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 and how does it help?
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.
Most importantly: 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 a 1:1 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. During a first session we are reviewing the intake form together and setting goals. Learn more about my services for adults or youth.
Art making looks different for everyone. Some people like to talk while they make art, some like music or some like silence. I supply the materials, and you can create spontaneously, bring art in or I give you directives based off your goals or needs that day.
Here is a general outline of what an art therapy session MAY look like:
Check in. Where would you like to focus. Can be done verbally or with art.
Art-Making. Created spontaneously or directive.
Reflection and Discussion. We review the art made, any insights or emotions.
Remember, this time is for you. Above is just a general structure. I want you to feel empowered to tell me what you need each session. Through our time together we will continue to check-in and re-evaluate goals as needed.
Clinical Vs. Non Clinical Art Therapy
Clinical Art Therapy: 1:1 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-making itself is therapeutic 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. Visit my services pages to learn about the issues I address.
Every art therapist will work with different populations. I focus my work with adults and youth aged 8+. As a creative wellness facilitator I focus a lot of my work on groups and workshops to make art therapy more accessible to communities.
Learn more about bringing art therapy to your organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can't I just make art on my own?Making art on your own definitely has benefits. Working with an art therapist is different because you have a mental health professional there working through your process with you for when difficult feelings come up and helping set specific goals.
Do I have to make art in sessions?Nope! Not everyone makes art in the sessions. If you want to have a traditional talk therapy session, we can also do that.
Do I have to be good at art?Not at all! You do not need to be a professional artist to make art. Art therapy is about expression, not skill.
Will you tell me what my art means?Nope! I can't tell you because I don't know. Only you can tell me what your art means, even if you don't, we can explore it together. Certain colours or images do not mean certain things about who you are unless you tell me otherwise.
Are colouring books art therapy?Colouring books are what are considered "art as therapy", where the art itself is a therapeutic act and natural relaxing benefits. This is different from art therapy where you are working with a mental health professional.
Is art therapy just for kids?Art therapy is for all ages!
Is this like an art class? Will you teach me art skills?Nope! This is not an art class and I will not be teaching you art skills. I can show you different ways that you can utilize art in your own process, but art skills is not the purpose.
I cater the sessions to your individual and unique needs, I want to empower you to use our time together however you need.
Interested in booking a consultation to see if this might be a right fit? Click the link below to go to my contact page! I look forward to hearing from you.