Simply put, art therapy uses creative expression within a therapeutic relationship; the art therapist facilitates a link between creative expression and personal explorations in order to make new insights about the Self.
Art therapy can take many forms, including; drawing, painting, collage, clay and sculpture.
Art Therapy is influenced by psychoanalysis, and art therapists have been inspired by theories such as attachment-based psychotherapy and have developed a broad range of client-centred approaches such as mindfulness, mentalization-based treatments, and compassion-focussed therapy. Exploring the links between neuro-science and art therapy has also been at the forefront of new developments.
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Art Therapy focuses more on the process of creating rather than the resulting image. It is based on the concept that engaging in the creative process, as artistic self-expression, helps people to resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. By expressing yourselves creatively you can gain new perspectives which may originate from unconscious processes. For example, reflecting on what it felt like to create, or why you chose to do it this way?
You do not need to be good at art to use art therapy. Art therapy is not an art class, nor does it aim to increase your art skills or make ‘good’ art.
The focus in art therapy is upon exploring with art materials, your personal problems, your feelings and thoughts. The emphasis is on developing and expressing images that come from inside the person and valuing your own use of the art materials in a form that is meaningful to you. Each participant is provided with a folder to keep their artworks. This will remain safe and confidential with the therapist for the duration of treatment.