Art Therapy and Eating Disorders Treatment

How Art Therapy can help with the Treatment of Eating Disorders

Hi my name is Cyd Davis-Hubler and I am an art therapist/counselor at the Eating Disorders Treatment Center in Albuquerque.

What is art therapy? Well, the boring definition is art therapy combines the knowledge of psychological theories and techniques with visual arts and the creative process to help clients heal. A definition that makes more sense to me is art therapy lets the imagination guide the healing process by connecting with creative mystery and meaning making.

Art therapy is a unique approach that gets to the conflicts, problems, thoughts and behaviors that are not really about food or the number on the scale. An art therapist can work with a client via art on interpersonal skills, managing behaviors, reducing stress, increasing self-esteem as well as self-awareness and body image. When the harsh critic speaks up as you begin to paint and your insecurity and fear take hold the art room becomes a place to relax and observe and to look at the critic in the eye and say, “hello, it is time for us to talk”.

Art has the unique ability to unlock emotional expression because art involves the brain and the body in ways that verbal language does not. Art therapy provides an alternative means of communicating when finding the words to express confusion and pain is difficult.

I found that art has the power to help me understand myself and offer insight that is not available through other means. Art has helped me learn to communicate the story of my pain and emotions through the image. Finding personal meaning in one’s images is often but not always part of the art therapy process.

Helping clients explore and express themselves in an authentic way through art is what I do. Clients experience relief and begin making strides towards personal transformation.


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