Art therapy combines the creative arts with traditional talk therapy (I frequently use cognitive behavioral therapy, transpersonal psychology, existential psychology, and mindfulness). Art has the power to help us fully express our emotions, heal old wounds, re-discover parts of ourselves, and make us feel more alive. It connects us to ourselves and the world around us.
Sometimes people tell me, “But I can’t draw!” Don't worry! Art therapy is not about perfect artistic form or realistic images. Art therapy is about expression and the process of creation.
Art therapy involves all forms of art - from clay to painting to poetry. I might ask you to crush clay or scribble across a page. Other times you might create collage or simple stick figure drawing. The focus is not on the end product. It's about how the art lets you express emotions and connect with parts of yourself.
If you have no artistic experience, art therapy can still help you. It has been my experience that people who are introduced to something new often create directly from their heart - which is exactly the connection we want. I will always meet you exactly where you are in artistic skill, interest, and creativity. We can incorporate as little or much art into your session as you want.
What do we do in a session?
Our first session begins with us sitting down together to talk about your goals and your intake questionnaire. During this time, I may offer you different art materials to play with while we talk. I do this to help you ease any anxiety as we get to know each other.
Once we have established your goals for our work together, we will design a treatment plan together. We will decide which goals we want to address first.
In subsequent sessions, we start by sitting down together to check in on how you are doing. Everything we do is based on what will help you most. We may continue talking the rest of the session or we may move into an art therapy activity. I design art therapy activities to help you reach your goals. No session is the same because everything we do is designed specifically for you.
If I feel you have some anger that needs expressing - I may have you create a splatter painting or break some plates. If you want to explore parts of your identity, I may have you create a magazine collage of images that speak to you. If you are honoring a person you lost, I may have you use a wood burner to carve their name into a memorial box.
Depending on the art activity, we may work side by side, talk, or work in silence. Everything we do is uniquely tailored to your needs, skills, and comfort level.
After an art therapy activity, we may sit and talk about what the process was like and what you learned, felt, released, or experienced.
At the end of a session, I will give you a hand-made art card with a written activity for you to complete on your own time. I like to call it "self-work." These activities are designed for you to start enacting meaningful change in your life between our meetings.