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What is Art Therapy?

Art Psychotherapy or Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary form of communication.

The overall aim of art psychotherapy is to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.

Children and young people need not have previous experience or skill in art.

Art therapy is not dependant on spoken language and can therefore be helpful to anyone who finds it difficult to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.
A patient, whether child or adult, often feels disempowered whilst in hospital somewhat at the mercy of medical staff actively administering treatment, while the have to passively lie back and take it. Art Therapy can offer the child a space to feel empowered again and the image can be something which the child is in control of.

Art therapy can help the child process difficult feelings associated with illness and hospital admissions

Who are Art Therapists?

Art Therapists or Art Psychotherapists have undertaken an approved training at MA level in Art Psychotherapy. The professional body is the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
Art Therapy is a state registered profession. This means that there are national standards for training and professional development and that it is illegal to practice as an Art Therapist or Art Psychotherapist unless properly qualified and registered with the Heath Professions Council (HPC) http://www.hpc-uk.org/
Art Therapists abide by the code of conduct, principles of practice set by BAAT http://www.baat.org/
The Art Therapist in Chelsea Children's Hospital School is Susan Rudnik and can be contacted through the school.

Why use Art?

Art has long been known to have therapeutic properties, when creating visual images, people draw on the right side of their brains, the same side that is used before spoken language develops. It is where visual memories are stored.

Using art materials to make images which can be thought about with a qualified and registered art psychotherapist may help relieve difficult or painful feelings and can help increase well-being.

Sometimes it can be difficult to talk directly about difficulties and feelings so communicating through another medium may be easier and more appropriate.

Sometimes words can't be used or found to describe thoughts and feelings but the processes involved in image making and the images themselves can help to do so.

Sometimes words alone don't seem to be enough but images and words together may be able to convey what one wants to say.