WHAT IS ART’S PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Well put simply, its Psychotherapy using Creative Arts as the communication tool.
Based on Psychoanalysis, from the works of Sigmund Freud (1856 -1939), people can gain insight by making the unconscious, conscious.
Clients work towards a therapeutic goal with an issue they would like a better understanding of, to change a behavior, to get a positive outcome, whether in group therapy or one to one sessions. Client’s work with various mediums including paint, pastels, clay, puppetry, collage, sand tray, body movement, poetry and storytelling, sensory items, music and elements of drama work to express themselves opposed to expressing only through verbal communication. Counselling approaches and techniques support the process of engagement with the medium, however the medium itself becomes the tool for exploration and self-discovery.
Often client’s will have told a story many times and may have become very well rehearsed in the way it’s been told, even to the point where the story may have evolved slightly different to the actual experience, giving little opportunity for clarity or insight. Using a specific medium for individual clients challenges or issues, can open up pathways allowing unconscious material, or the invisible, to become visible. Therefore, the quality and engagement process with the particular medium is paramount in exploring the new story safely and gaining possible insight.
This offers opportunity for clients to notice a possibly different perspective or understanding to aspects of the story that may be unfamiliar. This can bring a new awareness that can lead to insights that are then built on incorporating the client’s natural strengths and skills. New strategies can be learned and implemented so behaviour can be changed generating positive healthy changes now and into the future.
Client’s who have difficulties with verbal communication, can engage in the process of art making by which emotional expression can be explored and achieved. This can support both children and adults with a sense of being heard, understood and relieving frustration by opening up and expanding different channels of creative communication and story telling.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SESSION
After initial contact with a brief consultation, a block of one to one sessions or Group therapy sessions would be agreed upon.
A short discussion around why you have chosen to work with me and what you would like to get out of the sessions. Certain situations the issue or problem may not necessarily be discussed, but rather the impact it is having on you and what sort of resolution you would be working towards.
Depending on client’s circumstances and abilities, various types of mediums would be offered for exploration of the issue as part of the “witnessing” stage. Following this and when appropriate for the person, they would then move into the “insight” stage experiencing a different and possibly unfamiliar perspective maybe not thought of before. The final stage is the “trajectory” stage where a deeper understanding and possible insight into the issue can now be transformed into developing and utilising proven strategies and coping mechanisms for daily life and into the future. These 3 stages are known as the “WIT” i.e. Witnessing, Insight and Trajectory. Not all client’s will automatically progress through each stage over the length of their sessions, but may actually explore the “WIT” phases during the one session depending on their abilities, strengths and skills.
Arts Psychotherapy model is very structured and can safely tease out the unconscious material that may be hidden from everyday life through the exploration of engaging with creative arts.
“Often the hands will solve a mystery, the intellect has struggled with in vain“
Carl G. Jung (1875 -1961) Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst.