Art Psychotherapy

What is Art Psychotherapy?

Art Psychotherapy is also known as Art Therapy. It is used within the NHS and private settings, applying a range of approaches within clinical practice. It uses art making therapeutically, with the aim of providing an opportunity for personal development and to support our mental health. 

Farnham based therapist Hannah Turner is here to explain what Art Psychotherapy is. If you’d like to arrange a phone call to learn more, please ring the clinic to arrange this.

There are many reasons why a child, adolescent, or adult, would use Art Therapy. For example, it could be because of low mood, anxiety, stress, loss/grief, low self-esteem, trauma, depression, communication and developmental issues, self-harm, relationship issues. These are just a few examples, and it could be that you are feeling lost and just want to make sense of your emotions or thoughts. 

In a safe and non-judgemental space, Art Therapy can help people explore and process challenging feelings. Feelings that might be bubbling at the surface or feelings that emerge at a deeper level. People often can feel stuck when first coming to therapy. By creating art or looking together at imagery, with or alongside a qualified therapist, a new kind of ‘thinking together’ relationship can be created. A space where someone might start to reflect on what’s going on for them and where the therapeutic relationship develops, alongside your need to be heard and understood.

Putting something down on paper, whether it is planned or not, can be incredibly powerful. At your pace and in a confidential setting, the therapist can look with you, at what feels important for you. Or, it could be that you find art making relaxing and it is easier to talk whilst using a material or tool. There is no right or wrong way to express yourself and there isn’t one specific way of working, the therapist adapts to your needs. You don’t have to have any previous experience of using art materials to use art therapy.

Play is a key part of how children learn about the world, express themselves and tell stories. Art therapy uses ‘playing’ throughout its process. Children naturally find having an object to ‘play’ and ‘express’ with, much less anxiety provoking than talking about what is on their mind. Art Therapy can connect and meet the client in their world, and this is just as important with adults as well as children. As adults, we forget how to ‘play’ and this should be encouraged as we grow and develop throughout our lives, especially when things can feel heavy. 

The therapist will offer you an initial phone conversation to let you know more about the service.  You will have the opportunity to establish if art therapy is something that you both agree might potentially help you, ask questions and raise any concerns.  Should you wish to continue your booking, an assessment session will be arranged to assess your needs and agree upon the next step. 

Therapy is available for children aged 5 to 11 years old, adolescents aged from 11 to 17 years old and adults.

Child and adolescent appointments will require a parent or carer to be involved in the initial assessment process before the child has a 1:1 session. Please do call the clinic if you’d like to discuss making a referral or book an initial conversation. 

There is evidence to show that having weekly or regular therapy over a longer period is usually more beneficial than one short term block of sessions. Starting therapy can understandably feel very nerve-racking and ‘new’. It takes time to build the trust with the therapist and get the most out of your sessions. We recommend having a block of six sessions to start with, to see how it feels and to properly give the process a chance. 

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