If you're not quite sure what art therapy is, you're not alone. Art therapy is where art and psychotherapy meet. Your art therapist is trained in psychotherapy, but uses arts based interventions. This means we use art as a way to help you reach your goals.
In Canada art therapists follow the ethics and standards set out by the Canadian Art Therapy Association. In Ontario art therapists also follow the standards set out by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
Keep reading to learn how art therapy works!
What is art therapy?
So how does art therapy work?
Art therapy works in different ways. When we create we are able to look at our experiences in a different way. When we are struggling, going through big life changes or experiencing anxiety it can be difficult to process or express how we feel.
When we make art we are able to see our inner experiences externally. You can reflect with your art therapist about the process of art making, what feelings might be coming up and what you see in the art.
Art therapy can include specific guided directives by your art therapist, or you can create spontaneously. You don't have to have a particular goal in mind, you can just create and reflect on it when you're done.
There is no wrong way to do art therapy.
You get to do what you need to do in the sessions, your art therapist is there to be with you through that process, and help you in achieving the goals you set for therapy.
What does an art therapy session look like?
An art therapy session is going to look a little different for everyone. Whether I am working with kids or adults, I am catering each session to the individuals needs.
You can expect to be greeted into the art therapy space with a tour if it is your first time there. We will talk about goals and your reasons for coming to therapy. Then, we make art.
Art making looks different for everyone. Some people like to talk while they make art, some like music or some like silence. You have access to a large variety of materials. You can create spontaneously, or I will guide you through a therapeutic art process with a specific directive based on your goals.
We then usually move into a reflection of the art. Setting it up, and exploring all the different elements. This helps us process our experiences.
Contrary to what it seems like, you actually do not have to make art in art therapy. As a psychotherapist I am trained in other modalities. If you just feel like talking, we can talk.
Clinical Vs. Non Clinical Art Therapy
Clinical Art Therapy: We set specific goals and psychotherapeutic interventions are involved, all my individual sessions are clinical.
Non-Clinical Art Therapy: I do not use psychotherapeutic interventions in non-clinical work, the art itself acts as therapy and I generally am there to facilitate a specific activity or theme. This is for groups or community based art therapy.
Who is art therapy for?
Art Therapy is for everyone. Kids and adults. Art therapy can be for a wide variety reasons such as anxiety, depression, grief, life transitions and more. As well, art therapy can be brought to many different organizations like schools, hospitals or assisted living homes.
Every art therapist will work with different populations. I focus my work with women and youth aged 7-12. As a creative wellness facilitator I focus a lot of my work on groups and workshops to make art therapy more accessible to communities.
Want to know more about my art therapy services for women? Click below.
Want to know more about my art therapy services for youth? Click below.
Want to know more about bringing art therapy to your organization? Click below.