10 Fun Careers in Medicine

Art Therapist
Art therapy in use in a psychiatric day care center in Haute Savoie, France. © AMELIE-BENOIST/BSIP/BSIP/Corbis

German researchers have discovered, in a small-scale study, that making art might help retirees delay age-related cognitive decline, and even to become more resilient [source: Bolwerk]. And it's not the only health benefit our artistic expressions provide for us. Expressing ourselves through the visual arts helps people heal their minds and our bodies.

Creating art changes your biochemistry. It encourages the brain to release feel-good endorphins (along with other neurotransmitters), and that gives your mental and physical health a boost — everything from lowering blood pressure and managing stress to improving your mood and increasing brain function. Art therapists are experts not only in the creative arts and process, but also in human development and psychotherapy. They guide patients and clients in tasks like drawing, painting or sculpting to help them nonverbally explore their grief or trauma (including post-traumatic stress), their depression and other psychological and emotional problems — including problems associated with developmental, physical and neurocognitive disorders.