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Art Therapy

How does Art Therapy Work?

Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body and emotions in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Sensory, kinaesthetic, perceptual and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of communication, which circumvent the limitations of language. 

What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy uses creative elements of visual arts, such as painting, drawing, clay and textiles to facilitate self-expression, communication and self-awareness. It promotes physical, mental, social and emotional well-being by combing traditional counselling with an understanding of the therapeutic aspects of the creative process.

Art making in a therapeutic setting can be beneficial for people of all ages to help resolve conflicts and gain greater clarity.

Art Therapy with Children & Teens

Many children and teens experience difficulty in verbally communicating their experiences and emotions, particularly when challenged or distressed. Whether it is their behaviour, a learning difficulty, disability, trauma or simply a unique personality that makes communication challenging, art therapy offers an alternative to verbally based therapies. Equally, art therapy works effectively in conjunction with verbal therapies and can encourage integration of non-verbal, verbal, visual and symbolic communication. 
Art activities and experiences offer an important and enjoyable way for children to gain a sense of control and mastery of themselves and their environment. As children can often have difficulty clearly articulating their feelings and experiences, the process of art making can be helpful in providing a natural and spontaneous form of communication, while helping to develop self-expression, self-awareness and self-esteem.
Art therapy effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals. It can be used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, cultivate emotional resilience, develop increased emotional regulation, develop fine motor skills, enhance social skills, build relationships and resolve or reduce conflicts.

Art Therapy for Parents

Sometimes when we become parents we are drawn to examine our own experiences of childhood and growing up. Strong emotions that we didn't necessarily expect to arise, do. And sometimes we find benefit in exploring ourselves and our own needs so that we can become more fully available for our children. 

You may appreciate some extra time and space to explore your personal journey in more depth, yet you may only have the emotions, not the words, which is why I offer individual art therapy to help take you from where you are, to where you want to be.

By offering an alternative to words, Art Therapy provides an opportunity for self-expression, communication and healing through visually oriented methods. Art Therapy can also be used in conjunction with counselling.

Images take me apart;
images put me back together again, new, enlarged, with breathing room."
                 Pat B. Allen

Trauma Sensitive Art Therapy

Trauma Informed art and play therapy provide opportunities for children to symbolically role play and represent their inner and outer experiences. Art and play are children's natural languages and their way of making sense of their worlds.

During trauma, the verbal and cognitive parts of the brain often shut down to protect an individual from the traumatic experience, yet the experience can be stored at a sensory level, becoming inaccessible with words. Art and play may assist individuals to express memories and experiences non-verbally, and assist their eventual integration into a more coherent verbal narrative.

Through the development of a safe, accepting and attuned therapeutic relationship, Melissa aims to follow a child's lead, allowing them to move at their own pace and explore trauma related themes as they are ready.

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