Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art making to engage and enable people in developing a greater understanding of themselves and their life circumstances. Using art materials to create images or objects offers another way of communicating feelings and expressing ideas that does not rely on putting thoughts into words. Art therapy offers a tangible way to explore connections between experiences, thoughts and feelings in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental therapeutic relationship. This process can enable individuals to find new perspectives on challenging issues in their lives and aims to encourage wellbeing, increase autonomy, raise self-esteem and self-awareness.
Do you have to be good at art? No artistic ability is needed for people to participate and benefit from using the art materials in art therapy sessions and the art therapist does not make any judgements on whether an artwork is good or bad. A wide range of art materials are made available within the art therapy room, such as paints, pastels, clay and fabrics, as well as having access to CICs inspiring garden space.
Who can benefit from Art Therapy? Having a creative, safe and non-judgemental space to express and reflect can benefit people who are experiencing change in their lives connected to physical, emotional or relationship difficulties. For some people the opportunity to find new perspectives on past experience may enable beneficial change and growth in the lives they are living now.
The artworks made in sessions can enable a more objective way of thinking about emotions, as the imagery can become a safe place to externalise feelings. The physical artwork can hold or contain feelings in its creation that can then be shared and reflected on together with the art therapist. In a group setting this process extends to include sharing and reflecting with other group members.
How to access art therapy at the Centre for Integrative Care: Art therapy is accessible within both inpatient an outpatient services at the Centre for Integrative Care.
In outpatients referrals to art therapy can be made by any of the doctors or health care professionals at the Centre for Integrative Care. At an initial assessment meeting with the art therapist the individual will be able to discuss how art therapy may be beneficial for them and think together about whether individual or group art therapy sessions may be suitable. Individual art therapy sessions take place weekly with the art therapist in one to one sessions of 1 hour, that allow for the individuals creative processes to develop over a number of weeks. Group art therapy takes place in a small group of around 6 people, weekly for sessions of 2 hours.
In the 5 day inpatient ward people have the opportunity to participate in an open art therapy group on day 4 of their admission. This is a supportive space, which invites participants to engage with their creativity in a group setting facilitated by the art therapist. This can be a time for patients to express and reflect on their experiences over the week, visualising and documenting change and ideas through the use of the art materials.
The British Association of Art Therapists: www.baat.org