What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a vehicle for physical regulation, social and emotional engagement, as well as creativity. Sessions at TAG include material or concept driven directives to provide a framework for the therapist-client interactions or social interactions among groups. Materials are carefully selected to meet the specific needs and interests of each individual and can be used in a novel way to promote Art Therapy, DIR and other goals.
The Art Therapist uses materials and sensory art experiences to gain access to emotions and drive clients to meet fundamental developmental levels. As a means of expression, art can be paramount for those who may not be able to express emotions through spoken language, acting as a tool to ease frustration and anger or to express happiness in a safe and non-judgmental way.
In an Art Therapy session, the therapist will use affect, cuing and modeling to encourage and increase interaction working towards a continuous flow, help clients expand ideas by playfully obstructing familiar patterns, expand peer interactions by using highly motivating themes that require group practice and draw attention to others, and expand creative play and exploration of materials. Through the use of Floortime-DIR and RDI techniques, the Art Therapist will follow the client’s lead and guide them through the developmental levels in accord with their goals.
Art Therapy can be used as a window into the unknown inner world of the client or the relationships present during a session, yet it is up to the therapist to help those involved use the art for self discovery and also as a safe alternative to expressing feelings.
Who Benefits from Art Therapy?
Groups, individual, dyads, and/or families that relate to any of the following:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome
- Anger management
- Physical or mental illnesses
- Those looking to better understand themselves
- Those looking for a safe place to express their feelings in a non-threatening way
Q: Do I need to have good art skills to qualify?
A: Absolutely not! Art Therapists only look for an authentic expression of the individual while making art regardless of their skill level.
Q: Will the Art Therapist read my artwork and tell me what it is all about?
A: This is a big misconception about Art Therapy; Art Therapists are not fortunetellers looking into a crystal ball, they are individuals trained in seeing what is in and missing from the art and directing discussions to the more personal and subconscious meanings behind those elements to guide the client themselves into self-discovery.
Q: How much talking is involved?
A: As little or as much as the client feels comfortable with. If all the client needs is for the Art Therapist to be present in order to witness their message through their art, which may be too difficult or complicated to express through words, the art will speak on their behalf.
Q: Which materials will I use?
A: Art Therapists are trained to match the client with materials that will help them feel competent, challenge them, regulate them or simply match their experience; all depending on the need of the client and their goals. If the client struggles with finding the right material for them, the Art Therapist will be there to help with suggestions and ideas.