What is Art Therapy?
You don’t have to be ‘good at art’ to benefit from Art Therapy! All you need is a willingness to have a go at using art materials.
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy and is about using art materials as a different way of expressing yourself. Using art materials can be like finding another way of talking – for example you can ‘say’ things in paint which are too difficult to put into words, things you have forgotten about or have felt too afraid to express elsewhere.
Anything you do (a scribble, drawing, painting) has meaning. The therapist will help you explore your work and find its meaning with you. Art Psychotherapy is not reliant on words but talking about your pictures and what they mean to you can make it possible to gain more understanding of yourself, your feelings, relationships, any problems and what you can do to change them.
Using art materials can be therapeutic in itself by releasing tension, helping concentration, raising self confidence and building on skills.
Who is it for?
There are no hard and fast rules about who can benefit from Art Therapy.
It can be particularly useful for people who find it difficult to express themselves in words or alternatively find they hide their feelings by talking.
What is needed is the willingness to have a go, to find out if it could be a useful way for you to express yourself and share your thoughts and feelings.
As in any psychodynamic therapy expressing painful experiences/feelings through art or words can be distressing and sometimes it is possible to feel worse before you feel better.
What happens in a session?
Sessions can look very different depending on your need. This is your time, time set aside for you, depending on how you feel in each session. You will have an hour to choose to be quiet and use the art materials or talk while you are making, or just talk. You may in some sessions need to be more interactive with the therapist to reflect on art work made, exploring thoughts and feelings or exploring solutions. There is no set way, it’s what works for you.
What feedback will I get?
In all art therapy sessions there is an opportunity to talk about your art work and share feelings and thoughts about problems with the Art Therapist. After you have attended a number of Art Therapy sessions there will be an opportunity to review your art work done in the sessions and decide what is the next step.