What Is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that combines the studies of art, psychology and psychotherapy to help give our clients the insight, perspective, and skills to lead a less stressful, less painful, more fulfilled life.
Our creative and compassionate approach to therapy encompasses and encourages unlimited self-expression through diagnostic and remedial drawing, modelling, or painting.
What Is an Art Therapist?
Registered art therapists are specialist mental health clinicians with post-graduate Master’s level training.
Through their knowledge, experience, and insight, creative art therapists deeply understand art materials’ sensory and therapeutic qualities and how they can psychologically impact and benefit people.
In addition, at Victorian Art Therapy, our creative art therapists use interventions tailored to our client’s needs. This people-centred approach facilitates and supports our clients in developing skills and coping strategies that help improve their health and reduce psychological distress.
Is it just art making?
No not always, it totally depends on the clients needs. An Art Therapy session could be a mix of talk-based counselling/psychotherapy and art-based therapy/psychotherapy.
Do I need to bring/buy anything?
At Victoria Art Therapy we supply all art materials for your scheduled session. You are welcome to bring your own materials or images if you choose. We can also assist in writing a supporting letter to advocate for NDIS funds to purchase art materials for your home if it helps with your goals.
Who can attend Art Therapy and do I need to be an artist?
We believe that Art Therapy is for everybody of every age and every ability. ‘You don’t need to be an artist to engage in Art Therapy.’ It is about using the right side of the brain to create an expression of the ‘BLOCKS’ that are restricting you from moving forward. It is about the process of creating ‘NOT’ the finished product! Anyone from groups or communities to individuals can take part in an individual or group Art Therapy session. At Victoria Art Therapy we DO NOT discriminate. We welcome all cultures, disabilities and first Nation Peoples.
- EXPLORE your own self-expression by taking part in art making
- DISCOVER the healing qualities through processes of creative inquiry
- INSIGHT into your lived experience
Why is it important to be able to express your self using the creative process?
As the famous artist Pablo Picasso once said:
“Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.”
When we express what’s happening inside ourselves, we can let go of what is ‘holding us back‘.This letting go simply lifts our mood. When we are authentic and honest in this process, we set ourselves up for positive interactions with others; we are more aware of who we are and the essence that inherently defines us. We simply learn to LOVE ourselves more.
How does a session look?
Each Art Therapy session is generally 1 hour duration and the structure is guided by your specific goals and needs. In Art Therapy it is about the process not so much about the finished art work. At Victoria Art Therapy, your Art Therapist will support you and may implement themes to guide you through your creative journey. At the start of your session your Art Therapist will discuss what type of materials you prefer, and will later introduce you to new materials when she /he feels you are ready to progress. As the sessions advance, you may want more verbal reflection. If this is required it will automatically be noted in your file and implemented within your next session.
Prior to your first session of Art Therapy at Victoria Art Therapy, your Art Therapist will do an intake evaluation. You will also be provided with two assessments prior to and at the end of your nominated scheduled sessions. This is to calculate data and assess if Art Therapy has been of value to you.
Art Therapy and Disability?
Here at Victoria Art Therapy we welcome those who may have a disability. We know that people who live with a disability often feel that the only limitations to their success are the limitations that society has put in their way. It is about society removing the stigma around such limitations and then everybody can experience success. Right? Art Therapy benefits people with a disability as they can express themselves using the creative expression. They also can be funded by the NDIS. As Victoria Therapy is a registered provider we are able to assist and support people with a disability to live and improve their well-being and life.
Apart from the benefits listed on the front page of the website, other benefits include:
- Aiding development in fine motor skills
- Calming the mind and reducing stress
- Sensory integration
- Ability to follow instructions
- Reducing self- harm
- Attention span and focus techniques
- Releasing built up emotions through art making,
- Social skills
- Learning mindfulness techniques to manage stress anxiety and panic attacks
- Encouraging self-discovery and emotional growth
- Decreasing feelings of helplessness
Art therapy can be a gentler way of engaging in therapy for those who have experienced trauma. Art therapy offers a way to “triangulate” the relationship between the client and therapist, which offers a way to reduce the tension of being in therapy. The relaxing properties of some art materials can also offer a way to self-sooth. Art Therapy accesses different areas of the brain, rather than what just talking alone can do. These areas can be where non-verbal sensory-based trauma memories can be stored and processing these through engagement in art materials can help to heal developmental trauma through neuroplasticity.
Art Therapy research in mental health has shown again and again that Art Therapy builds skills in emotional regulation. This may be because Art Therapy promotes self-awareness, sensory and bodily awareness, self- understanding and self -compassion. Art Therapy research also shows that art making can reduce cortisol (stress hormones) in the body after just one 45, minute session.
Chronic Pain & illness
Art Therapy is shown to help people reduce and/or cope better with chronic pain and illness. Art Therapy aids people to develop a compassionate relationship with themselves and their illness and/or pain, which is a vital aspect of chronic illness management. This reduces stress which can also be helpful to aid the bodies self-healing ability.
Gaining Insight & Self Discovery
Art making bypasses our verbal defence mechanisms and helps us to more fully experience and know ourselves. Art making is inherently an act which engages our emotions, values and identity. Mental health consumers who have written or contributed to Art Therapy research consistently report that an important aspect of Art Therapy to them is the ability to engage in a process of self discovery.