Art Therapy is a form of psychological therapy using art materials for self-expression and reflection in the presence of a trained Art Therapist who provides a safe space in which clients can explore their experiences and feelings.

Art Therapy is helpful for people who may seek out Counselling or Psychotherapy. Some clients have said that other psychological approaches have their limitations. Art Therapy in the hands of a skilled practitioner works with symbolism and the unconscious mind. The physical act of creation stimulates the potential for change. This multi-layered approach can help clients reach a deeper and more sustained level of peace and resolution.

Sometimes there are no words to describe what has happened to us, or it can be too difficult to explain how we feel. We may use language as a verbal defense to mask how we feel or to avoid facing sensitive issues. Significant events and experiences may have happened to us before we had much language.

Art Therapy can help to re-connect with deeply buried feelings and free the client to move forward.

The relationship between the client and therapist is of central importance as in other psychological therapies. In Art Therapy there is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the artwork. Some people find this an easier way into therapy.

Working with the Art Therapist and making art enables you to explore a broad range of experiences and associated feelings. The therapist reflects back to you issues that have surfaced during the session and helps you to make links between what you have been doing and your experiences and feelings. In time a greater understanding of where these feelings come from and an ability to control how they affect your life may be realised. This can lead to a greater sense of self-worth and purpose in life.

Actively doing something and exploring the content of the artwork and how it was made can lead to a greater sense of control and self-awareness. Changes in the art work and developments made during the art activity over the weeks can significantly improve how you cope and make changes in the real world. The art activity enables creative connections to be made that can help you to become more creative in all aspects of your life.

The process is similar to how children use play to discover and understand the world. Very often Art Therapy clients were denied the opportunity to play as children and the role of the Art Therapist is to help them learn to play, test boundaries, and become integrated adults.

It can be helpful to have the artwork to refer back to as tangible evidence of progress made. Leaving the work with the therapist for the duration of the therapy can free the client to move forward. The difficult experiences are left with the therapist safely contained in a tangible form. The experience is real and happened.

Art Therapy can be a gentle therapy but can also be powerful and challenging depending on how deeply you wish to go. Your therapist will be sensitive and have the experience to gauge how far you wish to take the therapeutic work and adapt their style to suit the your needs.

Individual work can be short-term and focused. Long-term work can be used to comprehensively explore complicated interpersonal relationships.

The 'art' side of Art Therapy is an important part of the therapy, however, it is not important to be ‘good’ at art in order to benefit.

Most Art Therapists are skilled at working with people who have experienced severe trauma and abuse for which there may be no words.