Some people find it challenging to express themselves through words. Art therapy is a beautiful way to channel your inner creativity and communicate your emotions.
Curious to learn more about what it’s all about? We chat with leading NDIS Art Therapist, and Founder of Art Therapy Gold Coast, Anna Ward.
What Is Art Therapy?
Basically, it's a medical health profession. We use psychotherapeutic techniques and we combine that with the creative process, to help people work through a number of things.
For people living with psychosocial disabilities, art therapy can help with mental health and build coping mechanisms to support anxiety and depression.
For people living with physical disabilities, art therapy can help them use their fine motor skills, assisting with spatial awareness.
It can help them work through some of the emotions of living with a disability and some of the troubles that they might come across along the way, or just hurdles that they encounter in their everyday life.
What Happens In Your Very First Art Therapy Session?
The first session is all about making sure I would be the right fit and the therapeutic relationship is the right fit.
Similar to a counsellor or a psychologist, art therapy can involve working through deep feelings, so it’s really important that someone feels comfortable working with me.
We get to know each other, we talk about what the plan is moving forward and we chat through your NDIS goals.
After we meet, I always encourage people to go away and think about it. Don’t make a decision straight away. I also recommend a trial period.
If after 3 sessions you’re not enjoying it, then we stop the treatment.
It’s really important people feel empowered to decide what feels right for them.
Do You Have To Be Creative For Art Therapy?
Absolutely not! A lot of the time, it's about the process and the insights that evolve throughout the journey.
But for some of my clients, there is definitely a goal-driven product that they would like to get at the end. This is for their self-esteem. To feel capable and to feel like they are achieving something.
As long as you can apply color and marks to a piece of paper, then we can do Art therapy.
If you’re willing to have an open mind and you’re OK sitting in that potential discomfort for a couple of sessions, then you will experience big benefits from treatments.
What Should Someone Look For When Choosing An NDIS Art Therapist To Work With?
If you want an accredited Art Therapist, you can browse profiles on ANZACATA, the Australian, New Zealand Art Therapy Association. You are not an approved Art Therapist unless you have ANZACATA registration.
Take the time to meet 2-3 different therapists and do a trial period. Like finding the right NDIS Support Worker, it’s really important you find an art therapist you feel comfortable working with.