Art Therapy encourages individuals to express and understand their emotions through artistic expression and the creative process. I provide a safe and confidential space which allows individuals to heal and make sense of what is happening for them in their lives. It provides an approach to processing challenges through the use of various art materials while facilitating communication on verbal and non-verbal levels. It’s a client-centred approach that grants individuals the freedom to be themselves without facing evaluation.
What Does an Art Therapist Do?
Art therapists are trained in both therapy and art. They have studied Psychology and may have experience and training in both mental health and Psychotherapy. Art therapists can work with people of all ages and gender. They can help an individual, a couple, a family, or groups of people through the use of art as a form of expression. Often Art Therapist operate our of a private clinical setting where they meet with individuals or groups, but also can be found in some school, universities, and/or hospitals as well.
Art therapists are trained to pick up on the nonverbal symbols and images that are expressed through ones art during the creative process. It is these very images and symbols that one may often have a hard time communicating verbally or articulating into words. It is through this process that the individual and family really begin to see the effects of art therapy and the discoveries that can be made.
Before meeting for the first time, I like to hold a 30 minute phone consultation with either the individual or caregiver regarding what they hope to get from Art Therapy. There is a phone assessment in which I go through prior to commencing treatment.
I start off all my sessions with a relaxation or guided imagery technique depending on what the individual is coming in for. Once this piece has been completed, I move into the art component of the session session which is tailored to suit the person or people in which I am meeting with. Afterwards I do a gentle debrief with the individual pertaining to the piece they have created. I then provide feedback to either the individual directly or the caregiver, depending on preference and circumstances.
Who Uses Art Therapy?
Anyone can! Art therapy can effectively treat people of all ages.
Common uses of art therapy may include:
- Individuals who are under significant amount of stress or pressure at home, in relationships, or at work.
- Individuals with mental health problems
- Individuals with learning disabilities or difficulties
- Individuals or young adults having problems in school (i.e. bullying, peer pressure, etc.)
- Individuals with personal problems (i.e. low self esteem/self confidence)
- Individuals with more serious issues (i.e. autism, brain injuries, eating disorders, cancer, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, etc.)
- Individuals who feel they are without any real challenges or problems but would like to get to know themself on a deeper level while increasing their awareness.
In essence, anyone can use Art Therapy. Art, in and of itself, can be healing. It has healing properties that allows one to relieve themselves of various emotions while making sense of them at the same time.
Key Benefits of Art Therapy:
- It has an ability to facilitate positive perspectives on one’s life.
- Allows one to gain a deeper understanding of their feelings and emotions.
- Capable of promoting a sense of personal independence, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency.
- Helps one work through difficult life experiences/transitions.
- Allows one to verbally and nonverbally communicate emotions that might otherwise be abandoned or sealed.
- Helps one reduce and manage stress and anxiety while developing self awareness.
- It encourages the development of healthy coping strategies.
- Allows for freedom of expression with better insight.
- Stimulates part of the brain that is often not used in everyday life.
- Promotes relaxation.
- Helps with symptom management.
- Uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance ones physical, mental, and emotional well being.