Art therapy and
This is not a universal definition as different people have different perceptions... I illustrate through 2 brief examples the different ways I use both approaches in my own practice.
During the Art Therapy Workshop
A theme is given (for instance "Message to my inner Child") and one art medium (or several art media) is/are suggested.
A precise creativity time boundary is given. It may be 30 minutes, 45 minutes or one hour, but whichever length is chosen, it is important the time boundary is respected as it brings safety to the process.
This is followed by another boundaried time devoted to the post- creativity exchange where each participant is invited to decide what to present to the rest of the group and to the art therapist.
This last phase is crucial to enable clients to :
- reflect on their creative process
- make sense of their production
- have a chance to express their truth to others (and hearing themselves express it through that process)
- find a way of closing the workshop for themselves.
During the Arts Psychotherapy Session
The artitic expression is suggested from the verbal exchange which has occurred. It is therefore in direct response to what the client spontaneously brings to the session.
Client : I feel oppressed
Therapist : How is it for you to feel oppressed ? How does it feel in your body?
Client : It feels as if a huge stone was in my throat.
Therapist (handing a box of crayons) : Would you show me how that stone in your throat feels through a quick drawing?
The session may then follow by working from the art image itself in different ways depending of what feels suited to the context and the client issues.
For instance :
Therapist : How is it for you when you look at the drawing you've just made ?
Therapist : If the stone had a voice, what would it say to the throat?
Therapist : I notice that in your drawing the stone is twice the size of the throat. How does it feel to observe that ?
The session then carries on, switching from art experiment to verbal exchange, depending on what feels most therapeutic in the given situation...