How Does Art Therapy Heal the Soul? | The Science of Happiness

Participant 1: Hm, what is going on? This
is so weird! Participant 2: It was so fun! Julian: Art, the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. That
is how it is defined in the dictionary of my Macbook. You probably heard the term art
therapy thrown around before but today we’re honing on a new type of art therapy designed
exclusively to focus in on positive emotions, personal control, and a sense of meaning.
Now you can get the down low on it here, but full disclosure, watching us test it out ourselves
is gonna be more entertaining. Plus, I have my own art therapist!
Pamela: Hey how are you doing? Julian: I’m good, I’m good, how are you?
Pamela: I’m good Julian: Great! Welcome. Pamela is a registered
and board certified art therapist with the American Art Therapy Association. So, can
flexing your artistic muscles really make you happier? Let’s find out!
Once again we brought in a selection of subjects. Now first we gave them a test to measure their
current level of happiness. Participant 3: I nailed it!
Julian: You’re not done yet, no there’s more. Next we asked them to write a list of things
in their life that made them feel happier or supported.
Then we had them assign a color to themselves and each of the things on their list.
P3: I’m just gonna write ladies. Pamela: [laughs] That works.
Julian: I don’t think there’s any misinterpreting that.
It felt like the right time to rope them into doing something creative, so we traced a life-sized
outline of their body, and told them to fill it in with the different colors depending
on where it resonated for them. We told them to put a circle in the center that represented
themselves. Now they hadn’t realized it, but we put them in a reflective state of mind
and in order to complete the exercise, they had to really focus on how each person or
thing contributed to their life. Pamela: So, what was that like for you?
Participant 4: Oh I loved it! I love art and I love to paint, I used to paint when I was
a little girl with my grandma. Pamela: Oh you did?
P4: I just think about my grandma a lot. She taught me how to paint.
Pamela: I noticed the first thing you put in there was the purple to represent, is that
mom? Participant 5: My mom, yeah, she’s like on
the shoulder kinda area I guess? My mom actually, I remember when she used to rub my shoulders
whenever I would be sick as a kid. Pamela: Out of all of these things, what are
you most passionate about? Participant 6: Um, well of course my family.
I have seven children and they’re spread all over. There are three in California and I
rarely get to see them, so I have to say that my family is my passion.
Pamela: Orange, what is orange? P3: Orange is ladies.
Pamela: The ladies. P3: Yeah, I’ve always had an interesting relationship
with women over the course of my life. When I was young, I was always the class clown
and it was always difficult for me to connect with women because they wanted a serious man
in their life but I was always trying to make them laugh. So they were always unattainable
presence in my life. Like I was never able to have a girlfriend when I was a kid so,
I feel like that has always been a hurdle that needs to be dealt with.
Pamela: Right. P3: So when you look at me you just see wow
that man is very emotional and very passionate about a plethora of different things.
P2: I see a paint representation of my personality. Pamela: The first thing you put on here was
your dad. P3: My dad has always been the one that’s
been there my whole life. I’m a daddy’s girl for sure.
Pamela: How is he there for you? P3: My gosh, I have to be careful what I say
around him. Like, when I say “I broke my pencil today” I’ll have 24 packs of pencils on my
doorstep the next day. Every time I’m on the phone with my dad present day, he’s like,
“well just in case I’m not around tomorrow” you know, stuff like that.
Pamela: Is that hard sometimes for you, when he makes a joke out of something so big.
P3: Yes, but it’s just like that. P1: The one right in the middle, um, is my
mom. What is going on? This is so weird! [laughs] Yeah, cause I think just looking at this,
you know she really is like my core. She’s like the foundation upon which everything
else is kind of been built upon, so she’s been the example through that kind of guides
me to even be able to assess where everything lies so my mom, yeah.
Julian: So, what did we find out. Well, we saw an average increase in happiness 8.1%
with the highest just being 36.7%. What does this mean? Well, Picasso once said, “Art washes
away from the soul the dust of everyday life” and I am starting to think that dude was on
to something. When you engage yourself artistically and use your imagination, you can help regulate
your blood pressure and your heart rate. Now I know what you’re thinking. I’m not an artist.
Well don’t worry, you don’t need to know a thing about art to do this. I’m not an artist
myself and I did the experiment. You can check it out in a special bonus episode we have
next. So why don’t you try this out for yourself. Film it and upload it to us as a video response.
Check this out, I even made a PDF of a body that you can use just for your experiment.
Just the kind of guy I am! I’m Julian, and this has been The Science of Happiness. SoulPancake


  1. Could the increase in happiness be caused by simply doing something as fun as painting? If yes, then that might be the main reason for that increase in happiness. But I still think that what you're doing is amazing, love you guys. <3 

  2. I must point out the potential positive effect of the art therapist supporting and connecting with the painters. And, the benefit of the make up artist's attention pampering them before hand, and the camera operators focusing on them, etc.
    Art is amazing, but so is human attention.

  3. I got the pleasure to meet Mike, Matt, and Julia this weekend! It was awesome!

    Is there any way I could get some references for some of this research?

