Art therapy has evolved out of a merging of creative processes with models of counselling, psychotherapy and human development.
It is a successful approach/intervention with young people (clients) experiencing emotional/behavioural disturbances, including symptoms of temporary distress, to difficulties which are more deep seated and long term.
Art Therapy is a successful medium both for clients who experience difficulty experiencing their feelings verbally and is also a less threatening approach for those who need the safety of the medium before being able to express themselves fully and directly.
It follows the lead of the client, allowing the client to make personal interpretations and discoveries. The therapy involves a triangular relationship between the therapist, client, and the art work. Art therapy offers the client a safe environment to explore issues which may be affecting them.
The Main Principals of the Art Therapy Process
Creating and maintaining a safe, containing, and non-judgmental space which facilitates the client to explore through the artwork; those parts of self which require recognition and integration.
The clients use of their own visual imagery provides an alternative to verbal communication, as a picture often speaks louder than words.
As the use of creativity, symbols, metaphors and play are a familiar and natural form of communication for young people, the artwork offers a language through which unconscious feelings, wishes, fears, and fantasies can be expressed and explored, thereby a space is created for the acknowledgement and awareness of both inner and outer experiences, this can be a powerfully integrative process.
Art Therapy is not art teaching. No artistic skill is needed in order to benefit from the process, however the development of artistic ability can, in itself, be therapeutic.