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