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.

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