What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a form of therapy which uses art making and images as well as talking to facilitate the therapeutic process and promote positive mental health.
Art Therapy is a protected title, and you must by law have completed an intensive 2 year masters degree to practice as an Art Therapist. Art Therapists in the UK register with the HCPC, following a code of ethics that ensures standards and high quality therapy that you can trust.
Engaging mind and body through art making can foster change, and support those attending to access emotions and memories in a way that can be more difficult when working solely verbally. It is particularly useful for those who struggle to put their thoughts or emotions into words.
Being guided in the handling of art materials, image or object making, and engaging in additional embodied processes can support access to the nervous system creating opportunities for self-regulation and shifts in old patterns that no longer serve.
Art therapy is based on psychodynamic principles, which can help if those attending wish to explore past relationships or experiences and how they may be impacting the present. Working with images can also support engaging with dream material, helping to bring what is going on in the unconscious into conscious awareness to be reflected on and then processed.
I combine my training in Art Therapy with my training in online therapy and embodied practices to create a unique and tailored experience to guide your therapy on a number of levels.
I do not seek to give advice, rather help you access your own healing potential, creativity and resilience.
I enjoy collaborating with my clients to help them select art supplies that will inspire the therapy process.
Who is Art Therapy for?
Art Therapy is suitable for individuals from all walks of life, adult, young person or child, seeking to gain insight or creatively explore worries or problems within a trusted therapeutic relationship.
It can be particularly powerful for those who find talking therapy doesn't get to the heart of the matter, or create the felt sense of improvement or change they are looking for.
Art Therapy can support individuals who are tired of 'going it alone' with their emotions and wellbeing and are looking for an experienced therapist to walk with them, and help them progress with their healing journey with a sense of purpose and safety.
You don't need to be an artist to create or take part in Art Therapy, it really is for everyone and sometimes the process of making awakens a creative spark that has been missing or needs rediscovered.
If you are an artist, or resonate deeply with creative and embodied practices, Art Therapy can provide opportunities for you to express this part of yourself more fully within the therapy setting.
I work with adults, young people and children, individually and in groups. I also host art therapy groups for teams and organisations which you can find out more about here.
What is an art therapy session like?
My approach when working with those who attend therapy is highly individual, and led by their needs and their aims for therapy. Some sessions may involve more art making, and some sessions may be mainly or only talking depending on your needs.
Core elements of my therapy practice include working to foster a felt sense of safety, engaging the nervous system in a gentle and client led way to create opportunities for transformation and healing on a deeper level.
Sometimes those attending Art Therapy for the first time feel nervous about the art making, having had an experience where their artwork was judged or they felt they were 'not good enough'.
In Art Therapy, there is no requirement to be good at art, as the art making has a different role, for example to help communicate feelings, or support emotional regulation.
As Art Therapist, I am experienced in supporting those attending with the process of getting started with Art Therapy and art making.
In clients own words . . .
"Elle is a warm, empathetic and kind therapist. She has such a calming presence & I leave our sessions feeling peaceful, despite at times discussing intense and emotional topics. I was previously slightly sceptical about Art Therapy but art making is a part of the session I have enjoyed & found worthwhile."
What about working with Elle was a surprise?
"How easy and comforting I would find talking to a stranger about personal matters."
Were there any personal insights gained working with Elle?
"That although I can’t control a lot of things in my life, I can control how I let them affect me. That my feelings are valid. That it's ok to have boundaries, to prioritise myself instead of worrying about other people’s view of me."
How do I get started?
When searching for a therapist, it is important to find someone you feel you can trust, and that is able to help you with what you are concerned about. A key part of the healing function of therapy, is the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist so this needs special attention at the start.
If you would like to find out if working with me would be a good fit for your needs, the first step is to fill out a referral form here then we can arrange an an initial free call. This allows you the opportunity to find out a bit more about me, ask questions and for us both determine if working together would be a good fit for your aims of therapy before starting.
Art Therapy can be a transformational process, and it is my priority to support clients engage in a safe and supportive way, and hold space for them within a compassionate, creative and trauma informed framework.
You can find out more about me and my approach, here. If you have any questions for me, please don't hesitate to reach out, I'd love to hear from you.
Elle Gilbertson is committed to inclusivity and welcomes people of all ethnicities, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and people of all ages.
The information on this website is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace medical or psychological assessment and treatment.
Please note that I do not offer a crisis or emergency service. In such situations, if you are living in the UK I would recommend that you contact your GP during clinic hours, attend your local Accident & Emergency department, or dial 999 in an emergency. If you are from outside the UK please have a look on the befrienders website for crisis support in your country. www.samaritans.org. and www.befrienders.org
All images and content on this site are ©Elle Gilbertson 2020 -23 and may not be copied, published or used without permission.
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