Art Psychotherapy - An overview

Irene is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths University of London.

After over fifteen years working as a Graphic Designer, she felt that she wanted to be more involved in using her art to help others. Art Psychotherapy seemed to be the best choice for her new endeavour.

To understand what this new subject entailed, she took a foundation course with The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) in London and, in the same year, entered Goldsmiths University of London.

Between 1994 and 2000 when she was studying, Irene spent those six years also working in care homes for the elderly. These residents were suffering from a variety of different mental health disorders. Little did she realize how important this work had been, when later it proved to be part of the requisite experience for her acceptance on the Art Psychotherapy course.

In general not many people understand what Art Psychotherapy is all about. Below is a short and clear explanation from BAAT (The British Association of Art Therapists). There are also two short movies from the BAAT website, to illustrate further.

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing. Art therapists work with children, young people, adults and the elderly. Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses. These include emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions and physical illnesses. Art therapy is provided in groups or individually, depending on clients’ needs. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be enjoyable. Clients do not need to have any previous experience or expertise in art.

More information about Art Therapy at:
http://www.baat.org

http://www.baat.org/About-Art-Therapy/Art-Therapy-Videos/What-happens-in-art-therapy

http://www.baat.org/About-Art-Therapy/Art-Therapy-Videos/Service-users-and-carers-talk-about-art-therapy