The idea of using art to express one’s ideas more clearly has been practiced for tens of thousands of years. In the mid 1900’s art therapy began to gain traction, with The British Association of Art Therapists opening in 1964. Since then more and more people around the world have begun to explore art therapy. At Vlinder Expressive Arts Therapy we get asked lots of questions about the benefits of art therapy. Below are some of our frequently asked questions to help get you started. If you require more information, contact our Gold Coast studio.
Do I have to be artistic?
Not at all. Art comes from a place within the psyche, and artwork will not be judged for any artist merit. At Vlinder Expressive Arts Therapy, we believe everyone has the ability to create. Whether you’ve never picked up a brush before, or you’re an experienced artist, Veronica and her team welcome you to our studio.
Will anyone else see my art images?
The art therapy study is a very confidential place, and your art images will only be seen by you and the therapist. You are then welcome to show anyone you trust. Sharing your deep heartfelt images is akin to sharing an extract from your diary.
Do you have Medicare rebates available?
Not at this time.
Is it suitable for children under three years of age?
In some cases where children have well developed language, it may be possible for children this young, but mostly under 4 years of age enjoy “art as therapy” rather than “art therapy”.
What is the difference between “art as therapy’ and “art therapy”?
Lots of people enjoy the process of making art, and attest to the benefits they feel from that activity.
However, ‘art therapy’ is a powerful process that encourages a client to explore feelings and emotions through art making, whilst being supported by a professional art therapist. Together the art therapist and the client then examine the artwork to reveal insights and significance to the client.
I am allergic to some art materials, will I have to use particular paints etc?
Art therapy is a client centred process and all allergies and other concerns the client has, will be handled respectfully, with duty of care.
We have a client information form that covers these issues, and the art therapist is constantly checking in with client throughout the session, to ensure their health and wellbeing.
Will you keep my art work, or can I take it with me?
It is up to you. You are welcome to take your artwork with you, otherwise your artwork will be disposed of after the art therapy session. Artwork is not kept at the art therapy studio.
The art therapist may photograph it (with your permission) for future reference in your forthcoming sessions.
How is art therapy different to therapy by a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist?
Most counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists use ‘talk therapy’, a range of cognitive strategies and in the case of a psychiatrist, drugs are prescribed to a client to support challenging mental health issues.
Art Therapists use a range of skills, utilising many fundamental psychological principles, including cognitive behaviour and somatic responses. Art Therapists also use extensive knowledge of the art materials to support client empowerment.
By looking at their art work as an expression of themselves client’s emotions transform. They can begin to develop the skills to overcome personal challenges and build resilience and resources within themselves.
Can I go to art therapy to treat addiction?
If you are seeing a team of professionals, and art therapy has been assessed as a suitable support for your recovery, it can be VERY useful. Each case will be assessed before treatment begins.
Will art therapy get to the deeper reasons of why I can’t sleep/get anxious/overeat?
Art therapy does enable a client to access deeper aspects of themselves. If you enter your session with an open heart and open mind, and a willingness to delve deeper, anything is possible.
How long do I need to go to art therapy before I begin to feel the benefits?
It is recommended to start with a 90-minute session to allow for consultation time. During the consultation we will be able to assess how best to proceed. After your first session, another four one-hour sessions should start to make a profound difference to the original issue.
What does ‘Transpersonal’ and “client centred” mean?
Transpersonal acknowledges the mind, body and spirit of the client and is inclusive of different race, culture, ethnicity and sexuality, and how that determines the clients art therapy session in a unique way.
Client centred means that although the art therapist is managing the healing/creative space for the client, the art therapist will never interpret/judge or assume anything about how the client expresses themselves.
The art therapist will allow the client to engage in the session in the way that the client feels comfortable to proceed, checking in regularly and evolving the session to the client’s specific needs.