Learn All About Color Psychology in Therapy & More

Let us teach you what you need to know about color psychology and your therapy clients. Below you will find a guide to reference on color psychology. 

How To Use Color Psychology: 

Believe it or not, color can have a tremendous effect on people. People will respond to color in a positive or negative way and they usually don't even know they are reacting to a color.

Many counselors, or mental health professionals, do not take the time to understand color psychology in therapy, art therapy, sand tray therapy, or play therapy.

Creative counselors use color psychology in many ways. We take mental notes on what colors our clients wear, apply to the art they make in counseling, the feeling cookie they might make, etc.

Every time a client makes a choice (unconscious or conscious) to wear, draw, decorate, or utilize a color it means represents something important to the client. This is called the psychology of color, or color psychology.

Let us teach you how to use the valuable tool of color psychology in art therapy, sand tray therapy, play therapy, talk therapy, and life in general. 

Color Psychology With Creative Counseling 101

Blue: Blue can mean loyalty, peace, sadness, lonely, depression, sincerity, or calmness. It is the opposite color of red and can decreases blood pressure. Blue can also be a manipulative, rigid, and conservative color.

It can represent "feelings" of all types. It can also be responsible and have the ability to problem solve (Think Counselor Personality Type). It is the color of the ocean and sky, which represents peace.

Wear blue to a job interview. It will make the person interviewing you believe you are sincere and loyal. One can be more productive in a blue room. People can lift more weights in a blue room. Blue makes one stronger.

Blue food is real a turn off to the reptile, or ancient part of the brain. It can symbolize rotten or poisonous food to the psyche. Most adults will shy away from blue food. Children will often try blue food or candy because it is different.

Red: This color can mean love, courage, luck, danger, vitality, and passion. It will increase your blood pressure. Red is an intense color.

People who wear red get noticed immediately. It is a power color as well. Men where red ties to symbolize power. In Spain, red is the symbol that makes the bull angry and want to attack the matador (This is a myth, as bulls are color blind).

Red can also aid in digestion. In China red means “good luck.” It is aggressive, yet sensuous and can make people increase impulse purchases. Watch out for red in advertising at the mall!

Avoid red if you have a difficult meeting or need to confront someone. Wear red if you need to get noticed. Red is the symbol or the heart and love.

Red shoes can be associated with "hookers" or "The Wizard of Oz".

Orange: Orange symbolizes activity, boldness, and overbearing behavior. Orange means fun or the need to have fun. It increases social interaction, extroversion, and pleasure seeking behavior.

It can also symbolize “cheap or inexpensive products” with marketing. Orange can mean "risk taking". People with "orange personalities" will wear this color.

Yellow: Yellow means happiness warmth, cheer, happiness, or positive thinking. It can sharpen the memory and help with digestion.

Yellow stimulates the appetite. It can symbolize caution and discrimination. The color yellow can cause arguments and debates to heat up. People get angrier in yellow rooms.

Yellow can overpower the eye and confuse people. Babies do not like to be in a yellow rooms. They will cry more. Yellow can offer a lot of energy.

Green: Green can symbolize growth. It is also a symbol for nature. Green can be a calming color. People on T.V. sit in “green rooms” to calm down before going on TV. People love to stare at the color green.

Green can also symbolize the environment. It is the color of higher learning and knowledge. It can also symbolize wealth, jealousy, and envy. Hospitals use green to paint their walls to calm patients down.

Green can mean a person who is new at something. Green personality types are often looked at as "non-emotional, but calm." Usually, only the green personality types will wear green.

Purple / Violet: This color can symbolize royalty and elegance. It can decrease blood pressure. It can symbolize the divine and also creativity.

To wear violet means you have a high self-esteem (that day). In the old days only royalty could wear purple. People who were not royal and wore purple could be executed. Purple can also mean someone is “fake or artificial.”

Pink: This color symbolizes emotions. It can increase your sweet tooth and make you crave sweets. It also can decrease aggression.

It is a friendly color and often preferred by the female population. Pink can be protective. Wear pink to a difficult meeting if you need some protection. Pink is romantic. However, pink can make one loose energy.

Black: This color can mean mystery, mourning, fear, elegance (think Coco Chanel), and uncertainty. Black can also mean “submission”.

It can also mean power, aloofness, dignity, death, or difficulty. The color black can drain energy. However, it can make you look thinner. Villains often wear black to induce fear.

Black can symbolize a mystery or a dark tunnel. Black blocks light.

Brown: This color is considered a neutral. It can symbolize nature and the earth. It is often considered dull, boring, sturdy, and conservative. It can also symbolize sadness.

White: White can mean spirituality, purity, innocence, angelic like, and hope. It can also mean enlightenment and individualism. It can add ten pounds when you wear it and you may be thought of as someone in the clinical profession such as a nurse or doctor. Brides wear white as a symbol of being pure.

White can symbolize sterile or clean.

Gray: This color can symbolize mourning, grief, and depression. It can also mean disciplined and stable, but guarded. Gray can make one appear dreary if not worn correctly. Most people wear gray when they do not want to be noticed. Grey blends in. It is the color one gets when you mix all the colors together.

Notes about Color Psychology:

Color psychology can be different from person to person. Each culture can bring in a different perspective on color psychology. Creative counselors always allow the client to translate what the color means to them.

Use this with caution. It is only a guide to what the possible majority might think of color psychology.

Color Psychology to Creative Counseling 101 Home

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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed  mental health professional immediately.

"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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