What is Art Therapy? Art therapy is expressive and experiential and encompasses the use of a wide range of artistic materials. It relies on creative and sensory processes to facilitate self-awareness, process emotions, spark change and offer healing. The process of creating can be relaxing, meditative, and cathartic and it can reveal information about one's inner world and life experiences. Also, the art produced can be reflected upon to uncover or create meaning. An image can speak where language fails. It can evoke memories, feelings and sensations and also provide a means of containing emotions that are overwhelming, misunderstood, painful, or confusing. Through guided or spontaneous art-making sessions, the art therapist and client naturally build a relationship and clients are able to express themselves and explore their inner world in a safe and supportive environment.
Why Art Therapy? Art making is therapeutic and can be a powerful means of communication when we struggle to find the language to express complicated thoughts, feelings or experiences. Sometimes using words to explain our experience can be limiting because our felt sense can be indescribable. Visual images formed through the use of art materials have a magical way of conveying aspects of ourselves that might be outside of our conscious awareness. Much of our life experience lives in our bodies in what we call implicit or cellular memory and we can internally process some of these sticky or icky experiences through making art - we don't even need to talk about it! Art-making helps us deal effectively and safely with difficult personal issues and aids us in managing illness or processing major life events that can cause stress, anxiety, pain, conflict, isolation, depression, and grief. Lastly, artmaking can also be rewarding and fun! Creative play is unfortunately given less priority in this competitive world that privileges productivity - but play and using our imagination are very important for our brains and our hearts!
Who is Art Therapy For? You do not need to have any prior experience or artistic skills to participate in art therapy. Art therapy is a useful and powerful method of self-understanding, expressing and processing for individuals of all ages. It has been shown to be effective for people seeking healing and recovery from chronic illness, mental health issues, addictions, abuse, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, grief, and loss. Art Therapy has proven extremely effective with children. It helps children with self-regulation, communication of repressed feelings, imagination and abstract thinking, sensory regulation and integration, relaxation, visual-spatial skills, development and growth, and emotional expression of anger, sadness, joy, etc.
I wish to acknowledge that I live, play and conduct my work on the stolen ancestral lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and Shíshálh First Nations.
I welcome your questions and offer free 15 minute meet & greets to see if we're a good fit!