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Arts Therapies

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“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”, Aristotle.

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Introduction

Sometimes feelings are difficult to put into words. Art therapies take a non-verbal approach to therapy, using the arts (art, music and drama) as a way of exploring complex emotions that might feel too overwhelming to express in other ways. Art therapies don’t require any particular artistic talent or skill, just a willingness to take part, get creative and see what comes up.

Approach

In your sessions, your therapist will guide you towards creating something - be it music, art or theatre. Art therapies tend to be more exploratory in style instead of adhering to set structures. Sessions will usually begin with your therapist asking you whether there’s a particular issue you’d like to explore. If that’s the case, then they might lay down particular goals for you to work towards during your time together. If not, you’ll simply be encouraged to start creating, and your sessions will gradually take shape from there. Your therapist might steer or prompt you along the way, but you’ll always be encouraged to express yourself only in ways that feel comfortable to you.

Your session

It’s important to be prepared for moments of silence in art therapies. Just in the same way that you wouldn’t want to be interrupted whilst you’re talking, the creative process is valued in much the same way - as a form of expression in itself. At the end of the session, there’ll be a chance to discuss what thoughts and feelings came up and what they might mean. Art therapies promote self-discovery and self-exploration so instead of passing their own judgements, art therapists will lean towards encouraging you to come to your own understanding of what you created and what it means to you.

Length of therapy

Art therapies can take place in groups or one-on-one. Some people find that a few sessions are enough, whilst others feel more comfortable committing to something longer-term. For this reason, most art therapies can be both short-term or long-term, and tailored to your needs.

Who can benefit from art therapies?

Creativity provides a non-direct way to access difficult or distressing emotions and increase self-understanding. For this reason, art therapies are particularly helpful for people who have difficulties expressing themselves (autism, learning difficulties, behavioural problems) or those lacking the confidence to talk openly about their feelings.

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Types of Arts Therapies



Art therapy

Art therapy is an expressive therapy that helps you explore thoughts and emotions through creativity. Using art as the main form of communication, art therapy will help you explore emotions that you might otherwise struggle to put into words.

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Psychodrama

Psychodrama is an experiential therapy and the original form of group therapy. Psychodrama uses storytelling to gain insight into difficult past experiences and explore the impact they had on you.

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Play therapy

Play therapy uses a child’s natural form of expression as a means to communicate thoughts and feelings. Primarily geared towards children, play therapy aims to help children explore issues they might have difficulties voicing.

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Dramatherapy

Dramatherapy is an experiential therapy that uses theatre to explore emotions and solve problems. Exploring past experiences through fiction creates distance, and provides the space to explore difficult emotions without feeling overwhelmed.

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Music therapy

Music therapy uses music, sound and instruments to express thoughts and feelings. Using music as the primary means of communication, music therapy helps to create a feeling of connection to inspire positive change.

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