Waves

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I’ve compiled a list of the most frequent questions that I have received over my career. It’s normal and encouraged for clients to ask many questions when choosing to work with an art therapist. Here are some answers to the questions I receive the most. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please get in touch.

DO I NEED TO BE CREATIVE OR GOOD AT ART?


No! You do not have to be ‘good’ at art to come along to art therapy. Art therapists focus on the process of making art more than the final product. We have experience of making art, and understand therapy from our own personal therapy, which gives us insight into both the courage it takes to create art and come to therapy. You don’t need to worry about making or finishing ‘something’. Sometimes you might just like to play with the materials or get your therapist to do something for you or with you.




HOW WILL ART THERAPY HELP?


Anyone can benefit from art therapy. It can help people feel better about themselves, express thoughts and feelings and feel listened to and understood. It can help some people make sense of the things that might have happened to them in the past, and how this has made them think and feel. The reported benefits of art therapy include: ​​​

  • Improved creativity and self-esteem
  • Increased sense of self-empowerment
  • Increased sense of self-care and self-awareness
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Reduced depression and fatigue
  • Improved interpersonal skills
  • Enhanced mind-body connection
  • Increased sense of meaning and purpose




WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE ART THERAPY SESSIONS?


Art therapy involves a combination of talking and making. You can make pictures and objects with art materials, play with toys or write as a way of expressing your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it can be hard to find words to talk about how you are feeling. Being creative can be a way of showing how you feel without words. Your therapist will be there to listen and support you. You can use your therapy sessions to think about what’s happening in your life, or any worries you might have. Your therapist will keep anything you have made in a safe place, for you to return to each session.




WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE ART THERAPIST?


The role of the art therapist is to:

  • maintain a comfortable studio space
  • provide art materials
  • support the clients healing process
  • be a witness to the clients healing journey and life stories
  • to offer arts based choices to the client, to interact with the client and art making
  • offer the client different ways of using the art materials
  • to provide a supportive healing environment that welcomes surprises and a deepening of the clients creative experiences
  • refer the client to additional outside support if applicable
  • to keep confidentiality




WHERE WILL I SEE MY THERAPIST?


Currently, I see both private and NDIS funded clients from my studio in Buderim. I am able to offer outreach sessions, from school or home, if this is most suitable for you. The location of your sessions will depend on your situation and a decision will be made with you. This will be the same room each week and at the same time as much as possible. I also run group art therapy sessions from various locations across the Sunshine Coast and co-facilitate these groups with inspiring local artists, therapist and teachers. Please explore my website or get in touch to find out more.




WHAT IS CONFIDENTIALITY?


As with other psychological therapies, confidentiality is an important aspect in art therapy. In almost every instance, the information you bring and share in art therapy, including your artwork, is private and confidential. Knowing that you can say anything to your therapist and it will remain in the room helps you feel safe and builds trust between you and the therapist. For this reason, all therapists are legally and ethically bound to keep their sessions confidential and not share with anyone else what was talked about. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if your therapist has reason to believe that you are a danger to yourself or others, she or he must break that confidence in order to make sure that you and/or others are safe. That can include specific threats, disclosure of child abuse where a child is still in danger, or concerns about elder abuse. There may also be times when you would like your therapist to consult with someone else about your treatment, such as your doctor or psychiatrist, in order to coordinate care or clarify information. In cases such as these, your therapist should get your written permission to release information about you to the other party.




WHO IS ART THERAPY FOR?


Everyone experiences difficult circumstances in their life where external, confidential support can be beneficial. Art therapy is very inclusive and accessible for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. I have experience providing art therapy to adults, teens and children who face a wide range of disruptions or life challenges, such as: Developmental delays, autism, attention issues, neglect, child sexual abuse, family violence, isolation, child sexual abuse, exploitation, traumatic experiences, PTSD, post natal depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, bullying, substance misuse, stress and anxiety, separation anxiety, mutism, visual impairment, foetal alcohol syndrome, MS, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, cancer, divorce, downs syndrome, learning disabilities, prader-willi syndrome, Huntington’s disease, refugee and migration issues, homelessness, birth trauma, miscarriage, support transition periods, chronic fatigue, attachment difficulties, foster care and adoption, compulsive disorders and sensory processing disorders.




WHAT IS ASSESSMENT IN ART THERAPY?


Like other allied health services, art therapy begins with an initial assessment. This is thought of as a ‘getting to know you period’ where you will begin to understand what therapy is about. The assessment period lasts from 1-4 sessions and with your consent, may include discussion with others who are involved with you such as your keyworker, social worker and education worker. Following assessment it will then be possible to decide how therapy could specifically help you, what aims you may have, and how long this might take. Discussions will take place with you and your family member or keyworker (if applicable) on whether further support will be beneficial. A written report can be completed on request, and with your permission, be shared with other relevant workers who are involved in supporting you.




HOW IS THE WORK EVALUATED?


This is entirely dependent on your needs and why you have come to therapy. For both private referral and NDIS clients, I like to have a review session every 5 weeks. For adults this can be done in session and it can be valuable to lay your art out to see your progress visually. For children, this can be a conversation with a parent or carer as well as looking through what has been created in the sessions. For some people it can be helpful to complete a self identifying questionnaire to determine any increase or decrease in wellbeing and any risks to yourself or others. If you have been referred by a team that is supporting you, it may be beneficial for some information to be shared in the form of a report so that they can all work together to improve things with you. This report is your personal information and your consent will be obtained before this information can be discussed with anyone.




WHAT IF I DONT LIKE IT?


This is perfectly okay! There is no obligation to continue if you don't feel its for you. In fact, if something doesn't feel right I would encourage you to talk to me directly and ideally we can come up with a plan...this may involve a referral to another service or recommendation of a class you may like to explore. There is 'no one therapist fits all' in therapy so please let me know and I'll do my very best to help you find your next step.





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©2020 by Sally Cuthbert Art Therapy