As with other forms of psychotherapy, art therapy helps people to explore their concerns within a safely held setting. Art materials may be used in an exploratory way to connect with memories, thoughts and feelings. It is not necessary to be skilled with art, each client is encouraged to express themselves in a way that feels right for them. The therapist will work sensitively with the emerging process, staying with the clients pace and helping the person to work through and make sense of the material they bring.
Art therapists integrate psychotherapeutic approaches to aid awareness and understanding through verbal communication. Within the support of the safe and confidential setting clients can explore potential meaning. The therapist role is in supporting understanding not in providing interpretation of the image. Through the process awareness can emerge of the patterns of behaviour and coping strategies we have developed in response to life’s difficulties. Often these no longer serve us and working through creativity can help us to release patterns that are no longer helpful. It can be that the engagement with creative process of itself renews a sense of inner vitality and meaning.
The work is suitable for clients all ages. It can be helpful in addressing a range of issues such as bereavement and loss, relationship difficulties, anxiety and depression, trauma, increasing resilience and the capacity to respond flexibly to life challenges.