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What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is an integrative mental health profession that focuses on the use of art materials and the creative process to facilitate growth and change. Art therapists have knowledge of psychological theories, human growth and development, and the therapeutic use of art making. The therapists at Portland OCD are both registered art therapists (ATR) and/or board certified (ATR-BC), which means graduate education on art therapy has been completed as well as supervised hours and continuing education post graduation.

Who is Art Therapy for?

Art therapy is used with a variety of populations including those who experience anxiety, grief, trauma, depression, and pain, among others. Art therapists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, crisis centers, senior care facilities, and private practice. This type of therapy is active and experiential, making it a good complement to cognitive behavioral therapy with OCD, trichotillomania, and other anxiety disorders. At Portland OCD, your treatment is individualized, therefore you and your therapist would determine if and how art therapy would be incorporated into your treatment.

There is no need to have any experience with art making or art materials to participate in art therapy.

Art Therapy and Anxiety

The therapists at Portland OCD are committed to making your treatment personalized by using evidence-based treatments tailored to meet your needs and goals. We understand anxiety disorders.  We understand that meaningful treatment means working with the whole person and not just the disorder. Art therapy is an approach to treatment that is active and experiential, making it a valuable option in our commitment to working holistically. Whether you are suffering from OCD, an anxiety disorder, or trichotillomania art therapy may help. Here are some of the ways in which we might use art therapy:

  • Assist with anxiety reduction/building up healthy coping skills

  • Engage creative problem solving and provide a visual to view situations, thoughts, and fears differently

  • Identify pros and cons of behaviors/habits

  • Learn how to express emotions in a healthy way and increase assertiveness

  • Increase spontaneity

  • Challenge perfectionism

  • Separate yourself from OCD thoughts and feelings

  • Identify barriers to treatment and increase motivation

Please contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how art therapy can help you.  Please visit for more information on art therapy.

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