Creative Arts Therapy is a process in which you are invited express your inner world (thoughts, feelings and emotions) through pictures rather than words. Unlike traditional art-making, however, the focus is on the process rather than the end result, with scribbles and random marks being of equal if not greater importance to the final, complete images.
Creative Arts Therapy is particularly effective when feelings are too difficult to talk about and the process of unlocking the unconscious mind’s wisdom often makes verbal expression more accessible.
Creative Arts Therapy uses art-making – painting, drawing, model-making, collage, journaling, poetry and writing, etc… to facilitate the externalisation of inner thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain unexpressed. Previous experience and skill are unimportant as the focus ‘is’ the process and ‘not’ aesthetic merit.
It can benefit people of all ages – children, adolescents and adults, and help with a diversity of emotional and physical issues.
Visual expression has been utilised for healing throughout history, but art therapy did not emerge as a distinct profession until the 1940s, where initial studies were confined to the fields of psychiatry and education.
Since then it has become a popular form of therapy, practiced in a variety of environments.
Today, art therapy programmes are utilised in hospitals, clinics and rehabilitations centers alongside the more traditional talk therapies, underscoring the recognition that the creative process of art-making enhances recovery, health and wellness.
Key theorists (both past and present) include Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Paolo Knill, Shaun McNiff, Natalie Rogers and Stephen K. Levine.
Sometimes feelings are too difficult to talk about, even with a therapist. The process of art therapy can make verbal expression less intimidating and painful and create pathways of understanding in order to render the incomprehensible comprehensible and the inaccessible accessible in a non-invasive way.
The artwork produced exists in the external world, but it is endowed with meaning and significance from the maker’s internal world. The symbolic quality of imagery, metaphor and spontaneous expression then work to encourage the exploration of ideas, feelings and issues evoked by the art-making process itself.
Creative Arts Therapy promotes healthy living and wellness by providing an opportunity to focus on issues like: communication, self-awareness, self-esteem, stress reduction, positive self-image, self-exploration and creative expression.
It has proven successful in supporting those dealing with:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Anger Management
- Behaviour Problems
- Learning Disabilities
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse
- Mental health Issues
- Domestic Violence
- Loss and Grief
- Marital Conflict
- Family Breakdown
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic Illness
Creative Arts Therapy provides a safe and supportive environment in which to explore issues and emotions non-verbally through the use of the certain art materials: pen, pencil, paint, collage, clay, fabric, etc… Upon termination, the client is then invited to share the artwork in order to assist in the process of bringing personal meaning and insight to what has been created. The creative piece becomes the ‘voice’ of the pain, providing a safe and non-threatening space in which to process difficult emotions, providing insight and clarity.
Subsequent sessions are then used to further the process, relating the art to the individual and their specific issues. The therapist’s role is simply to support the client in this process of discovery and to reserve judgement about the artwork and/or the presenting issues.
The Theory: human beings think in images, and painful emotions and traumas are stored in the brain in the form of images. Therefore, it is easier to express these feelings through art, especially when it seems that the language to express them is not forthcoming or present.
Creative Arts Therapy can provide a connection to emotions and difficult issues that have been impossible to access through other means and can facilitate emotional expression, self-awareness and positive change. It can be an extremely effective treatment modality for people who find it difficult to express their issues verbally.
Creative Arts Therapy is the clinical application of art and psychology as a vehicle for communication, healing and growth.
Art is used in exchange for verbal communication in order for unconscious material to be explored and meaning found in a non-threatening and non-invasive way.
In the presence of a trained therapist, a safe space is created where emotional conflicts can be expressed and reconciled and where self-awareness and personal growth can be nurtured.
Ultimately, it is a gentle process, moving only as fast as the client is willing or able to go.
Spontaneous art expression is without evaluation or critique. Emphasis is on the person and the process and not on the product and clients do not need any art background or artistic skill in order to participate or benefit from the process. For this reason, it works just as well with children as with adults and is non-elitist.
N.B: For your own safety, it is suggested that you consult an experienced practitioner before attempting to confront any serious issues on your own.
If you would like any further information about the process outlined above, please contact me with your questions.
Additionally, if you would like to enquire about booking a session with me, please fill in the short form available from the booking enquiry page and email it along with your request. I will endeavour to reply to all enquiries in person at the first opportunity available.
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