As well as talking, your Art Therapist might help you also use drawing, painting, clay, collage, picture postcards, sandtray or even puppets, in order to find ways to express things that it can be hard to find the right words for.
Seeing your feelings in the form of an artwork, and talking about this with your Art Therapist, can be an incredible experience! You may find you can discover new ideas that had been hidden previously, that can make a huge difference in how you understand and get through your difficulties.
Do you have to be good at art?
Surprisingly, you don’t even have to be 'good at art' to use Art Therapy effectively! It’s totally different from an art lesson, and there genuinely is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do things with the art materials. The therapist is not there to judge or teach; they are there to connect with you and to help you understand yourself better through your creativity.
Using the Arts in therapy:
- Helps you ‘get out of your head’ and really connect to your body, feelings, and imagination
- Helps you connect with your unconscious mind - the part that ‘makes’ you feel and behave in ways that you find sometimes hard to explain or understand
- Helps you get clearer about what’s going on in certain relationships or situations in your life
- Helps you figure out how you really feel about things
- Helps you share things with your therapist that may have felt impossible to put into words
- Helps you connect with yourself on a ‘feelings’ level and not just on a ‘thoughts’ level
- Helps you feel satisfied because you’ve been able to express something in a way that feels ‘true’
- Helps you ‘try out’ different ways of being, and imagine new solutions to your difficulties
- Helps you feel like you’re a truly creative person (even if you’ve never been quite sure if you had that in you!)
- Helps you work with traumatic memories and difficult feelings in a safer, more manageable way
- Helps you connect with the wisdom of your dreams
- Helps you get better at managing your feelings instead of feeling overwhelmed, frightened or controlled by them
If this feels like it might be something you’d like to try, do make sure you find an Art Therapist who is registered with HCPC (the Health & Care Professions Council). Have a talk with the Art Therapist over the phone first, to see whether you might be able to work well together. If you then go ahead and meet them, trust your instincts: if you get a good feeling about them and sense that they ‘get you’, then that’s likely to be a good sign.