At the Berkeley Creative Wellness Centre (CWC), members gather together to unleash their creativity and produce art. The class participants all suffer from a range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.
According to The Weekender, the facility is one of a number of counselling centres in the Berkeley area that is practising expressive arts therapy as part of their overall treatment. Here members work both individually and in groups, as they integrate art into their treatment, working on skill-building and recovery.
The benefits of art as therapy continue to be well documented, with a recent study by the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association showing that art therapy can create significant improvements in a variety of symptoms relating to mental health disorders.
For CWC Program Director Merrie Sennett, the observations of her members show on a daily basis that art is a powerful rehabilitation tool. “The process of doing art… can essentially calm a person and help people get out of that stress response… which is sort of the underpinnings of a lot of distress and disorder,” Sennet said. Moreover, she claims that the cathartic and calming sensations experienced through art production can provide respite for anyone wishing to escape the stresses of everyday life.
Learn more about the healing power of music here.