What is Art Psychotherapy

art therapy, transformation, healing, symbolic communication, awareness, exploration, unconscious


ART AS THERAPY


Art is a different form of communication and some people may find it difficult or challenging to express trauma or their feelings through words. And therefore, expressing their emotions through another creative form such as art, is an alternative way of releasing or understanding further their experiences. Art psychotherapy not only uses the inherent healing power of the creative process but also focuses on the idea that art can be a means of unconscious symbolic communication.


Art as therapy provides us with an external map of our internal selves. The combination of therapy and art provides a multi-sensory experience in which adults; adolescents and children can bond their emotional and logical sides of thinking. Through reflecting on the art product and processes, it becomes possible to increase awareness of the self, and cope better with difficult and challenging experiences.



THERAPEUTIC APPROACH


Art psychotherapy is a semi-structured exploratory approach based on psychodynamic principles. It’s client-led, non-directive and is focused on a strong therapeutic relationship and the development of self-awareness through the creative use of art.


Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde, verbal & emotional abuse, confusion, expression, release. Art by Simrit Singh.


EXPLORATION THROUGH EXPRESSION


Art psychotherapy is an approach to psychotherapy which uses art as its primary mode of communication and can be an invaluable tool for understanding and exploring crucial life transitions, difficult situations, and feelings, which can hard to verbalise. Art images that emerge can be surprising and unsettling, and as such, require care and curiosity, as well as a safe holding space to fully process their meaning. Hence the importance of being provided with a nurturing, clinically sound, safe space where feelings that may threaten to overwhelm and destabilise, are gently processed, so that they become more manageable and less threatening.


The use of art media enables self-exploration and the expression of deep emotions. This enables clients to gain insight into, and a better understanding of themselves, as well as improving mental health and overall well-being.


In a session, various art materials are made available to choose from for drawing, painting or modelling in a safe, confidential and positive environment. No previous experience in art is necessary: all images created are valued as an expression of a state of mind rather than for their aesthetic quality. We also provide support specifically around narcissistic abuse, both in art therapy and in counselling. 

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

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  • Opportunity for safe and contained self-expression.

  • Emotional recognition and regulation​​

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  • Opportunity to communicate, externalise and materialise experiences and feelings that could be otherwise perceived as unbearable or that are difficult to name.

  • The image may aid understanding between current thoughts, feelings and behaviour and the individual's past experiences. ​​

  • Development of emotional resilience, self-esteem and confidence as well as self-awareness and coping skills.

  • Build on strengths, open up and enhance communication.

  • Achievement/regain of personal control or sense of agency. ​

  • Emotional growth, self-esteem, psychological and social integration​