Art Therapy, Beyond Words…
Art Therapy is based on the idea that creativity enhances the well-being of all people and is a natural aspect of all cultures and human experience. Discover art therapy and learn how Albert Road Clinic incorporate this style of therapy into their program.
“I drew this today purely for the catharsis I find working with oil pastels. This year has been overwhelmingly lonely and challenging for a multitude of reasons. Although now that I finally feel myself lifting out of this deep depression, I feel grief stricken. This is not the first time I have felt this, and I suspect it will not be the last…I feel this grief; and make space for it.”
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is based on the idea that creativity enhances the well-being of all people and is a natural aspect of all cultures and human experience. It is an experiential psychotherapeutic approach utilising many creative modalities within a therapeutic relationship with a trained therapist. It is holistic – attending to emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Professionally registered Art Therapists have been trained to work therapeutically using the visual arts, including drawing, painting, and sculpture: As well as being fully trained in psychotherapeutic approaches.
As an emergent profession in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, the profession gained classification by the Australian and New Zealand Classification of Occupations in 2007. Since then the profession and its diversity has grown exponentially, due in part to the increase in evidence and practice-based research in the field and the greater profile of the benefits of the arts in health.
Art Therapy uses creative processes to help clients explore and express unconscious material that is often difficult to articulate in words.
The creative arts therapies can be practised with individual clients, families and groups. Group work is cost effective and also may counter loneliness and isolation; give opportunities to practise social skills and relationship building in a supportive environment; and can facilitate sense of participation, belonging and community. Creativity can connect us with a sense of meaning and is also a means of communicating this to others. This approach can provide soothing and satisfying activities that can counter boredom and lack of engagement and provide the experience of safety, empowerment and the relief of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression through symbolic expression.
Art Therapy at Albert Road Clinic
Patients experiencing psychiatric and emotional disorders benefit from group Art psychotherapy work; it enables them to develop skills and coping strategies amongst other patients that are also experiencing mental health concerns. The Art Therapy group program at Albert Road Clinic provides an approach that is particularly suited to the more fragile, vulnerable client that may struggle with being in a Group that relies only on talk therapy.
Through the incorporation of Creative Therapy/ Art psychotherapy a powerful and unique medium is established, which enables Patients who may have previously experienced invalidation in group settings; for example in the workplace or in their family; to engage and become involved in the Group Therapy Process. Group Art Psychotherapy Work of this kind allows Patients to experience perhaps for the first time, both the challenges and benefits that Group work can provide.
Some common misconceptions about creative arts therapies
Myth 1 – ‘Artistic types’ are best suited to creative arts therapies
Creative arts therapies do not rely on artistic knowledge or ability. They work by accessing imagination and creativity – qualities which all human beings possess – in order to generate new models of living and contribute to the development of a more integrated sense of self.
Myth 2 – Creative arts therapies are without a scientific basis
Evidence-based and practice-based research is well-established in all the creative arts therapies including visual art therapy, dance and movement therapy, dramatherapy and music therapy.
Myth 3 – The therapist interprets the work in an art therapy or creative arts therapy session
Asking people to reflect on their own creative work is an important part of an art therapy or creative arts therapy process because it is understood that everyone brings their own cultural influences and personal experiences to their creative process. Client and therapist work in a collaborative manner to empower the person to discover their own sense-making and to reach their fullest potential.
Some of the information above is cited from ANZACATA