What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is using art materials to explore feelings, thoughts and experiences that may be difficult to verbalise. An art therapy process may be something as simple as a squiggle drawn onto paper or a thumbprint pressed into clay.  Using art materials in a therapeutic setting provides opportunity to view the problem or issue from a new perspective, integrate life experiences and develop healthy coping skills and focus.


Who Can Benefit From Art Therapy?

Anyone. Art therapy is particularly suited to those who:

are struggling to articulate their experiences and feelings verbally

those who have found talk therapy to be ineffective

don’t have the vocabulary to express themselves such as children, teens and people with disabilities

are seeking to unleash their full creative potential

Art therapy can help:

  • Reduce stress
  • Strengthen self awareness and self expression
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Increase communication skills
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Manage behaviour
  • Identify and clarify issues and concerns
  • Work through issues in a safe, caring environment
  • Increase feelings of self worth
  • Explore values and beliefs
  • Clarify and set goals
  • Explore imagination and creativity

Read more here.


Is Art Therapy Counselling?

Yes and no. Yes, because art therapy has its foundation in psychology and counselling, and the art therapist and client develop a therapeutic relationship through the arts process, with clear boundaries and shared intentions. No, because we don’t rely on talk therapy.


What if I’m No Good at Drawing?

Art therapy does not require any artistic ability because it’s all about self expression and the art process, not the final product. Art therapies do not rely on artistic knowledge because they work by accessing imagination and creativity, qualities which all human beings possess, in order to generate new models of living and contribute to the development of a more integrated sense of self. Art helps access the unconscious and move perspectives into the conscious.


Does the Art Therapist Interpret my Art Work?

No, art therapists do not interpret artwork. The client and therapist work collaboratively, reflectively exploring the art, which empowers the client to discover their own meaning-making. Journalling is another fantastic way that encourages meaning making within the art therapy session.


Does Art Therapy Have a Scientific Basis?

Absolutely. Art therapy has much evidence-based and practice-based research. 

  • Art making may reduce anxiety and stress reactions as measured by cortisol (Walsh et al, 2007).
  • Several studies demonstrate that art therapy enhances the psychosocial treatment of cancer, including decreased symptoms of distress, improved quality of life and perceptions of body image, reduction of pain perception, and general physical and psychological health (Monti et al, 2006; Nainis et al, 2002; Svensk et al, 2009).
  • Studies indicate a reduction of depression and fatigue levels in cancer patients on chemotherapy (Bar-Sela,et al, 2007).
  • Art therapy strengthens positive feelings, alleviates distress, and helps individuals to clarify existential questions for adult bone marrow transplant patients (Gabriel, Bromberg, Vandenbovenkamp, Kornblith, & Luzzato, 2001).
  • Research with children with cancer indicates that engaging in drawing and painting is an effective method for dealing with pain and other disturbing symptoms of illness and treatment (Rollins, 2005).
  • Research on art therapy with children with asthma indicates that it reduces anxiety, improves feelings of quality of life, and strengthens self concept (Beebe, Gelfand, & Bender, 2010).
  • Evidence indicates that art therapy stimulate cognitive function in older adults who have dementia or related disorders (Levine-Madori, 2009) and may reduce depression in those with Parkinson’s disease (Elkis-Abuhoff et al, 2008). 


Should I Join a Group Art Therapy Session or Book Individual Sessions?

There is no right or wrong way to attend art therapy. Everyone has unique needs. Some people attend individual art therapy sessions only, some attend individual sessions plus group sessions, while others participate in group sessions only. The answer to the question, ‘Which is better: group or individual therapy?’ is actually ‘Neither.’ Both have advantages and disadvantages for different individuals and for specific issues. Please contact me if you are unsure what will suit you so we can work out the best health care plan for your individual needs.

Please note that group sessions (except families) are not recommended for acute crisis and trauma.

Kaleidoscope group sessions are designed to target a specific issue, such as depression, anxiety, or grieving and loss. Other group sessions are for increasing overall wellbeing by improving self awareness, communication skills, articulation of feelings, increasing social skills, and unleashing creativity and confidence.


How Long do Art Therapy Sessions Last?

Individual sessions are typically 60-75 minutes in length (usually 60 minutes is adequate for children).

Group sessions run for approximately 90 minutes.

First Time Clients to Kaleidoscope Art Therapy: Please fill in the confidential client form before you arrive or arrive 10 minutes early to fill it in before your art therapy session.


How Many Art Therapy Sessions Will I Need?

That is entirely up to you. After your first few sessions we can plan out the best health care plan for your individual needs.


Do I Need a Referral?

You can make a booking for art therapy without any referral.

You can book direct with me through the contact me page or on the phone 0402 577 556 or through Pathways to Expression (07) 3261 2909.


Do I Get to Keep The Artwork That I Make in Art Therapy? Will The Art Therapist Show it to Anyone Else?

Your artwork is your creation and belongs to you. Some people choose to keep the finished artwork, while others decide to leave it in the care of the art therapist. Your art therapist will not show your artwork to anyone without your permission. The code of ethics followed by art therapists is to safeguard a client’s artworks the same way as all other client information is kept which is confidential and subject to mandatory reporting.


What Training/ Experience do You Have That Qualifies You to be an Art Therapist?

My practice as an art therapist is built on a strong foundation in the natural health sector and 20 years of teaching art. Most recently for the last 2 years I have been facilitating expressive art journaling for groups and individuals while strengthening my sense of wonder and living as an intentional creative.

My first love has always been art and creativity. While I made the ‘sensible’ decision during high school to study health sciences instead of following my creative heart, the call to creativity remained and intensified. I became a qualified naturopath and as I practised and watched my kids grow up and as I wrestled with whatever life threw at me, my interest in health shifted to focus on emotional health and wellbeing.

My qualifications: Advanced Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy

Advanced Diploma in Health Science (Naturopathy)

Advanced Diploma in Health Science (Herbal Medicine)

My clinical practice experience has been primarily with children, teenagers and women in both group work and individual sessions. Everyone is welcome at Kaleidoscope Art Therapy.

My passion is helping people live whole heartedly; with strength, courage and freedom.