Art Therapy & Counselling
About Art Therapy
Emerging in the mid-20th century, art therapy is rooted in both clinical psychotherapy and studio art-practice. Art therapists are informed by contemporary research and developments including modern psychology, neuroscience, attachment and developmental theory; we have a broad range of approaches such as psycho-education, mindfulness, mentalization-based treatments, trauma based practice, compassion-focussed and cognitive analytic therapies.
To practice in the UK, art therapists must have a relevant masters degree from an approved training provider and be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Who is Art Therapy suitable for?
There are many psychological therapies available, each with its own methodology; it is important to find the approach and the therapist that works well for you; the therapist or counsellor should be qualified and registered to ensure you receive a high quality and professional service.
The aim in art therapy is not making good art, but rather using varied art materials to express our experience, gain understanding and explore outcomes. The therapist will guide you through this process and support you in using materials in a way that is meaningful for you. I work with children, adolescents and adults with a range of concerns such as:
Anxiety and stress
Autistic spectrum conditions
Bereavement and loss
I believe all behaviour is a form of communication to be understood in the context of formative experiences, our world-view and understanding of self and others. I also believe that everyone is creative and has the capacity to grow, learn and move towards a positive understanding of themselves and those around us. We can all benefit from the therapeutic support of someone outside our general circle to help us reflect and move positively through the challenges of life. This is always part of a longer personal journey, which neither begins or ends with seeing a therapist, but is a significant step along the way.
How does Art Therapy work?
How art therapy is used depends in part on the therapist, their training and experience, the setting or context and the client and their needs. An art therapy group in an NHS cancer ward will look very different to 1-1 therapy with an adolescent in school or an adult visiting a private practice. Some therapists work remotely via online video-conferencing, which will be different again.
In each context though, we help the client to use varied art materials to express, contain and manage thoughts, feelings and experiences. We usually begin with a conversation about their concerns, what therapy may offer them them and what they hope to gain; this may be followed by guided or spontaneous art making. A session might close by reflecting together on what was made during the session and the meanings/feelings it projects and contains; one can make a significant body of work over a number of weeks and reflect back on what was made and how meanings, feelings and reactions are changing. The work is usually confidential and grounded in a positive, therapeutic relationship between client(s) and therapist.
Using art materials allows you to work spontaneously, to express your experience and to reflect with the therapist on what has been made and what you can learn from this. It can be cathartic, helping to process memory and feeling, supporting our move towards understanding and personal integration, building self-esteem and emotional resilience.
"Therapy has made such a difference for me; I had real trouble sleeping before I saw David. It's great value for money."