is Art Therapy?
as a form of psychotherapy, is an interdisciplinary practice across
health and medicine, using various visual art forms such as drawing,
painting, sculpture and collage. Some art therapists also use phototherapy,
play and sandtray work. Generally, it is based on psychoanalytic
or psychodynamic principles, but all therapists are free to utilise
whatever theoretical base they feel comfortable with.
Art Therapy is a therapeutic and diagnostic tool where therapist
and client/s develop a dynamic interpersonal relationship, with
firm boundaries and clear goals. It differs from traditional art
in that the emphasis is on the process of creating rather than on
the end product.
is a creative process, suitable for all ages, and particularly for
those who may be experiencing life changes, trauma, illness or disabilities,
causing distress for the individual and for their family.
are Art Therapists?
Art therapists have a first degree in such fields as Visual Arts,
Arts, Psychology, Psychiatry, Nursing, Social Work, Occupational
Therapy or Education. They may also have more specialised Certificates
or Diplomas in such areas as Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, Counselling,
Gerontology, Family Therapy, Child Psychotherapy, etc. Most will
have a Masters Degree in Art Therapy from a course in Australia;
or an overseas Masters or Postgraduate Diploma. Some other tertiary
institutions are offering electives in Art Therapy as part of other
higher degrees and some private agencies are also offering Art Therapy
Art Therapy work?
Children and adults are not always able to verbalise about what
is happening for them, or how they feel about it. Others may over-verbalise,
blocking feelings and thoughts which need expression. Interaction
may be totally non-verbal until there is confidence to communicate
verbally. It may be totally verbal until there is courage to mark
a blank piece of paper, work with clay or make a mask. In other
words, the Art Therapist provides a safe non-threatening space,
and invites the individual (or group) to explore their issues by
using whatever variety of media he or she feels appropriate and
session is a confidential record, showing patterns of feelings,
thoughts and behaviour. While the therapist and client work together
to understand the product of each session, this product must be
seen as a reflection of the meaning for that person, through their
this creative, therapy contributes to changes in the client's inner
world, developing a more integrated sense of self and to an increase
in self awareness, self understanding and self acceptance.
do Art Therapists work?
Currently, Art Therapists are working in private practice, as well
as in public and private agencies with other allied health professionals
and in multi-disciplinary teams. For example: public and private
psychiatric hospitals, prisons, family welfare agencies, nursing
homes, rehabilitation centres, drug and alcohol units, women's health
centres and community health centres.
Art Therapy help?
Ability to express feelings difficult to discuss
Stimulates imagination and creativity
Develops healthy coping skills and focus
Increases self esteem and confidence
Clarifies issues and concerns
Increases communication skills
Ability to share a safe nurturing environment
Assists with development of motor skills and physical co-ordination
Ability to identify feelings and blocks to emotional expression
and personal growth.
The Australian National Art Therapy Association Inc. (ANATA) -----