Can AI Art be Used For Art Therapy?


Futuristic Steampunk Power Plant by u/MacHatter on NightCafe Studio

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Sometimes we need a way to get our thoughts out into the world, but many of us don’t have the skills or way to do it.

AI-generated art has been a growing trend in recent years. It’s often linked to things like NFTs and deep fakes. But, there is one way of using AI art that goes unnoticed – it’s surprisingly therapeutic.

It’s no secret that expressing yourself in healthy ways can help with depression, stress, and other mental health conditions. Now, an easy way to create is a quick Google search away. That’s a huge plus when it comes to AI Art as a form of therapy – it’s so easy to start.

Alien Spaceships, generated by u/MacHatter on NightCafe Studio

Many will say it’s a definite form of art therapy.

AI promptist and NightCafe AI artist MacHatter (AKA Mark) will say the same thing, and proudly. Read on to learn about why he sees AI art as one of the healthiest ways to self-soothe and heal.

“…For me… it’s the instant gratification, the ability to get an outlet of whatever craziness is going on in my head at any given time.”

He continues, “There is no waiting on meds to kick in, or a doctors appointment, or even any self regulation which involves long time scales… These things are time restrictive. A lot of the time when I have a melt down I’m too angry, stressed, agitated and/or frustrated to self regulate, so being able to sit down and just type what’s going on in my head and getting an almost instant visual feedback is great.”

Mark is not alone with his mental health ailments. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness.

One of the goals of art therapy is to delve into your inner thoughts and emotions as part of a creative process. In the context of AI (artificial intelligence)- assisted art therapy, that might be as simple as writing down some of the things you feel in a ‘text prompt’ for the AI, a thought MacHatter echoes below.

A magical tree emerging from within a closed magical leather book, AI generated art by u/MacHatter

“I get instant feedback which has a level of uncertainty and unpredictability which is great as sometimes, when I’m extremely angry, I can get hilarious feedback from my ‘angry man’ prompt and I can go from angry to laughing my head off almost instantly…”

“Getting the constant stream of thoughts out of my head is immensely helpful, relaxing and works as a de-stressor.”

He goes on, “When I’m feeling self destructive, alone, worthless, full of guilt/shame (or any of the other plethora of negative emotions that plague me frequently), I can use AI art to get these destructive images out of my head, which allows me to change my focused thought patterns and allows me to not go too deep where it gets dark and scary.”

Of course, prompt writing isn’t the only way to get the therapeutic benefits from AI art. Many people simply like to see beautiful artworks and get a thrill – even a sense of pride – from the fact that they created it, something they couldn’t have done before.

This is a sentiment Mark echoes, saying “I tried to learn how to draw when I was a teenager… After sometime, I gave up. Now, 35 years later, I have been buying art books, recently bought an Acrylic Art set, and love researching different artists, art styles and even photography to try and get my AI art skills (Prompter/Artist Prompter/Ai Art Prompter – who knows) up to somewhere i can be proud of.”

A stunningly Beautiful Sci-fi Landscape by u/MacHatter 

Does your mental health benefit from using AI art?

We’re interested to know what creative tools, AI or not, you’ve been using to help heal yourself. Let’s uplift each other with our stories down in the comment section, and we hope to see you as a fellow creator on NightCafe Studio!