Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy which combines the creative process and psychotherapy to facilitate self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour, texture, form and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.
Art Therapists work with clients individually and in groups. They provide a safe, judgement-free space for clients to express themselves. The focus of the sessions is never on the quality of the art, and always on what the artwork means to the person who created it.
Who is Art Therapy for?
Art Therapy is for anyone who is looking to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing through a therapeutic relationship and art making. You do not have to be an artist to benefit from art therapy! Many adults, children and teens experience wonderful transformation through the art-making process, whether they’ve had art experience or not. Art therapists works with adults, couples, youth, children, families and groups in a variety of settings including counselling agencies, schools, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, correctional institutes, community centres and elder care locations.
What happens in an art therapy session?
In an individual session, your therapist will be present to help you on your journey in the way that is right for you. You may wish to talk about what’s going on for you, or you may wish to not talk at all. This is the magic of art therapy; sometimes the art can speak for you.
In a group art therapy session, you will be guided through a series of exercises that might involve art-making, journaling, body-based awareness practices, and group discussion.
How does online art therapy work?
Online Art Therapy is very similar to in-person art therapy, however the difference is that you get to experience it from the comfort of your home. You may need to bring your own art materials to the session, or you may receive an “art kit” sent to you by me. Online art therapy sessions are hosted through a secure video conferencing platform that is compliant with the standards set by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
This documentary by Alfonso Bui explores some of the ways Art Therapy is being used around the world to overcome emotional challenges and traumatic experiences.
Here is another great video by the The Foundation for Art & Healing (artandhealing.org) that enquires if and how art can be medicine.