Art Therapy encourages self-expression, self-discovery and emotional growth; for these reasons, it has been used in the treatment of mental illness for almost 100 years. As a form of psychotherapy, art therapy often involves both the creation of art and the discovery of its meaning. Individuals are encouraged to visualize, and then create, the thoughts and emotions that they cannot talk about. For other people with mental illness or disabilities, the creative process of art making becomes the therapy. During the 20th century, art therapy was popular as a form of milieu therapy at psychiatric institutions and was an important influence on the development of art therapy in the United States. Milieu therapies focus on putting the patient in a therapeutic social setting that provides opportunities to develop self-confidence and interact with others in a positive way.
Through cultivating the kitchen, garden, educational food shopping experiences, and meal preparation groups, The Cottages programming employs a unique approach in the treatment of mental health disorders. To facilitate restoration of nutritional well-being the art of cooking is making its way into the therapeutic world in the form of Culinary Art Therapy. Its benefits are rich and delicious, and include self-esteem building, enhancing brain development, and helping people connect on a deeper interpersonal level.