What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a psychotherapeutic practice that draws on the creative arts to enhance wellbeing and aid personal growth. It is suitable for all ages and backgrounds and is an effective treatment tool for both general health maintenance and development, as well as dealing with more complex cases. An art therapy session typically lasts for 60-90 minutes, with an initial consultation to determine individual needs and goals.

How does it work and what are the benefits?

Art therapy works by contributing to changes in an individual's inner world and towards the development of a more integrated sense of self. Art therapy processes bypasses rational thinking and draw upon the body’s wisdom to provide information about the area of concern which is often outside conscious awareness. Interventions used in art therapy activate the whole brain, creating new neural pathways, integrating experiences, reducing emotional arousal, and achieving a higher level of functioning for an extended period of time.

A typical session may include some talking to begin with, art making and then exploring and reflecting upon the art, with the guidance of an experienced therapist. Art making could be as simple as charcoal lines on paper, moulding a lump of clay, creating a collage or spending more time working with paints or pastels.

Benefits may include: increased coping skills and resilience, acceptance and self awareness, creative problem solving, clarity, confidence, enhanced cognitive function, improved emotional regulation and overall quality of life.

Artistic mediums in an art therapy session that might be used, include but are not limited to: drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, clay, creative writing, photography, movement, play and sand tray work. Art therapy is a particularly useful tool for working with individuals in imaginative, non-verbal ways; although talking can and does occur, contributing significantly to the process. When an individual creates artwork it is not about the therapist ‘interpreting’ it but rather a shared process of trust and discovery.

Do I need to be good at art, or artistic, for art therapy to work?

Absolutely not! Art therapy is not an art class. The goal is not to produce fine art or ‘pretty pictures’ but rather about your unique personal expression, exploration and making sense of things.

Who is suitable for art therapy and what can it address?

Art therapy can benefit individuals of all ages, genders and cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. It is an effective tool in addressing:

  • Grief & Loss

  • Anxiety & Depression

  • Trauma

  • Stress

  • Domestic/Family Violence

  • Parental Separation

  • Abuse & Neglect

  • Eating Disorders

  • Developmental Issues

  • Addiction

  • Life Transition

  • Palliative Care

  • Mental Health

  • Autism Spectrum

  • Attachment Issues

It is also incredibly useful for:

  • Self Discovery

  • Personal Vision

  • Creative Expression

  • Empowerment

How many sessions will I need?

This varies depending on the individual, and will be openly discussed in your initial consultation. Some people require only a single session, whilst others request weekly or fortnightly sessions over a series of months for sustained support and change. It really depends on individual needs and goals.

Are art therapy sessions covered by Medicare?

No. At this stage, art therapy is not covered by Medicare and therefore rebates are not available.

If finances are your main reason for not seeking therapy for yourself (or your child), we can discuss this.

What happens if I need to cancel a session?

Cancellation requires 24 hours notice or full payment for the session will be required.

Are sessions confidential?

Yes, absolutely. I will only share the content of a session with a client’s permission or if I believe a client is at risk of harm or self harm, or in the event of a court order.