Art Therapy: Individual sessions and groups
What happens in a session?
When you begin working with a therapist, unless it is a drop in group, you will begin by having a meeting to discuss your personal history, resources and goals. You will decide whether the therapist is a good fit for you. Art therapists follow the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) Ethical guidelines and all notes will be kept confidential unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.
In an individual session, you will be invited into a studio space and have access to a range of materials (paints, pastels, coloured pencils, recycled materials, clay, fabric, collage images) to create a piece of art. Sessions are led by you but I can offer suggestions or a starting point. We will then spend time looking at it and exploring associations, feelings and narratives that emanate from the art. I will not judge or analyze your art but provide a safe space for us to explore it. Sessions will last an hour to an hour and a half and will take place weekly.
In a group session, there may be a theme or activity that has been chosen for the group. You may be asked to respond to this or make spontaneous art. The group will take time following this to explore associations, what it was like to make, personal narratives and experience. Sessions will last for 2 hours and will take place weekly for 6 weeks.
Art therapy can be an amazing way to see things from a different perspective, make sense and integrate things, improve self-esteem and self-confidence, work through issues such as illness, divorce, grief or addiction, learn and practise coping skills, reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness and self discovery and empower yourself to live the life you want.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a way of exploring ideas and feelings which may be difficult to articulate or understand. It brings together the creative process and psychology to explore feelings, gestures, thoughts and ideas. Different materials are used to externalise what is internal and examine it, exploring and healing those parts.
But I'm not an artist....
Many people feel that art therapy is only for artists but it is effective for people of any age. Most people haven't made art since they were a child but in art therapy no artistic skills are required. It is about the process of art making rather than the product itself and there is no right or wrong way to make art. Art therapy is incredibly powerful way to explore yourself and access the unconscious, healing parts of yourself that may have been forgotten or repressed as well as see things from a different perspective.
An art therapist works with individuals (children and adults), couples, families or groups in settings such as counselling agencies, schools, treatment centres, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, correctional institutes and elder care locations. You may choose to do art therapy in a group setting or individually depending on your goals and needs.
My approach is to journey alongside the client and follow their lead, asking questions that promote insight and awareness.
I usually work with a client for a minimum of 6 sessions, using goals that were established in the intake meeting to guide the process. At the end of 6 weeks we (the client and/or the parents) reflect on what has been accomplished and resolved.