Creative Arts Therapy

Artist: Toha Hasan

One thing in common...

Arts Therapy draws on a gift we all have – Creativity! Creative expression mirrors our inner world and enables us to see and understand the cause of our suffering and express our pain. As a sense of balance is restored, a relief from the symptoms of trauma is felt. (see 'Real Life Stories' tab and the Q & A below)

 

Everybody hurts…

The application of Creative Arts Therapy is as broad as is human suffering. The creative gift is a healing gift - a natural and gentle way of restoring broken hearts and shattered minds. Our confidence in Arts Therapy is based on its universality. To be human is to be creative. The Arts form an essential element of our experience. People all over the world tell stories, dance and act, sing and draw.

 

Arts Therapy combines this innate capacity for creative expression with a variety of psychological theoretical models from around the world. Science meets Art to produce an effective therapeutic treatment that is accessible to all.

Who needs it?

Artist: Toha Hasan

As Therapists we work with many different people to bring relief to the symptoms of trauma and enrich the quality of life: survivors of war or natural disasters, refugees and asylum seekers, those who have suffered loss and bereavement, victims and survivors of rape or childhood sexual abuse, those who self-harm or struggle with an eating disorder and children with severe behavioural problems are amongst those who benefit from Arts Therapy.

 

Arts Therapy can address the symptoms and causes of: bi-polar disorder and clinical depression, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug addiction and domestic violence. You will also find Arts Therapists providing a valued service for those with ASD (Autistc Spectrum Disorder) or with multiple and profound disability as well as those in neuro-rehab units following a severe brain injury.

 

Where do we work?

In hospitals, prisons, children’s secure units and youth offender institutes, schools and colleges, specialist units and private clinics…Arts Therapists work in partnership with psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, doctors, social workers, teachers, parents, youth workers, care staff and Aid workers.

How do you find an Arts Therapist?

Any of the above professionals can refer to Arts Therapy services where the profession is established.

In countries where state-registration and/or professional associations exist, lists will be held of qualified Arts Therapists practicing in your area. Individuals can also self-refer directly to an Arts Therapist.

Recognised, Registered and Accredited

Creative Arts Therapists hold a post-graduate professional qualification. In the UK they are State Registered with the HPC (Health Professions Council) as well as with their professional Associations (BADth, BAMT, AATP, UKCP, ADMT). There is a growing recognition of Clinical Arts Therapy around the world. Where the profession is established a similar standard of training and recognition exists.

"I have one or two questions...?"

"A Therapy for the Talented?"

No artistic ‘skill’ is needed to explore this world within us. The point is expression and not excellence. Often the more child-like and spontaneous the Art the more honest and powerful the expression. Its quality is in this honesty. It is not for sale; it is to heal, and therein lies its value – in its meaning and relevance to its creator. The therapist is not a critic – you won’t get a bad review! Neither are they like a teacher – you don’t get a mark and you can’t get it wrong!

"Child’s Play…?"

It’s not just a song and dance; in allowing creativity to do its gentle healing work and providing a safe place for creative ‘play’ we’re not playing with people’s lives. Creativity is powerful; the Arts Therapist understands creativity’s powerful connection with both the conscious and unconscious issues that lead to the debilitating symptoms of distress. They are ready and prepared to manage the emergence of deep pain and fear associated with traumatic events.

 

The Arts never lie - the Art we make acts as a mirror to our inner lives. As such, it goes to the source of our distress whilst enabling us to safely express chaotic and painful feelings. The process brings order, like making a home beautiful again after someone has broken in and ruined everything. As we begin to understand why we feel so low, or just repeat the same mistakes again and again, or think ourselves useless and worthless we can begin to choose something new for our lives. Each little revelation makes restoration possible. The restoration of hope, of self-belief, re-gaining balance and finding peace. Pain can be transformed into power – the power to change things for good.

"Does it have to take forever?!"

Not forever, no, but Creative Arts Therapy is not often a quick-fix. It’s as delicate as heart surgery and it takes time – the more serious the condition the more time is needed. No one wants the promise of an overnight miracle only to be disappointed, and no-one would ask a heart-surgeon to hurry up! We believe that healing from deep emotional and psychological wounds takes time just as healing from a serious physical wound does.

"I don’t want to talk about it …"

It is often very difficult to put trauma into words… it just feels too close to say it out loud. The Arts go beyond words. What you cannot say you can draw or act or dance or make your own ‘fictional’ story that says how life is for you like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or ‘The Ugly Duckling’ or ‘You Only Live Twice’. You don’t need to be in the story for the story to explain and express how you feel. As in drama, a character in a story can speak for you. The pain stuck inside you will always hurt – like a nasty splinter. The Art we make gently draws it out. 

"I don’t want to be labeled or judged…"

The relationship you have with an Arts Therapist is not really like the one we sometimes have with a doctor; we often expect to be told what’s wrong and what to do about it. The therapist recognises that it is the ‘client’ who is ‘the expert on their life’, and that it is they who can discover why they suffer and, in alliance with the therapist, find a path to recovery. This is a healing partnership. You will not be judged and you are accepted unconditionally just as you are.