Why see an Arts Therapist
For children/teens… they can sometimes present with a range of challenging behaviours and emotional states. These often impede their ability to learn, thrive and experience positive relationships. Therapy can help with behaviours such as: defiant, disruptive or oppositional; inattentive, anxious and or/troubled; poor concentration or hyper-vigilance; depressed, sad, lonely or withdrawn; lack of confidence and poor self-esteem.
Therapy can help when a child has experienced: abuse, neglect and/or attachment disorders; loss and bereavement; family breakdown, adoption and fostering; crisis and change; bullying; natural disasters or political upheaval.
The arts and play are a natural language for children and help give us a window into their unique worlds of experience. They provide a safe space for children to explore, test, re-design and sculpt their stories in a way that makes sense for them.
For adults… therapy can help when a person is experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, has just lost a loved one, needing support to be in relationship with others, been through a break up, wanting to exploring past traumas, understand why certain patterns of harmful (to self or others) behaviour keep occuring, or just interested in developing greater self-awareness and personal growth.
As adults it’s often difficult to get to the root of our behaviours and experiences and understand where certain emotions are coming from. This is because patterns of behaviour have been deeply ingrained over many years and it may require the help of therapist to shed some light on the beliefs and ideas that inform our experiences.
Sometimes this exploration can happen through talk therapy, but sometimes there are things that can’t be put into words or things that may be deeply buried in our subconscious. This is where art can help. When we work with art materials we are often bypassing our rational/logical brain and going straight to the feeling/sensing areas of the brain. This is where trauma is often stored, and where we sometimes find beliefs that are no longing serving us. The art provides a way to externalise that which we’re hoping to explore, and gives us a safe distance from which to unpack and make sense of these things.
The process of making art has many therapeutic qualities even before we start to make sense of what we’ve created. For example, tactile materials can create a sense of groundedness and mindfulness. Some materials can be cathartic to use, while others can actually help regulate the nervous system.