Art Therapy

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy takes place in a room with art materials and an Art Therapist. It is about using the art materials with an Art Therapist to show yourself and other people how you are feeling. This can let other people understand and help you and allow you to help yourself.

The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but art therapy differs from other talking therapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the image or construction. Thus it offers a way to express and communicate for Young People who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings in words.

Art therapists are specially trained, qualified and state registered. They work with a professional team of doctors, nurses, psychologists and family therapists. They have a considerable understanding of art processes underpinned by a sound knowledge of therapeutic practice, and work with both individuals and groups.


What do I do in Art Therapy?

You are given time with paint, crayons, pencils, clay, collage, to make things, play and talk. This could happen on your own with the art therapist in a group or with your family.


Why do young people see an Art Therapist

Sometimes when Young People are growing up changes in their lives at home, school, with family and friends make them behave differently, or have feelings that make them very sad, angry, hurt, and jealous. It may be hard to talk and think about how you feel. Art Therapy can be useful in helping you make changes you want.


What kind of things do Art Therapists help young people with?

Young people have different reasons for seeing an art therapist who will work with the Young Person according to their needs.

Some reasons a Young person sees an art therapist may be:

  • To help you think about how you look and feel about yourself
  • To feel more confident in yourself
  • To explore changes in your life including when important people die or leave you
  • To explore bad experiences from the past and put them behind you
  • To help when people are feeling sad or angry all the time or feel like they need to hurt themselves to cope with how they feel
  • To help Young People with eating problems
  • To help when young people feel so upset that they don't want to live
  • To support young people who are being chronically bullied and are extremely unhappy at school
  • To understand why you do things that you don't want to do
  • To have a stable and understanding place to go when things in life seem very unsafe or changeable
  • To explore how it feels when you have to look after an unwell parent or sibling and have no time for your own self and feelings


How can Art Therapy help me?

Art therapy encourages you to express yourself and communicate how they feel. This helps them gain increased self awareness, understanding and self esteem

Sometimes it is hard to find words to say how they feel and what they are thinking and Art Therapy can be another way to express things.

"I have had enough of everyone asking me lots of questions in Art therapy I was able to use paints and clay to make things and it helped me show how I felt about things."

"I used lots of paints. To start with my pictures were very thick with paint after a while I began to see the pictures and used less paint!"

"Art Therapy helped me to think about all the changes in my life and all the places I had lived in by drawing and making models I talked about different times in my life.

"To start with I thought it would be very silly to paint and draw how I felt but it did really help me look at things differently and gave me more choices."

"I was not sure because I am no good at art but I got more confident to use materials and felt it was useful to me."

"I never wanted to go to school but Art Therapy helped me understand my fears and be able to find ways to manage them at school."

"I liked having my own time every week to think about how things were for me"


Do I have to be good at Art?

Art therapy is not about being good at art but being willing to use the materials to express yourself with art materials like drawing, gluing, making, writing or speaking. Young People who are referred to an art therapist need not have previous experience or skill in art, the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making a "good image." Art Therapy aims to help Young People make change and grow on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe environment.


When and where will I see the Art Therapist

You will see the same art therapist on each Appointment. You will work in a quiet room at your local centre.

Who knows that I am doing Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is private within the health team unless you or someone you know is unsafe and have been or are at risk of being hurt. We will talk to you about this when we meet.

While you do Art Therapy your work will be kept in a folder and looked after by the Art Therapist. When you have finished working with an Art Therapist you can keep your Art work or it can be stored for up to 3 years at the centre after this is will be safely disposed of. The person who has referred you and your G.P., parents or carers will know you have been offered Art Therapy. Your Art Therapist will have supervision with another professional in their team, to make sure that they are helping you in the best way they can. If other professionals work with you we may all meet to make sure we are all working together to help you and your family. You can tell people you are doing Art Therapy if you want to. If you find it difficult to know what to say to friends about why you go out of school or leave school and don't hang about we can help you find ways to say what you want to say to them.


What happens if I don't like Art Therapy?

If you are not happy with Art Therapy we want you to talk to us about this. If you have questions about Art Therapy please feel free to ask your Art Therapist.