~~An Introduction to art therapy by Alison McWhinnie, MA, BAAT, Reg. HCPC~~

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art materials as a primary mode of communication. There is no pressure to be good at art or have previous experience, it’s about developing a personal language with the material and using that to express yourself. A qualified Art Therapist can support and encourage an individual to express some of these difficult feelings, allowing them to be explored in a safe and confidential environment. Therapy can be seen as a journey of self-discovery and its through developing a confidence within that a person may begin to improve their emotional wellbeing.

Who is appropriate for this kind of therapy?

Art therapy can benefit all ages from young people through to the elderly and suitable for a wide range of issues, disabilities and diagnosis. Art therapy might be a good option if someone finds it difficult to talk directly to another, maybe it’s hard to find the right words or maybe those words by themselves are not enough.

How does art therapy work?

Art therapy can be flexible and adaptable to most needs. Art Therapists work with individuals on a one to one basis as well as dyadically where the relationship is explored between two people such as a parent and child.  Art therapy can also be provided for a group of people perhaps focusing on a common issue or experience.

Art Therapy can help children and adults who have:

  • Difficulty understanding their emotions
  • Mental health
  • Behaviour or emotional issues
  • Attachment disorders
  • Developmental disorders
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Experience of abuse

What people say about their experiences of art therapy…. 

Quotes from parents:

“Last week he came home really perky, he was buzzing!”

“I’m too biased as a mum, so it’s nice she has somewhere else to take these feelings, somewhere neutral.”

“He wants to come each week; he calls it his special art time.”

Quote from clients:

“You’ve helped me think about loosing my gran, I still miss her but I know that I’m ok.”

“My session is better than just talking… I get to make stuff.”