Home Scrapbook Therapy Therapeutic Scrapbooking - An Art Therapists Perspective

What is Therapeutic Scrapbooking – An Art Therapist’s Perspective

When I tell scrapbookers that I am an Art Therapist, I often get a very excited but puzzled look – “sounds interesting . . . but what do you do?” When I tell Art Therapists that I do Therapeutic Scrapbooking, I get the same puzzled look. Perhaps the scrapbookers are worried that I am about to analyze their layouts (“you mean you used black paper on a page about your mother!”). And perhaps Art Therapists are wondering why I am interested in such a hobby or craft (“it’s not even art!”).

Perhaps there is some misinformation on both sides. Scrapbooking is an art form, and Art Therapists do not analyze people’s work.

Many scrapbookers talk about how scrapbooking is therapeutic for them – often with a glint in their eyes – as if they are trying to explain something they have no words for. And that is what Therapeutic Scrapbooking – and Art Therapy – is about.

Art Therapy is a way for people to express themselves – their emotions, their thoughts and their memories – without words getting in the way. It uses art as the tool or medium for expression. The Art Therapist’s job is to support, encourage, and explore this process with another person. The focus is on the process, not on the finished product. And the Art Therapist does not interpret the colours or symbols that are created.

This is good news for scrapbookers! Think about this – having the freedom to have half-done pages, the freedom to have imperfect pages, and the freedom to express yourself without judgement. That is the freedom that comes with Therapeutic Scrapbooking.

Therapeutic Scrapbooking utilizes a person’s entire brain and actually enhances memory. It stretches creative thinking which overflows into all areas of life. It pairs the right (creative) side of the brain with the left (logical) side of a brain in a very unique way. Therapeutic scrapbooking strengthens visual memory through the use of photos, stabilizes emotions through self-expression, and increases self-esteem.

This unique form of therapy is currently being used with those who have Alzheimer’s disease, those with mental illness, war veterans, refugees, abuse victims, adopted children, and developmentally delayed adults –to name a few.

As a scrapbooker – and an Art Therapist – I am very excited by the research done on the value of Therapeutic Scrapbooking.

Mary Stanwood BAA (ECE), DVATI