Similar to a regular psychotherapy session in context, art psychotherapy is based on the same theoretical background. I use Jungian theories to inform my interpretations of artworks together with my clients. With the added medium of visual arts as a form of communication during sessions, art psychotherapy can be particularly useful in cases in which clients may have difficulty verbalizing some of their thoughts and/or emotions. It may be that the presenting issue is too complex or the client’s trauma is pre-verbal in nature.
Art making can be a way to give expression to feelings that may sometimes elude words. As our brain naturally think in images, and art can be helpful in getting to the source of our thoughts before it is translated into language. Art, images and symbols are natural pathways to the unconscious.
There is no requirement for artistic ability to engage in an art psychotherapy session. More often than not, clients who are trained artists may find it takes a bit more time before they can express themselves freely. You are more than welcome to move between talk and art making; there’s no pressure to start and finish with any one modality.
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