Education and creativity

This is an excellent and very entertaining look at how creativity is under appreciated in our education system. A fabulous presentation;


Only the Client knows what their art work means

We “lose contact with the potential wisdom of our own functioning and lose confidence in ourselves”

Kirschenbaum, H. and Henderson, V. L.  (Eds)  (1997 p176)  The Carl Rogers Reader.  London:  Constable.


As clients unravel the meaning of their art work they realise and recognise their own resources.

image from art therapy session


Drawing from the unconscious

  • We can also create art from the unconscious bringing it to a conscious level.
  • Developmentally we draw before we talk.
  • We dream in imagery.

Freud proposed the evocative metaphor of the psyche as like an iceberg: only the upper 10% of it is visible (i.e conscious) the rest is submerged and unseen.

Freud. S (1923/1994) The Ego and the ID





Must Haves for art Therapy to work

  • Trust- a therapeutic alliance between the art therapist the client and a willingness to work through art media.
  • Courage-Symbolically…you face the unknown with the art therapist; the blank page, lump of clay, blank canvas, unknown emotions…

Rollo May (1994p13) The Courage to Create

How Does Art therapy work?

         We naturally look for ways to heal ourselves and survive. As with all types of therapy the aim is to support each individual to heal ‘themselves’, i.e. the therapist doesn’t write a prescription or give ‘answers’; the art therapist is a support mechanism.

         “The organism, in its normal state, moves toward its own fulfilment, toward self-regulation and an independence from external control.”  (Rogers, 1980:119)






Who would benefit from Art Therapy?

· Art Therapy can be beneficial in individual or in group settings.

· Art Therapists work in a variety of environments including hospitals, palliative care, prisons, schools, disability services, mental health services etc.

Art Therapy can be an excellent medium for all age groups and cultural backgrounds as verbal communication is not central to this form of therapy.

What is the difference between doing Art Therapy with an Art Therapist and an artist?

In one Word SAFETY!

An Art Therapist is qualified to ensure that therapeutic boundaries are upheld at all times during an art therapy session: ensuring that Ethical issues such as confidentially are adhered to. Art Therapy training like psychotherapy training involves a huge theoretical education ranging from symbolisim and archetypes to personality development, the effects of trauma, multi culturalism etc.

The art therapist is trained in the humanistic principles of ‘Do no Harm’  ‘a client centred’ practice; ensuring that the art therapist is aware of the effects on the client of how their expressions and disclosures are received and responded to. The art Therapist is also legally obliged to be supervised by a trained Supervisor who monitors they are practicing ethically and safely. The art therapist also legally has to be insured.

 A major aspect of art therapy is the safety and trust (the therapeutic alliance) that exists between the art therapist and the client. The therapist brings their training and empathy from their own history of personal therapy (a mandatory component of training) and ideally none of their own personal baggage (hence Supervision acts as an objective watchdog).

The client also realises as the art therapist and client relationship grows that they have an important witness and ally in their personal journey and an hour a week of their own time that is attended by a completely attentive and present art therapist.