With all that has happened in the last few years, I have seen many people suffer a lot of health issues on a physical level with increases in autoimmune disorders and cancers through to emotional and mental issues including stress, anxiety, depression and trauma and wanted to find a tool to help people express what they are feeling.

Trauma has been a large issue with many people’s lives being changed in a variety of unexpected ways and feeling lost and out of control with where they are going in life.

In 2022 I was able to watch a video about Bernie Segal’s work with cancer clients. He was a strong advocate for art therapy. About the same time I also read a book by Bessel van der Kolt called “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” an inspiring and moving book where the role of art therapy in helping the healing process was discussed. Both inspired me that art therapy would be an amazing tool to offer clients. I went back to study in 2023 and added a qualification in Art Therapy to what I can offer.

Art therapy is not about how well you draw, it is about having an avenue to express how you feel. For many there may be an inability to talk, or to say what they want, or they may not know the words to describe how they are feeling.

Art therapy includes a variety of mediums including:

  • Drawing, especially drawing stick figures, The idea is to draw what you are feeling and not about producing a show picture. Paint, pencils, crayons, markers and pastels may all be used in your creation.
  • Finger painting, a great way of taking the pressure out of painting, is using fingers instead of a brush, it is both creative and allows your inner child to express themselves.
  • Clay therapy is very therapeutic as you mould clay into figures and different shapes. Air-dry clay and plasticine are used.
  • Collage making, which was often our first introduction to art, can help you use pictures to express the words you may not be able to say.
  • Sand therapy, where you can hide or find resources to help you deal with issues.
  • Using models to show how you interact with others and how this could be changed.
  • Vision boards, to help you create the life you are dreaming of.
  • Symbolism and colour are significant factors studied in art therapy and often give deep insight to what is going on in the person’s subconscious to help with transformation and change.
  • Meditation and mindfulness are an integral part of an art therapy session as they help to centre you and still your mind so you can access your subconscious so you can clear the habits and patterns that are holding you back.

For many people there are years of hidden and painful memories that are affecting our daily life and art therapy is a safe tool to help release these. I then add to this flower essences to help you bring change into your life in an easy and safe way.

Art therapy can assist healing in all areas of your life. It is a great tool to help with emotional upsets and trauma as well as helping bring in positive elements of having a positive life focus.

Clay Play
Do you remember playing with clay or maybe even earlier in your life with play-doh or plasticine. The feel of moulding the clay into different shapes was great fun.

Clay play is also part of art therapy. It can be great to manipulate the clay to move feelings of frustration, hurt, grief and pain.

There is something instinctual that happens when we use clay to do the talking and story telling and barriers are broken down.

You can use the clay to express what you are feeling, and then it can be remodelled or you can start again and create what you want - It is very powerful.

No painting or drawing experience is needed for Clay Play and we use air-dry clay which can be painted later.

A great fun way of helping people to express what is going on inside them.

Do you notice Mandalas? Maybe you have been walking around a garden, or old church, or even window shopping and you have spotted a Mandala. It is hard to spot one and keep going - there is something magical and mystical about a Mandala that makes you pause - it draws you in.

Mandalas are associate with Buddhist and Hindu traditions, however they are found in many indigenous cultures all around the world.

Mandala is a Sanskrit term means circle or round. It should be noted that mandalas may also be squares and triangles.

As part of art therapy you may draw your own Mandala. To do so you can start with a circle, or you can challenge yourself to draw your own circle. You then add shapes you feel drawn to add. When you have completed the shapes you then add colour. The shapes and colours are then interpreted to reveal the hidden message within the Mandala.

Creating a Mandala is very meditative and it is inspiring the messages it reveals. It is an amazing way of helping people to express what is going on inside them.