  4. Jonathan Meese said that art must rule the world.
    News From Betty, Insights into Mental Illness
    My book has 708 pages

  5. First of all im obbssed with you channel……and this video is perfection and it inspired me to do it for a school thing and i really need the study that you relyed on but i cant find the link for it soooooo can you please please please send me the link!!!

  6. hello . people forget how easy art is , because they live in a complicated state of nurtured mind . . free conscious daze playing has many pleasant ways of trance forming  quiet natural communication .with regards .

  7. I am dance therapist  and did art therapy for years. Now I am sick and  I do dance therapy and art therapy on myself
    That is works! It is a really interesting method to be on both side of a therapeutic relation! Self help therapy

  8. I'm sorry to bother but english is not my language, can you write me down the second assignment please. Thank you very much 🙂

  9. Hi ! I´m from Argentina!!! Awsome!!!!! You are great!!! I work with Bach Flowers and I´d love to do that!!!! thanks

  10. art is just one escape for your mind out of many things,could be reading , gaming,hunting, or whatever time alone a person needs…from normal life….as you get older you find yourself harder pressed to do the things that make you relax most

  11. Art Therapy is brilliant…..I've been working as a Transpersonal Art therapist for the past 12 or so years with great success with my clients. I can honestly say that for me, Art has saved my life… has been a thread throughout my entire life and I am truly grateful for that…………………….and being an artist is not a prerequisite what so ever….that is not the point at all as you pointed out….

  12. I tried clicking on the book icon to get redirected to the source of the study and it didn't work. What exactly is the name of the study and how can I get more info? Also, where can I get the questionnaire? (I am an AT student and want to know more)

  13. Hey guys,

    Great video.
    Very interesting and cool.
    Great to see the people become so happy so easily.

    That study link doesn't seem to work for me.
    Can you post a link please?


  14. There's something seriously profound about making art during the best and worst times of your life. Something ppl are only scratching the surface on.

  15. Hi, I would love to use a capture of this video as the image for an Art Therapy event here in Ecuador. Who should I ask permission for these?

  16. Julian and the crew of Soul Pancake and all the people working on this "The Science of Happiness" project, Thank you! You guys are like my online best friends who cheer me up at the hardest times. Thank you a lot for making these videos, you guys have no idea, how much it means to me. Love you all <3

  17. did i miss something, but how are those colors representing their parents and how are they drawing them first? I must have skipped something huh?

  18. Guys … THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for making all of this and the information with us for free! Wow! #journalinspiration

  19. hey my intended major for college this coming fall! (was watching vids on your channel and clicked this as fast as I saw it)

  20. I'm training to be an art therapist right now, and yea, it's pretty amazing what art can do for people! Love that Picasso quote

  21. i was diagnosed a right before my divorce with ptsd… art helps relax me, but doesnt help at all with what i have been through

  22. HGFNB HGHGHNGHNGHNGHNHGNHNG arhjhjhjrralhjkrhjklarehljkarhljarlhjrlahjarhj hjkrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggjhbhkklklstrtrtrtrtrtrtrtrklklörlkörlkölkötlkkjnm,nm,nmn,m,mnnmhghm,h,nmgh,nmghnm,h,

    That's my take on abstract and expressive art. I'd personally rate it a 7/10 because peiojåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåäåä

    it's a 10/10 now since the description is part of the art piece.
    Thank you.

  23. Cool video. I have a video called "The Cartoon Years" for anyone looking for a type of Art Therapy, whether you dislike or like it.

    Relax and Peace.

  24. Does anyone happen to know if I can still become an art therapist despite my current bachelors being in Illustration? I’ve heard so many mixed answers saying I need a BA in Psychology and others said I only needed 12 undergraduate credits but I’d like to get further opinions on this. Love the video too 🙂

  25. I would love to incorporate this in my Mindful Art Unit (middle school art class). What was the survey or activity prior to the painting?

  26. So love this. Sharing with my peeps! I have taught art for many years, and although I am not a "Therapist," I've witnessed so many examples of souls laid bare from just making some art.

  27. This is awesome! Are you able to share the assessment tool you used to evaluate participant's happiness levels?

  28. If you want a relaxing creative anti-stressing and anti-anxiety activity try coloring! You will love my newly published coloring book Hearts and Flowers for sale on! The purchase link is in the video description! Go to my video here:

  29. "Art washes away from the soul, the dusts of everyday life."

    That hit me, I'm just 18 and since I was a kid, I'm an art enthusiast, and I want to share how art help me cope with life.
    Thank you!

  30. @t has a FREE Art therapy course. I took it. Loved it! @t.
    FREE! Because part of minimalism to me is not to have to pay. To fill
    out forms, get money, get credit, get accepted at the school/university.
    All that is stress!

  31. @t has a FREE Art therapy course. I took it. Loved it! @t.
    FREE! Because part of minimalism to me is not to have to pay. To fill
    out forms, get money, get credit, get accepted at the school/university.
    All that is stress!

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published