Art Therapy is a form of psychological therapy that combines hands-on art making, image appreciation & conversation to achieve a sense of well-being.
The emphasis is on the process of creating, expressing, communicating and meaning making. It is not about creating a pleasing end product. Sometimes there is no art making and people prefer to talk, this is okay too.
Art making can be meditative and relaxing, as well as therapeutic. Working with a therapist can provide people with an opportunity to repair relational patterns and have a different experience of how their creative expression is received in the world. People get to literally re-draw their narrative, which can lead to a rich experience of choice in meaning making.
Art Therapy is recognised as an Allied Health service and recognised through the World Health Organisation as being beneficial in supporting and improving mental and psychological wellbeing. Art therapy also has great value in the disability sector.
No art experience is necessary.
Art therapy differs to talking therapies in that there is focus on the process. The whole brain is engaged along with the body, emotions, thoughts and sensory information.
Art therapy informs us in ways word can't. It's as simple as making marks on a paper to express an attitude or emotion. This is a bit like making a map of what is happening internally and sharing it with the art therapist. By externalising the issue/feeling and “seeing” it, we can change the relationship with the problem and get a different perspective.
Art allows us to communicate in the rich language of colour and imagery; this is utilized and explored in a therapeutic setting. This is particular useful when recovering from trauma. Art therapy is known to improve mental health.
Materials such as paint, clay, pastels, crayons, found objects, textiles, poetry, collage, myths, movement and music are used to access healing.
Art making can feel challenging to some people. However, there is no need to be 'an artist' or make a piece of art for art therapy to be effective. Art therapy is a process based modality, which means it not about the outcome, but what happens along the way. Talk therapy and exploring through gentle, guided inquiry are all part of the art therapists tool box.
Beneficial in individual, coup and group sessions.