About

Art Therapy

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is an evidence based form of psychotherapy which combines the studies of art, psychology and psychotherapy. Art Therapists also hold deep understanding of the sensory and therapeutic qualities of art materials and how they psychologically impact people.   

What is an Art Therapist?

Registered Art Therapists are specialist mental health clinicians, with post-graduate Masters level training. Art Therapists use interventions to help clients develop skills and abilities, improve health and reduce psychological distress.  

Is it just art making?

No, depending on your 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?

No, I have everything you would need in my clinic or outreach bag but you are welcome to bring other materials or images along. I can also help write supporting letter to advocate for NDIS funds to purchase art materials for your home if it helps with your goals.

Who Art Therapy for?

We believe that Art Therapy is for everybody of every age and every ability. No art skills are required. Art Therapy is used in a range of settings. Art Therapists work in hospitals, schools, rehabs, community settings, detention centers and so on. I have even heard that Art Therapy is even being used sometimes in leadership training and with athletes before competition. 

How does a session look?

Each Art Therapy session is generally 1 hour long and the structure is guided by your specific goals and needs. I have everything set up that will be needed for making art. We can discuss together what type of materials you prefer, whether you want more art making or verbal reflection and if we need to structure the sessions. 

 

With children engaging in Art Therapy I will do an intake assessment with the parent/caregiver and we will discuss your child and families needs and agree when and how often parent reviews will be conducted.

Therapeutic Benefits​

Below I have described some benefits. Rest assured there are many more.

Such as: aiding development in fine motor skills, frustration tolerance, sensory integration, ability to follow instructions, reducing self harm, self-esteem, attention span and so on.

Trauma

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, than just talking alone. 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. 

Emotional Regulation

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 help people to develop a compassionate relationship with themselves and their illness and/or pain, which is an 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 defense 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.  

© 2020 by Alana Stewart, AThR

ABN 12 640 664 044

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