Art psychotherapy is a protected title and can only be practiced by professionals that have completed a two or three year masters level training that results in accreditation by the HCPC. Its roots began in the 1940’s with Adrian Hill and Edward Adamson, and their pioneering work at the Netherne Mental Hospital. Prior to this, early psychoanalytic writing gave support to the idea that art was an important aspect within psychotherapy: “What a doctor does is less a question than that of developing the creative possibilities latent in the patient himself.” Carl Jung 1883.
It is often difficult to find language for issues that are troubling us. Sometimes we feel we know things in a non-verbal way, or have no words to speak about the issues. We can’t always connect in a linguistic way with the roots of things. Sometimes we have too many words, or words, being so habitual keep us circling and saying the same thing, and don’t quite touch the real issue. Using art materials can allow us to connect to something, or let something go in a non-verbal way. This in itself might be enough, or it might lead us to find words and want to talk through, process and understand things with the therapist in a verbal way.
No experience or talent in art making is necessary. Unlike traditional ideas of ‘art’ or ‘art lessons’ the emphasis is not on getting something right, but on exploring what happens when you use art materials. There is no wrong way of using them, and the images made are not judged as good or bad, or used as a diagnostic tool to expose you. It is more about the process of using art materials, and how that makes you feel, and what that makes you think afterwards.
.... 'one has only learnt to get the better of words For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which One is no longer disposed to say it.' ... T.S.Elliot. East Coker.