We often hear "But I can't draw". Art Therapy is about the process of self-expression, therefore, no art experience is needed. We also use a variety of materials and techniques according to where the client is at: For example, the art therapist would give an anxious client marker or pencil (restive material) not watercolors (those are too fluid). We are trained in knowledge of art making materials, as in WHAT to use and WHY it is used, WHEN it is used.
Art therapy uses a variety of materials, from masks to boxes to books, paints, pastels, natural materials, various papers and other materials to awaken the creative process.
The art provides a visual piece which allows the client to view a different perspective and brings out subconscious images (can be related to the issues being worked on or other underlying issues).
A key goal in art therapy is to improve or restore the client's functioning and his/her sense of personal well being.
Clients are able to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase problem solving and self-esteem. Art is a safe place to express without words. The client can only verbalize what they feel comfortable and the art therapist will not psychoanalyze their art work, it's what the client has to say about their art. Clients may not have words to attach an issue or event (trauma) which makes art therapy ideal.
Art therapists are trained in both art and therapy. The process isn't an art lesson - it is grounded in the knowledge of human development, psychological theories and counseling techniques. ( Important to know, it is not art class and it IS therapy not just fun art making and may bring up difficult things)
Robyn Alliah is our Board Certified Art Therapist. She has used art therapy with PTSD/trauma, anxiety, depression, Autism Spectum, transgender clients, Family development, skill building coping), self expression, self empowerment and self-esteem (this is a great tool for self esteem), schizophrenic spectrum, impulsive behaviors, borderline personality and clients who don't want to talk or might be resistant in telling a stranger their "secrets".