What is Art Psychotherapy?
Art Psychotherapy is a form of Psychotherapy that uses a mix of talking and art making. Clients who are referred to an Art Psychotherapist need not have previous experience or skill in art as the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim of its practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.
You do not need to be good at art as it is not an art class. The aim is not to increase your art skills or make finished pieces of art for exhibiting. You may talk with me about your personal problems, your artwork and your feelings and thoughts. Art Psychotherapy benefits clients by helping them express and contain potentially disturbing issues in a way they can manage. I will not be analysing your art work without your involvement. The aim is for us to work together, using the art you make to think about what is happening for you personally. Sometimes this can be very moving, or even upsetting for a while. Art Psychotherapy can support most life issues.
The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but Art Psychotherapy differs from other psychological therapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the image or artefact. Thus it offers the opportunity for expression and communication and can be particularly helpful to people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.
Anything that is said in our sessions together is confidential, including the images you have made. I ask you to keep your artwork with me for the duration of your treatment. You can take your work with you at the end of treatment if you wish. Otherwise I will keep your artwork for a period of three years after which it will be disposed of confidentially.
Sessions are once a week, we will arrange a specific time for you, which will then be the same each week. Regularity and continuity are important for the work and underline the commitment you have made to yourself.
Ending therapy is something we can decide together when the time is right. You have the right to take a break or terminate therapy at any time, but I encourage you to discuss this with me so that our work together can come to a satisfactory end.
Art Psychotherapists have a considerable understanding of art processes underpinned by a sound knowledge of therapeutic practice and psychology and work with both individuals and groups. Art Psychotherapists are registered with the Health Professions Council.
Art Psychotherapists work with a whole spectrum of clients and within a variety of settings (NHS, private or voluntary sectors), for example: adult mental health, learning disabilities, child and family centres, palliative care, the prison service, mainstream primary and secondary schools, hospices and voluntary agencies and in Private Practice.