15 Art Therapy Exercises You Can Do at Home


Art therapy is an interesting field of mental health care that is based on the premise that expressing yourself creatively can enhance well-being and promote emotional healing. It can also boost self-awareness. 

While there are licensed art therapists, you can do many of the same art therapy exercises at home that you would do in a clinical setting. 

You don’t have to be a great artist to receive the benefits of art therapy. Anyone can draw, paint, color, sculpt, or create a collage. It’s true that some can do these things better than others, but skill is irrelevant in art therapy. The act of creating is what’s important. 

Try these art therapy activities: 

1. Create sock puppets and put on a play. Making a couple of sock puppets will put a smile on anyone’s face. You can act out a scene from your life. Maybe you want to re-enact a fight you had with your spouse. Or help a child vent their frustrations related to a bullying incident. 

2. Create a sculpture that matches your mood. Get your hands on some clay or Play-Doh and let your imagination run wild. Feeling anxious? Create a sculpture that represents that feeling. Dealing with some rage? See what ideas you have for representing rage with clay. 

3. Make a collage with photographs that you love. Go through your old photos and make copies of some of your favorites. Create a collage that exemplifies the emotions that those photographs stimulate in you. 

4. Draw a picture that represents utopia to you. What is your version of a perfect life or a perfect world? Draw it. What makes it so perfect for you? 

5. Create a painting that represents your childhood. What are the most important moments of your childhood? Will you include only positive memories? Or are you in the mood to get your hands dirty and deal with the negative events, too? 

6. Draw or paint your negative traits. Consider your negative traits and find a way to represent them in a piece of art. 

7. Draw or paint your positive traits. Do the same with your positive traits.

8. Make a flag with a motto that represents your intentions. What motto would you put on a flag that best describes your intention in life? 

  • Power?
  • Sacrifice?
  • Peace on
  • Earth?
  • Love?
  • Domination? 

9. Make a dreamcatcher and find a place to hang it in your room. If you don’t know what a dreamcatcher looks like, look it up online. Create your own version of a dreamcatcher and put it in an appropriate place. 

10. Draw a scene from one of your nightmares. Since we’re on the subject of sleep and dreams, recreate a scene from a recent bad dream. If you haven’t tried your hand at drawing lately, now would be a good time. 

11. Build an altar. Create an altar that is unique to you and will help you to connect fully with your spiritual side. 

12. Create a map of all the personal connections in your life. Put yourself in the center and diagram all of the relationships you have. Compare that to all the relationships you had 10 years ago. What’s changed? 

13. Create a website. There are plenty of places to create a free website, such as www.wordpress.com. Build a website that represents your interests. 

14. Paint a rock. List your values on the rock and put it where you can see it each day. 

15. Draw your safe place. Use any medium you like. Create a place that makes you feel safe from the world. 

Art therapy is a gift that you can give yourself. Pick one exercise and give it a try. Experiment and see what happens. These 15 exercises are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds more for you to discover. 

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