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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is an art therapist and what can they treat?

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  • Karen Adler

    Arts Therapist

    I am a Transpersonal Art Therapist, an artist, writer, curator and researcher. I am a firm believer in the inherent healing qualities of the Arts. … View Profile

    An art therapist is trained to work with people on mental and emotional health issues using art-making as both a method of healing and also of communication. Art therapists work with addictions, relationship problems, domestic violence, mental health, people with disabilities, aged populations, children, people dealing with loss and trauma.

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    Thanks

    With a passion to see people move forward and break free from the barriers holding them back, Grant is a highly experienced counsellor with over … View Profile

    I'm not an art therapist but have done some courses and used basic art therapy in my counselling sessions so can you you my limited perspective. It is a very powerful way of giving some physical representation to a persons deep and often unspoken emotions. For example, I had a young boy in a group for kids who had witnessed domestic violence. He used pipe cleaners to make handcuffs for himself to represent how he felt when his dad was angry. I doubt he could  of verbalised this but when he created it we were able to explore it more to help him understand how he felt and develop strategies to assist him when he was in that situation again. I find art therapy is a great for when people are stuck verbally and it is also a terrific way of slowing down the process when people have high levels of stress and anxiety. It helps people engage in the more reflective and emotional parts of their brain - I have used it with couples to get them out of fighting mode and into reflecting mode. Again, I use it at a very basic level whereas a trained art therapist would use it more comprehensively than me and could let you know much more detail about it.

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