As a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), I am a psychotherapist who primarily uses art therapy when working with clients.
I respect the uniqueness of the client-therapist therapeutic relationship which is carefully maintained, as is client confidentiality. Confidentiality is extended to the art pieces themselves. Written permission is obtained in order to use a client’s art work for the purposes such as presentations or papers (always anonymously).
My approach is client-centered, focusing on a transparent and empathic relationship. I am also directive, both for assessment purposes and as the individual case may unfold and present itself. The mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the client are addressed.
An “objective approach” is employed, specifically suited to art therapy and made possible because of the existence of the art product itself, which can be observed and discussed from a natural distance. The client is asked to become an objective viewer of his/her own art work. As well, constant observation of the process of making the art happens in session. Making the art provides opportunity for safe experimentation and risk taking as well as being influential in the “making sense of” and understanding of what motivates behaviours, feelings and thoughts.
A fundamental difference between “talk” therapy and art therapy is the existence of the triangular formula of client, therapist and art product in art therapy.
Benefits of art expression are seen in the effectiveness in releasing unconscious material, an inherent healing quality within the creative process, the use of art as a way of bringing order out of chaos, and all the advantages it brings with the use of images.
The visceral experience of emotion and feelings emerges through art work. Art therapy is intrinsically experiential and expressive. I work from an emotion-focussed point of view, based on the understanding that there exists an emotional/sensorial system that feeds the brain information before conscious and cognitive assessment is made of a situation.
I regularly attend accredited professional development conferences and teaching seminars related to both art therapy and psychotherapy practice.