Art Therapy is a service provided to the pupils within the school. The service provides a safe space whereby the young people can express their thoughts and feelings. The aim is to promote emotional wellbeing and support the pupils within education.
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing.
Art Therapists work with children, young people, adults and the elderly. Pupils may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses. These include emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions and physical illnesses.
Art Therapy is provided in groups or individually, depending on the pupils' needs. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be enjoyable. Pupils do not need to have any previous experience or expertise in art.
Although influenced by psychoanalysis, art therapists have been inspired by theories such as attachment-based psychotherapy and have developed a broad range of client-centred approaches such as psycho-educational, mindfulness and metallization-based treatments, compassion-focussed and cognitive analytic therapies, and socially engaged practice. Exploring the links between neuro-science and art therapy has also been at the forefront of some of the British Association Of Art Therapist (BAAT) conferences. Importantly, art therapy practice has evolved to reflect the cultural and social diversity of the people who engage in it.
How can Art Therapy help?
Art Therapy may focus on the creative art-making process itself, as therapy, or on the analysis of expression gained through an exchange of pupil and Therapist interaction. The psychoanalytic approach was one of the earliest forms of art psychotherapy. This approach employs the transference process between the therapist and the pupil who makes art. The therapist interprets the pupil's symbolic self-expression as communicated in the art and elicits interpretations from the pupil. Analysis of transference is no longer always a component.
Current art therapy includes a vast number of other approaches such as: person-centered, cognitive, behaviour, gestalt, narrative, adlerian, family (systems) and more. The tenets of art therapy involve humanism, creativity, reconciling emotional conflicts, fostering self-awareness, and personal growth.
What do we mean by confidentiality?
Art Therapy takes place within a confidential framework in which information, including art work, is not to be shared with others without consent unless there are concerns about the young person’s safety. This confidentiality is maintained within the framework of the multidisciplinary team.
The Art Therapists are Susanna Coan and Nadine Wilkinson. They are skilled in the areas of non-verbal communication, symbolic and visual imagery. The Therapists adapt their work according to the pupil and practice is informed by psychodynamic theory and their experience as artists. The Art Therapists are State Registered and are regulated by the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC).
How can pupils access Art Therapy?
Pupils are able to self-refer as well as staff, parents/carers and external agencies. Once a referral is made the pupil is given an initial assessment so that the therapist and pupil can decide if it is right for them.
There are regular reviews as part of therapy which offer opportunities to review progress, answer questions and to share information with parents on how best to support the young person. There may be art therapy sessions where parents/carers participate if this is felt appropriate by all involved.
Further information can be found at www.baat.org