1.What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses creative expression as the central means to explore a person’s experience. Various modalities can be used: painting and drawing, sculpture, writing, dance, drama or music.
It is a client-focused model of therapy. I companion you, exploring your world.
Art Therapy is an alternative to traditional ‘talk therapy’, often used by psychologists and psychiatrists. Art Therapy helps us uncover life patterns (positive or negative) by allowing us to gently explore questions or challenges we are facing.
Art therapy is a reflective practice and most people find art making is immersive, helping them feel calm and connected. It allows you to re-engage your creative and playful self.
Art Therapy helps those in grief and loss, with mental health challenges such as Anxiety and Depression and those wishing to gain more self-awareness, confidence, and better relationships.
2. What is the different between Art Classes and Therapeutic Arts Practice (Art Therapy)?
Art making is fun and creative. It’s often also relaxing and absorbing. Art classes and workshops teach a certain art making skill or craft (i.e. watercolour painting, mosaic, felting etc.). The focus is on the outcome – a beautiful picture or sculpture or learning a new skill that can be applied to creating in the future.
Art Therapy focuses on process. Art Therapy seeks to closely examine what has been made in order to make meaning of our life and our experiences. It actually lies closer to a counselling process than an artistic one.
We reflect and talk together in the sessions. Art therapists do not give advice, interpret art or make judgements. We ask ourselves at the end of the session, “What do I know now, that I didn’t know before the session began?” as a way of learning and growing.
I believe, both practices have therapeutic outcomes. Many art therapists use an art making approach as they can come from an artistic background such as fine arts or teaching.
I focus on Art Therapy rather than art making, as my background is in Psychology, community work, mental health and crisis intervention.
3. Is Art Therapy right for me?
Lots of people come to the process with a love of art, writing or dance and want to use something that they are familiar with, to explore their questions and challenges further.
However, many people try Art Therapy without any art making experience or skill. They are up for something that challenges or lifts them out of their comfort zone. They may have tried other therapies and not found something that is helpful for them.
Those who find verbal communication difficult are also drawn to art therapy. Thus, I work with many clients who find socialising or expressing themselves a challenge (such as clients with limited verbal ability due to disability, those who have been shut down with Trauma and Crisis, and those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Children find art therapy a non-confronting method of getting support and strategies. They are usually very comfortable with art making as a medium of expression.
The only way to find out is to give it a try! In one introductory session, you will find out if it suits you. Although 4-6 sessions will help learn a process that will give you further insight and strategies for dealing with problems. If you’re not sure if it’s right for you, feel free to contact me for a discussion and I can answer your specific questions or concerns.
4. What is a session like?
An initial session is 1 hr and 15 mins. Currently sessions are held at a home studio in Busselton, in South West Western Australia.
I briefly touch base before the session to find out if you have initial interests (such as writing or painting). When you arrive I will have some art materials set up for use and we may talk initially (10mins or so) about the issues or topic you want to explore. Then, once a modality is chosen, we create for about 20-30mins or until a piece feels finished.
We may stop and chat, switch to try another art material and generally have a play with what materials you are drawn to. Sometimes we create something complex that we like and interests us. Sometimes the process comes slowly and it may take some time to find our way. Either way is normal!
At the end of a session we might write a reflective statement or discuss some conclusions that have been uncovered in the process. Sometimes, 2 sessions may be needed to fully cover a topic, so we may finish off, add to or change our original artwork in a later sessions Therapists often journal in a session, or afterwards in reflection. On-going work is encouraged and sometimes new understandings come after a session. It’s important to keep a record on your findings, new ways being or healing realisations.
Hopefully, through your sessions feeling states may lift or ease. Sometimes we have big awakenings about own behaviours and patterns from our perception of our experience or from our family of origin’s history and learning. Sometimes we find out we are simply OK as we are, and we sit with ACCEPTANCE.
Most find a reduction in anxiety, rumination, or feel reinvigorated after feeling depleted or stuck. I encourage an outing of internal negative messaging and encourage self love and acceptance. We look for places to feel gratitude. We investigate ways to invite more calm or focus, depending on need.
As a formal Mediator and worker with Families in Conflict, Divorce and Family Violence, I help individuals resolve relationship trauma and set goals for healthier intimate relationships.
5. What to people say about a session or Workshop?
“Great for opening my mind for other ways of expressing myself”
“Awareness and Permission”
[I was]“Challenged, encouraged, relaxed”.
It’s “fun, inspiring”!
6. Do you see Children?
Yes, I work with children from 8yrs + and work with clients who identify as having disabilities.
7. Do I need to be good at Art?
Absolutely not. I work with complete novices, as well as highly creative people. We are not concentrating on gaining artistic skills, rather finding out more about ourselves.
I am not a visual artist. My personal means of creative expression are dance, movement and writing.
You may find a skill you never knew you have. You will definitely explore with materials and techniques and may later go off to do art or dance workshops as you also discover a new interest or hobby through Art Therapy.
8. What does it cost?
My sessions with Adults are $60p/hr and with children $45/hr. Siblings are welcome to come together for $75 for 1.5hrs. Art Therapy is not currently covered by the Medicare Rebate. Payment is made on the day with cash or bank transfer.
9. Do I need a referral?
No, you do not need to be referred by a doctor to book an appointment.