What is Art Therapy

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 which naturally occurs when we make art can, in itself, be therapeutic.

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

In my practice I work inside, either in counselling rooms in Dunmanway and Skibbereen, or in my studio near Ballydehob where we can work inside or outside in nature which provides connection with the earth and the ecology which can be very grounding.

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

Contact. marikasosullivan@gmail.com    Telephone. 086 150 8280

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

WHO BENEFITS FROM ART THERAPY?

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.

DO YOU NEED TO BE ARTISTIC TO PARTICIPATE IN ART THERAPY?

Anyone can benefit from art therapy.  It is a common misconception that art is for artists, or for those with developed creative skills.  Art therapy requires absolutely no artistic experience.  Art therapy is about the process of creating art, not the finished product.  

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?

WHY DO I NEED AN ART THERAPIST?

Art therapy sessions are held in a private, comfortable space, where individuals are guided by their art therapist, either through a structured art process that focuses on specific goals or through spontaneous art making. Throughout the art making process, the individual works with the art therapist to make connections, visually and/or verbally, to help achieve greater personal insight, resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage problematic behaviors, and reduce negative stress. The art therapist’s focus is on what the individual needs at that moment, so art making may not necessarily be a part of each session. Individuals may also bring in artwork made outside of sessions to explore and discuss with their art therapist.

While making art in itself is therapeutic, the difference between art making and art therapy is the guidance of the professionally trained art therapist who is able to assist individuals with challenging or traumatic material that may arise during a session. Art therapists are masters-level clinicians trained in both art and psychotherapy techniques, who are nationally board-certified and licensed through their state. The therapeutic relationship between the individual and clinician is an essential part of the therapy process, providing a supportive environment for growth and healing.

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