Creative Arts Therapies Week

Crayons 2

By Monica Wiebe, Residential Clinician – Wood’s Homes

This past week was Creative Arts Therapies Week.

Today, it is recognized that the creative process of art making enhances recovery, health, and wellness. It wasn’t always this way.

In the early 20th century, psychiatrists became interested in the artwork created by their patients with mental illness. American psychologist Margaret Naumburg is credited with pioneering the use of art expression as a therapeutic modality by drawing on psychoanalytic theory and practice in the 1940s.

She was influenced by the psychiatric movement at the time, in particular Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung who placed great significance on symbolization.

Freud developed the concept of an unconscious, expressed vividly in the symbolic imagery of dreams. Jung proposed a universal unconscious with common symbols appearing among different cultures and through time.

Naumburg encouraged clients to draw spontaneously and to free associate to their pictures.

Crayons, Wood's Homes

From its early psychoanalytic beginnings, the profession of art therapy has branched out into many frameworks and approaches. By mid the 1990s, hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centres increasingly began to include art therapy programs along with traditional “talk therapies”.

Today, creative arts therapists use arts and creativity during intentional interventions in therapeutic, rehabilitative, community, or educational settings to foster health, communication, and expression, promoting the integration of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning; enhance self-awareness; and facilitate change.

What form of art do you find most therapeutic?


Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!

If you are experiencing a crisis and need to speak to someone, please call our counsellors at our 24/7 Crisis Counselling Line: 403-299-9699 or toll-free: 1-800-563-6106.

Wood’s Homes is a nationally accredited mental health centre – proudly helping communities for over 100 years. Learn more at


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