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What is Art Therapy?

“I have really seen the difference Art Therapy can make to individuals. The safe and secure container that Art Therapy offers enables an individual to form a positive therapeutic relationship, where they can explore their thoughts and feelings.”

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art as another method of communication when words are not enough. It is the use of art materials for self-expression and reflection in the presence of a trained Art Therapist. An Art Therapist is specifically skilled at working with both conscious and unconscious material.

Once you feel safe and secure in the Art Therapy space and you have established a positive therapeutic relationship with the therapist you can begin to express and explore your thoughts and feelings. The relationship between therapist and client is of central importance, although Art Therapy differs from other psychological therapies because of the three way process between therapist, client and artwork.

Working with an Art Therapist offers a safe and engaging way to begin to express problems that you may be struggling to talk about. Some people may find the art making itself therapeutic; drawing, painting, creating and playing can help self-expression and can help relieve difficult or painful feelings. The outcomes of Art Therapy may be general, for example an increase in well being and self esteem, or they may be more specific, such as a change in behaviour and improved relationships with others.

Art skills are not taught and no artistic skills are needed, just a willingness and interest in using the materials.


I tend to work non-directively allowing the client to lead the therapy, although if requested I can work directively. I believe the relationship between therapist and client is of paramount importance. I am an integrative therapist selecting models and methods from different approaches to best suit a particular client and context. I think that Art Therapists can use aspects of many therapeutic approaches because of the three way process between the therapist, client and art. Using art as a method of communication quickly taps into the unconscious, which can then be thought about and worked through consciously. I use a psychodynamic approach, focusing on the sub-conscious to examine unresolved conflicts.

I am interested in neuro-biology and attachment theory examining how early relationships shape you as a person. I also use aspects of the person-centered approach – I believe everyone has the capacity for change and growth. This approach focuses on the ‘here and now’ and the conscious mind.

How Art Therapy works

  • A safe, accepting non-judgmental environment is created.
  • Art Therapy is usually one to one.
  • A variety of art materials and play materials are available.
  • Art Therapy can be directed by the therapist or non-directive where the client chooses what to do.
  • It is normally once a week for between forty-five minutes and one hour.

Is Art Therapy confidential?

Everything the client says and does in therapy is private. However if the therapist has concerns, these concerns will be discussed with parents, carers or relevant professionals (as required by law).

"She is extremely professional and has a wealth of knowledge of working with the children who struggle with emotional and behavioural difficulties, who have mental health diagnosis and/or educational/learning difficulties"

S. Green – Art Therapy supervisor