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Mobile Apps for Use with Art Therapy

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Art therapy is a commonly used and versatile medium for self-expression.  There are several exercises that can be completed at home, in the consumer’s own time or in the greatest moment of need. Being able to incorporate technology into these exercises may normalize the experience and entice consumers to participate more often. According to a National Institute of Health study, using mobile technology has been shown to be effective and accepted by users.

Here are a few apps that can easily be incorporated into art therapy sessions and take-home exercises:

1. Computer Art Therapy 

Description: This app is based on the service which replaced art therapy that had been formerly made manually by art therapists with the computer-based system, and is composed of free drawing, Mandala, and kinetic family drawing services. If a user inputs free drawing, Mandala or kinetic family drawing along with the personal information to the app, the system provides the result of analysis on the drawing as well as psychological and disability status in the output stage. This information stands on the basis of knowledge base built on abundant expertise, experience, and research data on the art therapy.

This app bases its analyses on color usage and frequency. There are some in-app purchases that can be made to expand the analysis offered. Of course, it uses a more concrete approach to drawing analysis that is not always favored in the therapy session.

2. Art as Therapy 

Description: Engaging and lively, and not a little controversial, Art as Therapy is packed with 150 examples of outstanding art, architecture and design, while chapters on Love, Nature, Money and Politics show how art can help with many common difficulties, from forging good relationships, finding happiness, to coming to terms with mortality.

This app is supposed to act as a supplement to a book of the same name. It allows users to explore classical art examples that relate to particular emotions.

3. Happy Draw Bug 

Description: Happy Draw Bug is a fun drawing teacher for children. With this game kids can draw the things they love, just by following the happy bug. The resulting artworks, always authentic and truly self made, can be saved to the photo library – for example to send them to grandma! – There are 40 drawings in the game.

While tracing games might not be explicitly ‘art therapy’ they do offer the bonus of improving motor development, providing a self-esteem boost, and encouraging relationship building with friends and family.
4. ArtStudio

Description: ArtStudio is the most comprehensive, sketching, painting and photo editing tool in the App Store. Completely re-designed from the ground up the new ArtStudio features a beautiful new user interface and a powerful new graphics engine to make creating works of art faster, easier, and more fun! Using advanced drawing algorithms this is the fastest and most precise version of ArtStudio to date.

ArtStudio allows people to be as creative as they can be, while learning how to use new tools and software. This app can be used during or after the session, to encourage creativity and self-expression.

Finding unique and creative ways to engage your consumers in activities they enjoy is a great way to improve the therapeutic relationship, and participation in take-home exercises. The apps listed in the article are just a way to get you thinking about how you can use mobile technology in your practice.

Feel free to post some of your favorite apps for any cause below!

Rachel Lendzion obtained her MSW from the University of Michigan where she studied Community Organizing and Nonprofit Management. She is strongly interested in the intersection of technology and social change. Her background includes work with transitional aged youth and persons without stable living conditions. She hopes to forward her career through nonprofit development and marketing. You can learn more on her website: www.RachelLendzion.com For regular posts on the use of technology and social work, follow her on Twitter.

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