"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward experience.”
What is Art Therapy?
The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) state:
"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.
Although influenced by psychoanalysis, art therapists have been inspired by theories such as attachment-based psychotherapy and have developed a broad range of client-centred approaches such as psycho-educational, mindfulness and mentalization-based treatments, compassion-focussed and cognitive analytic therapies, and socially engaged practice. Exploring the links between neuro-science and art therapy has also been at the forefront of some of the BAAT's conferences. Importantly, art therapy practice has evolved to reflect the cultural and social diversity of the people who engage in it."
Art Therapy Services I Offer
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
Maya Angelou, I know why the Caged Bird Sings.
Sometimes words can be hard to find. Or harbour too much pain to be spoken aloud. Making art can formulate a more accepting way of processing these, at times confusing or unwanted sensations. As an art therapist I am here to support you through this process, not pass judgement, but work alongside and accompany you on this journey. Work is made relevant to you and can evolve through many alternative styles. Like; representation, metaphor, symbolism, abstraction... The media and direction of application is equally your decision. When engaged in art making you have control and direct the necessary choices. Creatively directing and exploring this process will become empowering and build confidence.
You may have used art materials before, or, perhaps not had the opportunity for sometime. I will encourage a process that feels right for you. In my sessions I aim for you to find an authentic method of working that feels relevant to you.
We all hold many stories. Through art, we find the necessary way of unfolding our truth.
One to One Therapy
Your visual voice is important to me.
For individual clients, I receive enquiries through a referral process. These can be directed through a professional, multi-disciplinary team or applied, self referrals. This is a brief summary of what brings you to art therapy and contact details.
My intention with sessions is to put you at ease, while encouraging the natural flow of self expression through the use of differing art materials. Exercises will be developed appropriate to you, and your working method. Self directed work is also supported and encouraged, but not needed if struggling for ideas. The exercises I suggest are intended to inspire your imagination and evolve naturally by theme and media exploration.
Sessions are typically an hour long. It can be prior arranged and extended to 2 hours if desired.
Dynamic interaction, where all are welcome.
Throughout our lives much social learning is achieved in a group environment. We watch, engage and make relationships upon these experiments and findings. So it seems natural to develop and encourage this process with a trained practitioner.
I provide an exploratory programme designed specifically for a groups need. Working this way can provide mutual support and problem solving for individuals sharing similar problems, while encouraging democracy, respect, responsibility and hope. I have facilitated group work for a wide range of clients, and found a powerful aspect of group work being the clients realisation of, "I am not alone, in my experience or feelings". Certain clients finding the premise of individual work too intense, so the feedback and mutual support within a group can help strengthen their emotional well being, developing confidence and self expression.
Groups usually consist of between 6 - 8 clients (no more than 10) and last 2 hours.
Community Arts Projects
Inspiring, engaging and fun!
I have the necessary skills to provide a programme for individual or ongoing community arts projects relevant to needs and abilities. Recent activities I have facilitated include:
All-inclusive social enterprise for adults with learning disabilities. Work celebrated throughout the 11 floors of Doncaster Council House; annual submissions and sales to the local museum.
Themed painting workshop for children. This encouraged colour and associated mood, imagination and exploration of application and media.
Clients I have worked with include:
Children, Adolescents, Adults and the Elderly.
Issues I have supported include:
Emotional and mental health (depression, anger, confidence and self-esteem, anxiety, trauma: post traumatic stress disorder and dissociation, suicidal thoughts, self harm, phobias, substance misuse and psychosis). Bereavement, autism spectrum condition, Aspergers Syndrome, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, sexual and physical abuse.
Please contact me today for any further enquires on the link at the bottom of the page.
I am a skilled, developing practitioner, registered with the Health Care Professional Council (AS14849). Additionally I have over twenty years experience as a practising, exhibiting fine artist and illustrator.
Evidenced art psychotherapy skills include:
Achieved over a 100 hours clinical work when studying; substance misuse rehabilitation and locked unit for males with psychosis. RDaSH.
Provide group and one to one sessions.
Design and adapt exercises and a suitable programme for referral clients.
Engage with vulnerable individuals to sensitively establish a therapeutic alliance.
Compassionately and patiently engage with individuals utilising my artistic knowledge through a person centered, humanistic approach.
Art work provides an outlet for non verbal communication when expression becomes difficult.
Sensitively support service users to investigate their own present emotional state.
Facilitate and promote group interaction; their thoughts/beliefs and respect for one another through discussion and empathy.
Provide group activities and facilitate a programme for the service user to be in control of their own developing recovery and learning.
Capability to quickly adapt and provide the necessary therapeutic frame in alternative situations.
Commitment to patiently observe, listen and support client needs independently.
Provide confidential, non-judgemental, objective records of client engagement for a multidisciplinary team.
Work closely with resident psychologists; support, discuss and theorise.
Utilise reflective study and further education through regular supervision and personal therapy.
Previous Art Support
Conisbrough Social Education Centre
2007 - 2011
Before graduating I worked within a large social education centre for adults with learning disabilities. I have always been conscious of the therapeutic aspect of personal art work, however I wanted to share, support and engage with others my findings. The centre catered for a wealth of abilities (both physical and cognitive) who couldn't necessarily work upon representation. However I wanted to show the vast additional ways art could be used, and structured a programme around self expression.
Please click on the ConSEC button for further details.
"Art as Therapy"
Small selection of work produced by adults with learning disabilities. I encouraged their working method and developed processes so all could be included, irrelevant of believed skill or ability. Paint was dripped, dabbed, scratched, blown and masked when application was found difficult.
From a young age I felt a natural affinity for art materials and the private sanctuary it permitted.
These images became a way of processing and understanding my surroundings by constructing
fanciful, alternative depictions of what I saw and felt.
This passion continued throughout school and later university where I studied fine art and illustration at
degree level in Bradford. My combined working method as a practising artist and employment, informed my
imagery and a desire to explore the healing possibility involved in making art. After this discovery I later returned to university and completed an MA in art psychotherapy. All coursework achieved high 2:1 grades, including my dissertation. While my case study was awarded a first. I feel it’s important to maintain a personal connection in making art and continued throughout my youth and study. Regularly exhibiting nationally, with now over twenty years experience as a fine artist and commissioned illustrator.
Previously I taught and facilitated a successful art group for a range of learning and physical disabilities that encouraged a person centered approach and inclusion of all (ConSEC). This equally reignited my belief in the healing potential of art and my pursuit of an art therapy career.
Since qualifying I have provided sessions for group and individual referrals through RDaSH (substance misuse rehabilitation and a locked unit for males with psychosis), Doncaster Council (Community Adult Autism Team and Community Adult Learning Disability Team) and the registered charity Open Minds.
Your mental and emotional well-being are important to me. I am compassionate and sensitive to your needs and intend to genuinely see and hear where you presently reside. I guarantee I will provide the most accommodating and welcoming environment for our working relationship to begin. I do take great satisfaction from seeing my clients thrive and heal, however this is a dynamic relationship that needs work from both parties to achieve the most successful of results. As a therapist there is no greater personal achievement than to see an individual you have helped, grow and fulfil their potential.
Please don't hesitate to contact me on the link below regarding any further enquires.
This is a brief selection of client work, all work belongs to the artist and remains confidential. Images used throughout this website were granted permission by the producing artist before publishing to the internet.
Many thanks to all involved for their kindness and generosity.