You may be wondering if you have to make art during your sessions. The answer is no. I am an art therapist, but I am also a counsellor. If you'd like to just come in for counselling and not do art therapy, that's completely up to you. You can also change your mind; if you'd like to stop or start working with art at any time, simply let me know.
I've had many clients who like the idea of working with art, but they feel anxious or scared because they "can't draw" or "don't know how to paint." It's important for you to know coming in that art therapy is about the process rather than the outcome. I am not there to judge or criticize your artwork. In fact, art therapy requires NO artistic skill whatsoever. Art therapy can be as simple as kneading clay through your hands or scribbling on a page. What I am interested in is your healing and our therapeutic relationship. The success of an art therapy session has to do with how you've grown and how we've connected, not the physical product you've created.
One unique thing about Oasis Creative Counselling in West Vancouver is that you'll have the opportunity to participate in counselling, art therapy, or both. Counselling involves healing through primarily verbal processes (i.e., talking, writing), whereas art therapy is a metaverbal modality of treatment that involves various forms of expression (i.e., drawing, painting, sculpture, collage).
You might be wondering why or how art therapy works. To put it simply, working with art involves different areas of your brain than talking or writing. This means that, depending on what you'd like to work on, bringing art into our sessions could help you heal in a deeper or more complete way. You may find art therapy particularly helpful if you have trouble expressing yourself using words. Art transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries and offers a medium through which people from all walks of life can connect and heal.
I generally work with a combination of verbal counselling and art therapy methods, but some clients prefer to stick with one or the other. During your initial session, we will discuss your individual needs and expectations, and we will collaboratively decide how to structure our sessions.
I operate from a person-centered model, which means that I believe it's vital for me to empathize with your experiences without judgment or criticism. I also believe it's important for me to be genuine and real in our counselling relationship.
My approach is eclectic in nature, and I may incorporate various techniques and principles of Adlerian therapy, ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy), and other modalities. Your specific treatment plan will depend entirely on your unique needs and goals, and you will always be involved in the process. I offer suggestions, but it's ultimately your choice what you'd like to try and how you'd like your treatment to progress.