For Mental Health Professionals
While many therapists ask their clients to engage in artmaking during sessions, just as many are also left wondering about how to integrate these experiences into their understanding and practice of psychotherapy. Art therapists have been educated and trained in the prescriptive use of art media and methods, the use of symbolic and metaphorical communication, and psychological theories and methods in order to assess client status, formulate treatment goals, and evaluate responsiveness to treatment. It is not uncommon for a significant change in the client to be revealed in her/his art products before it is manifested at a behavioral level, so understanding a client’s personal use of materials, processes, symbols, and reflection is crucial to the therapeutic application of artmaking.
The American Art Therapy Association recommends that non-art therapists seek consultation with an art therapist if:
- a client demonstrates intense affect/a change in affect during or after an art experience
- a client has a tendency to intellectualize or is emotionally blocked
- a client has experienced preverbal trauma
- a client has unresolved trauma or grief or has difficulty making a developmental transition
- a client prefers to express thoughts, feelings, and needs through visual images
- a client’s artwork is disturbing
- the therapist wants information about how to respond to client artwork
- the therapist wants information about the therapeutic use of art
If you find yourself wondering about how to integrate your clients’ artmaking experiences into your understanding and practice of psychotherapy, I’d be happy to help via a consultation.
Consultations will take place in your office or work setting in order for me to better understand the environment in which these artmaking experiences occur. Please contact me for more information about consultations in order to promote the competent and effective use of artmaking in your sessions.