What is Art Therapy and Who is it for?

Art therapy is a mental health practice that combines psychotherapeutic theories with the visual arts. Art and the creative process are mediums through which individuals can work on self-exploration and understanding, to resolve any psychological conflicts, address any emotional issues that might be distressing and confusing. Individuals can also develop interpersonal skills to increase self-awareness and achieve insight.

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art materials and the creative process as its primary mode of expression and communication. It can be accessible to individuals with a range of disabilities and diagnoses. These may include learning or physical disabilities, emotional, behavioural or mental health issues, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions or physical illnesses.

Art therapy can be provided in groups, couples, families or individually, depending on the individual’s needs. No previous experience or skill in art is necessary, the art therapist is not an art teacher it should not be confused with art lessons or a recreational activity although art therapy sessions can be creative, playful and enjoyable.  The art therapist focuses on the process rather than the finished product and facilitates the therapeutic relationship and support the personal exploration and their artwork.  The art materials can provide a wide range of imagery, colours and shapes that are part of the creative therapeutic process where thoughts and feelings are being explored.