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Art Therapy

Dorothy Hayward

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art as another method of communication when words are not enough. It is the use of art materials for self-expression and reflection in the presence of a trained Art Therapist. An Art Therapist is specifically skilled at working with both conscious and unconscious material.

Once you feel safe and secure in the Art Therapy space and you have established a positive therapeutic relationship with the therapist you can begin to express and explore your thoughts and feelings. The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, although Art Therapy differs from other psychological therapies because of the three way process between the therapist, client and art work.

Working with an Art Therapist offers a safe, yet engaging way, to begin to express problems that you may be struggling to talk about; some people may find the art making itself therapeutic. Drawing, painting, creating and playing can help you to express yourself and help relieve difficult or painful feelings and increase general well-being and self-esteem.

Art skills are not taught and no artistic skills are needed, just a willingness and interest in using the materials.

Who Art Therapy can help:

Art Therapists can work with children, young people, adults and the elderly. Clients who can benefit from Art Therapy may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses.

Art Therapy can especially benefit people affected by:

  • a spectrum of emotional and behavioural difficulties including ADHD and Attachment Disorder.
  • Aspergers Syndrome and Autism
  • anger issues, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, confidence problems
  • post traumatic stress disorder and trauma issues
  • life events such as family difficulties, bereavement, abuse or loss
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • learning and physical difficulties
  • eating disorders
  • self harm and suicidal feelings

How Art Therapy works:

  • A safe, accepting non-judgemental environment is created.
  • Art Therapy is usually one to one.
  • A variety of art materials and play materials are available.
  • Art Therapy can be directed by the therapist or non-directive where the client chooses what to do.
  • It is normally once a week at the same time for between forty five minutes and one hour.

Is Art Therapy confidential?:

Everything the client says and does in therapy is private. However, if the therapist has concerns about someone's safety, these concerns will be discussed with parents, carers or relevant professionals.

A registered Art Therapist is someone who has undergone an approved training in Art Psychotherapy at post graduate, MA or MSc level and who is registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).