What do the colors in art therapy and color therapy mean? The cheat sheet below will help you translate colors in art therapy and color psychology. This can also be used with Shelter House Therapy.
The Color Blue in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Blue is the color of dreams as it moves down the color spectrum. It is also the coldest of all the colors.
Light blue is the color of meditation and peacefulness. It moves from the light to the darkness in color, symbolizing the daylight and the night sky.
This spectrum of blue can symbolize the consciousness moving to the unconsciousness mind. It is the color of truth, wisdom, heaven, devotion, loyalty, creativity, loyalty, and eternity.
Blue can also symbolize the spiritual side of a person. It can mean sadness, despair, and depression. Dark blue can symbolize emptiness within.
Light blue can signify peace and serenity. Look at the spectrum of the color when working with art therapy clients. Is the color a dark blue, medium blue, or light blue?
The Color Orange in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Orange is found somewhere in the color spectrum between yellow and red.
With a vast spectrum orange lies somewhere between the spirit and libido. A symbol of fidelity, an emblem of lust and infidelity.
Due to this symbol of lust and infidelity it can also symbolize fertility. It may also be a symbol of the ritual of an orgy, or inappropriate sexual activities.
On the flip side orange can symbolize health and prosperity. If you have a client, or student with severe issues the chances of any orange colors symbolizing health and prosperity might be low.
When I see this color I might seek more information that could suggest sexual abuse in the past, or present. One of my clients drew orange people and filled in the blue shelter house with shades of orange in the background.
She had been placed in foster care and there was a suspicion of sexual abuse from the foster care worker. The drawings and especially the color suggested sexual abuse.
The Color Red in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Red is the color of fire and hell. This color signifies anger, danger, force, passion, aggression, power, courage, violence, blood, and sometimes sexual impulse.
A client or student that picks a red house might be angry or witnessing anger from others in the home. Be open to the possibilities of domestic violence and danger within the home if this color is chosen, especially if the client or student does not admit to being angry. It can also be the symbol for luck and love.
The Color Black in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Jung called it the “shadow” (the dark part of the self), is a symbol of death, mourning, danger, mystery.
It is also the color of fear. When a client or student choses this house look for a deep fear that might be hiding in the subconscious mind.
The Color Grey in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Gray can indicate mourning, depression, illness, and confusion. It can also mean a client, or student, is feeling isolated. In nature it is the color of ashes.
The color grey can suggest sadness, melancholy, and boredom in a client, or student. Grey can also signify the unknown, the unconscious / subconscious mind similar to mist coving up a view, or fog covering up a road.
The Color Green in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Green is the combination of blue in yellow, yet it pairs with red. Look at the colors of Christmas, a red rose in green leaves.
Green is also the color of hope, nature, creativity, serenity, strength, longevity, immortality, wealth, wisdom, knowledge, jealousy, independence and the environment.
It can also suggest some type of transformation in the client or student. It can also suggest that someone is over controlling.
It might also be an indicator that someone is trying to establish independence, or recognition. Green is the color of water and plant life.
The awakening of life and spring is tied to the color green. The color “light green can signify anxiety”. Look for a possible “hidden knowledge” from the client or student.
The Color Yellow in Art Therapy & Color Therapy: Yellow, like many colors, has positive and negative meanings. It can symbolize energy, action, happiness, wisdom, intellect and agility.
Faith and intelligence can also be found in the meaning of yellow. Yellow can symbolize the eternal life which stems from the life on earth given by the sun.
It can also mean deceit, betrayal, or adultery. Throughout history cowards and traitors have been branded with the color yellow. Yellow is the brightest and hottest of all the colors on the spectrum.
It can be intense and sometimes violent color. Cruelty and deceit hold meaning in the negative terms of yellow. It can also mean old age and approaching death.
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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