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Art therapists help clients to explore their art images, they don't interpret them, though they might describe thoughts and feelings evoked by the image. Since art, in art therapy, is a form of communication rather than something made to look nice or to be appreciated in the art world, the work produced can act as a mirror for clients to see themselves or their experience more clearly.
Alternatively, the arts can be used to express pain and difficulty in a way that can offer a sense of relief and of being understood. For example, bashing clay or scribbling can be a safe way to express anger.
The arts aren't only used to explore and express difficult emotions or experiences. They can be used to explore and record possibilities, joyful emotions and experiences. They can be used to support personal and spiritual development. It is as important to discover joys and positive feelings toward oneself in therapy as it is to express and explore difficulty.
Art therapy can be practiced in a number of different ways. Some therapists focus specifically on the visual arts, while others integrate different art forms.
I am an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, trained to work with all different art forms. I work with painting, drawing, collage, sandplay, clay, puppets, drama, music, movement and creative writing. This means that different art modalities may be offered or suggested in therapy depending on the difficulties being explored, the needs and preferences of clients.
I offer art therapy to both adults and children:
You can learn more about my Environmental Arts Therapy approach here:
I have written more extensively about art therapy, how it is practiced and its benefits in my blog. If you are interested in learning more you might wish to read the following articles:
Art Therapy facilitates communication of feelings and experiences that are difficult to convey in words or too painful to speak out loud.
The arts are on offer but you can always choose whether or not you wish to use them.
There is no need to have any skill or experience with the arts to benefit from art therapy. The aim is to express your thoughts and feelings to the therapist and to reflect on them more clearly yourself.
Meaning can be conveyed through simple illustrations, even just with scribbles or colour.