Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that allows visual expression of thoughts, feelings and experiences through the art-making process, alongside your therapist.
Creating images and artwork can be a way to give form to past or present experiences that are otherwise difficult to communicate solely in words. It does not require any previous experience or expertise in art. However, it may open an opportunity to explore your own creativity.
The therapy space has a range of art materials for creative exploration such as paint, drawing materials (pastels, pens, pencils etc), clay, papers and other mixed media/objects. In art therapy you may use the materials in whichever way you wish as emphasis is placed on the journey and not only the final creation. You may not wish to make images every session and so there is also space to simply talk if you prefer. There are no assumptions imposed upon the images you make, instead you will work together to identify what meaning they hold for you.
Through the development of a trusting and reliable relationship with your therapist, the sessions can help to make sense of confusing or distressing feelings, bring attention to unconscious aspects of ourselves and offer new perspectives on our experiences. In doing so, this may help to resolve difficulties and assist with making the changes to move forward.
Art therapy is primarily a psychodynamic practice, which means there is focus on how early experiences can presently influence our unconscious behaviours. This approach aims to enhance self-awareness by making sense of these connections and offers the opportunity to work through them.
To learn more about art therapy visit British Association of Art Therapists