What is Art Therapy


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 client’s use of their own visual imagery provides an alternative to verbal communication, as a picture often can give greater clarity than words, and can provide a deeper personal understanding of what is going on.

As the use of creativity, symbols, metaphors and play are a familiar and natural form of communication for 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 which naturally occurs when we make art can, in itself, be therapeutic and give a renewed sense of purpose.

sometimes when it’s overwhelming we just need to be able to see the ladder

My practice is in counselling rooms in Dunmanway and Cork city, or in my workroom in West Cork, and sessions can be held inside or outside in nature, which provides connection with the earth which can be very grounding.

Marika O’Sullivan  BAVA, Masters Art Therapy, IShom. reg. IACAT (Irish association of Creative Arts Therapists)

I specialise with working with young people and their families particularly with children and adolescents who are struggling with life’s changes, or from events that are causing anxiety.


Art therapy is effective for people of all ages, from young children to older adults and everyone in between. Many individuals benefit from art therapy including those struggling with stress, anxiety and depression; people with PTSD; children and adolescents experiencing behavioral and communication issues; people living with adverse physical health conditions, and other health disabilities; and people dealing with loss and grief.

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