What is art therapy?

So week 2 was our first formal lecture. The lecture consisted of answering the question of, What is art therapy?

I’m not going to rant on about what it is, that’s what Google is for but here are a couple of interesting titbits about art therapy:

  • Erasers can be used but are not generally encouraged
  • A practitioner keeps a clients work for a minimum of 3 years but usually a lot longer even keeping imagery until an adolescent client turns 18, that’s a lot of storage!

we did a short group exercise where we sorted through red herrings and facts about art therapy to warm s up for theory. My favourite from the red herring pile was “Art therapy is a special therapy for frustrated or ‘blocked’ artists” LOL. During the lecture the  term Embodied image was used, which I am kinda fascinated by but alas I can find very much on the internet about it :( it is basically the term for when imagery is  invested with feeling instead of  being descriptive of feeling.

After theory we got down to some practical work, we were asked to firstly draw a border and then draw what we would like to see out of our window. this is my piece, its kind of kooky looking and similar in illustration style to last weeks image.


Anyway I drew an imaginary place where I would love to live, I won’t go into specific details because I did draw some  surprisingly deep conclusions and they would probably bore you to tears.  Although I would like to point out that the big grey mass in the middle is my representation of culture, it is actually supposed to be Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao not a load of mountains.

Most of my classmates  took a different approach and drew places they knew from their memories most of the images had family connections and relaxing vibes. In my uneducated opinion there was what seemed to be an embodied image from one of the other students which drew some very deep emotions as she was talking us through the image. I wish I could do this already, or do I?!  scratch that I wish I could understand how this type of image is achieved.

Our tutor explained that the border is get rid of any “clean” white page anxiety, secondly this is quite an easy therapeutic exercise as most people have frame of reference of a place they would like to be and it is also a good exercise to do with people who don’t want to address the future or people who are restricted either physically or due to illness.

I haven’t made any progress on the assignment we were set last week to create a ‘Self box’ so I’m going to be concentrating on that this week and perhaps starting a visual journal. I also received my very own copy of my first Art therapy textbook today  Art Therapy: Foundation and Form !


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