Art Therapy - Drawing the Inside out

Welcome to the

Mind Body Ireland blog!

For our first blog article we would like to answer some commonly asked questions about Art Therapy.
We hope that you find answers to some of your questions here but remember you can contact us at any time to speak about your personal circumstances and suitability for Art Therapy.

What is Art Therapy ? 

Art Therapy is a style of psychotherapy that utilises personal expression, imagination and creativity. It is often used as a mental health intervention. 
Similarly to talk therapy there can be discussion, sharing, problem solving and personal exploration - but in Art Therapy there is the addition of art materials to further help and guide this exploration.

The ability to verbalise inner feelings is not something that comes easily to everyone so this added mode of communication and self-expression can be very empowering and insightful.

Art Therapy sessions always move at a pace that suits the client and the form of therapeutic work with which they are engaging.  Following an intial assessment or parent consultation a tailored care plan that best suits the clients needs is put in place.

Art Therapy is a sensory experience and often times a person is using and moving their body and hands and engaging all of their senses. Just think about how cotton wool or cold clay feels, what memories flood back at the sight of wax crayons or whether the sound of water stirring sooths or not.  
This sensory aspect of Art Therapy aligns it with mind-body interventions which see the body and the mind influencing and effecting positive change upon each other.
Many leading trauma experts say that psychological trauma is non-verbal and its language is that of images and sensation. The sensory and visual qualities of Art Therapy lend themselves very much to trauma processing.
Maybe you've experienced at some point how difficult it can be to recall clearly or speak about overwhelming, stressful or traumatic events? Recalling such events in therapy can be equally as difficult but having art materials to hand in those moments can provide a stabilising and grounding experience for people. 
For more information on mind body interventions and trauma processing we recommend the book “The Body Holds the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, it is a well worth read. 

Is Art Therapy Just for Children? 

No... both children and adults benefit from this style of creative therapy.
Art Therapy works verbally and non-verbally and so it is very inclusive and open to many different age ranges and personal experiences including anxiety, emotional dysregulation, chronic pain, low self-esteem, gender dysmorphia, birth trauma, bereavement and acquired brain injury.
Under 3’s can even engage in didactic therapy which involves the mum (or a main care giver) and baby partaking together and this can be a great therapy for mum and baby bonding.


Do I Need to Be Artisitic?

Not at all!  
People sometimes are discouraged by the fact that they are not “an artist” but I assure you absolutely no artistic experience is needed as the focus is on how you feel during the process as much as the finished product.
Art Therapy uses many different forms of artistic expression including collage, textiles, clay and story-telling.
Even technology and digital mediums are now finding their way into the art therapy rooms.


Can I use Creativity for Wellness without Attending Therapy?

 If therapy is not something you need right now but the idea of using art and creativity for personal growth or stress reduction sounds appealing you could always attend one of our “Make Move Meditate” one-day workshops or “Mindfulness Based Creativity for Stress Reduction” courses. These courses teach mindfulness techniques and combine and integrate them with creative practices.
We also offer psycho-educational corporate wellness days and learning lunch opportunities that help prevent stress and burn out.
For any questions on Art Therapy and Creativity Workshops and how they could benefit your life, your school or your business please get in touch and we can discuss what works best for you.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Strom