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Nu Psychology Talks...Art Therapy

Art Therapy for Emotional Regulation

Sometimes our emotions may feel too overwhelming for us to handle. A great thing about the human condition is that we have the ability to control our emotions, without getting rid of them. Emotional regulation helps us to manage and redirect our emotions into a positive way that we want to feel. One way to do this is to create art!

The creative process of making art can be therapeutic and help us discover and regulate our emotions. By focusing our attention on something other than the negative feeling that we are experiencing, anxieties and fears can be reduced. During difficult times in life, everyone can benefit from support, and engaging in creative activities such as art-making, movement, and tactile exploration can serve as a significant source of stress relief.


Here are three Art Therapy techniques to help you with emotional regulation:

Pressing and Fading: As it seems, sometimes it helps to release feelings by literally pressing and fading away your negative emotion. Find a color that you think represents the emotion you are wanting to get rid of and create an image with it, or just put it on the canvas! When you’re done, put a piece of paper on top of the canvas and slowly peel it away. Repeat the process by pressing another sheet of paper onto the second sheet, and continue with additional sheets until the paint residue is almost undetectable on the paper that was removed. Watch the paint and your negative emotions fade away!

Positive Distraction: When handling overwhelming emotions, it sometimes helps to remove yourself from the negative situation or thoughts that you may be experiencing. This can be done by creating something positive, uplifting, relaxing, or safe. To do this, visualize a space in your mind that makes you feel happy and create this place using art. Next time you feel upset, you can look at your art and visualize the space in your mind

Art therapy can help us to develop new coping skills for your negative emotions. Through the use of artistic materials such as paint, markers, pencils, and other utensils, you can help to better identify and gain greater insight into the emotions that you are feeling. Engaging in art therapy can lead to an improvement in your perception of your own ability to achieve their goals, which can enhance your capacity to regulate their emotions in a more effective way in the future.

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