What is Integrative Arts Psychotherapy?
Human beings have used the arts for centuries to tell stories, build communities and to express feelings. Today, with the help of neuroscience we are understanding more about how the brain functions and how creativity is essential to our wellbeing and expression of self. Psychotherapy is also a new science, and since Freud discovered that we have different levels of consciousness the psychotherapy world has evolved rapidly with different concepts and theories, all of which help us to understand why we are like we are, and why we struggle with certain things.
In western culture we place a high value on rational thinking, this uses the left part of the brain, however we have tended to undervalue the right brain, the part which deals with emotions and inspires creativity. For many people, they live with anxieties and behaviour patterns which they feel stuck with, and which often affect how secure they feel in the world and their ability to relate well to others.
Making art, wether you are ‘artistic’ or not actively engages the right side of the brain, and ‘wakes up’ the subconscious. The art can reveal things about ourselves which we were unaware of and can be a safe and boundaried way of expressing all sorts of emotions like sadness, anger, confusion, pain and suffering. When we make art in front of a therapist, an extra dimension is added, both the therapist and the art maker examine the work and explore what is emerging through the expression of art. Unmet needs can be attended to, emotions met with empathy and difficult stories can be told. Often there are moments of real discovery which are cathartic, sometimes it feels very painful as deeply suppressed feelings begin to surface.
Group work adds yet another dimension, making art together brings a sense of community and as the group supports and values each other’s life experiences and art creations, everyone can experience healing and growth. Sometimes groups are very challenging as we have to work alongside difference and relate to people we feel are difficult, but over time individuals can really discover how to overcome fears and how to be open and honest, even with people they found difficult in the beginning.
At Feeling Found we use trained Integrative Arts Psychotherapists, this means we work with all the arts, visual, music, drama, movement, puppets. We draw from all of the main stream therapeutic models such as Gestalt, Jungian, Transactional Analysis, Attachment theory, Object relations and Psychoanalytical approaches. Having such a wide range of tools to work with as therapists help us to be able to adapt the work to meet the needs of the client. Our approach as a whole is humanistic and person centred.
Integrative art psychotherapy can work for anyone, however it is important that they are ready to go on a journey of exploration!