talent. The therapist will guide you in the art project, although the feelings you express and how you express them are up to you. If you are seeking art therapy to help treat postnatal depression, you can relieve yourself of the notion of impressing people with your artwork. This is therapy, not an art gallery!
2. Creative arts do not have to mean painting and drawing. Dance, ceramics and sculpture can be part of art therapy too. Choose something that fits you and that you enjoy doing.
3. Emotional release is a big part of how art therapy can combat postnatal depression. While hormones play a significant role in postnatal depression, there may be underlying issues that are trying to surface during this vulnerable time.
4. Creative arts can show us ourselves. In one type of art therapy, participants make and decorate plaster masks of their own faces. They then decorate the masks to express how they feel. This can be very revealing and helpful.
5. The abstract, emotions, are put into something tangible, the artwork. This can help the depressed woman get a handle on emotions that seem so huge and overwhelming. Art therapy puts them in perspective.
6. When there are no words for how you feel, art therapy can express those things that are hard to express or explain.
7. Momentary escape from the daily slog and becoming engaged in the creative process can be just the break a postnatally depressed person needs.
8. Art therapy practiced in groups can connect the depressed mother to others, helping to relieve the isolated feelings often experienced in postnatal depression.
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