People Come to Art Therapy for a wide range of reasons. Some people have been referred to Art Therapy due to illness, life changes, losses, pain hurt and anger, this list is endless.
When someone comes to an Art Therapy session, they are given the opportunity to use a range of art materials and explore feelings and they are encouraged to talk about how life may be affecting them at the time. This is all carried out safely, and in confidence with an Art Therapist at a regular time and date.
People who come to therapy are free from being diagnosed with problems by the therapist. They are not told that their behaviour is due to an illness. Art Therapists are not to behave like Psychiatrists or Doctors when they facilitate Art Therapy. Whilst some behaviours can be linked to mental or physical distress and the evidence may support the link, The therapist will not tell the client that. Art Therapy is about exploration and opening up. It is a journey of self-discovery.
If a person has a diagnosis, that is because a trained medical or psychological professional had consulted with the person and has been advised what may be the issue.
Art Therapists go beyond seeing all symptoms as a sign of disease. Art Therapy is not about judging the client. Art Therapists do not diagnose people. Art Therapists do a lot of listening.
Art Therapy is a powerful medium and can bring to the surface a lot of long buried feelings for a person. When this happens it is a rich time to explore what those feelings are about. This takes time to do, and the therapist will be there to make sure that the person feels safe to work on such strong emotion. Hopefully the person attending Art Therapy sessions has a support network outside of therapy to help them between sessions.
Sometimes, a person decides to make some changes in their lives because of what they have found out about themselves. Bringing about change and doing so in the persons own way is a successful use of Art Therapy.
Throughout many examples explored, art therapy was useful in helping family members listen to one another, rebalance hierarchies, and “provided a vehicle for the individuals to take advantage of increased self-expressive abilities and share their internal experiences as communication between family/system members (Linesch, p. 158).