Art Therapy

How does Art Therapy Help?

Art therapy, also known as art psychotherapy, uses image making to help you find ways to work through the difficulties you bring. Forming a safe therapeutic relationship is a fundamental part of art therapy. This may involve focusing on the present or exploring the past in relation to how it is affecting you now.


Sometimes our most significant thoughts and feelings are hard to express in words alone. Personal image making can help to reach and give expression to conscious and unconscious parts of ourselves that we need to explore in order to resolve our difficulties and make helpful changes.


Our approach views art therapy as an embodied psychotherapy, integrating mind, brain and body processes.


Is Art Therapy For Me?

Art therapists work with adults, young people and children. You do not need to have had any experience of making art before, and people come to art therapy for many different reasons. This might include problems with:


  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Stress
  • Work/school
  • Loss
  • Life changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Emotional regulation
  • Feeling lost in your life
  • Personal growth and development

What Happens in Art Therapy?

Art therapy offers confidential, protected time and space. Clients may use the time to talk, explore or play with imagery in order to address the concerns which they have brought. In work with children, toys are also offered alongside art materials. Sessions normally last an hour. The art therapist will listen and work with clients to find the right way forward and to develop their own resources and potential for change.

In art therapy art materials are used in whichever way you wish. Such materials include paint, drawing materials (pastels, pens, pencils etc), clay, collage and other mixed media/objects. You do not need to have had any experience of making art before, and may not wish to make images every session. There is also space to simply talk if you wish. The art therapist will not judge or impose interpretations on the images you make but will work with you to identify what meaning they hold for you.

Art therapists recognise the important role of parents and carers in any therapeutic intervention with children and young people. In art therapy with children, there will inevitably be some liaison with parents or primary carers and while the bulk of the work will be confidential, when it is in the best interests of the child, some information agreed between child and art therapist may be communicated to parents and if necessary to other professionals involved. This is in line with Scottish Government guidelines in the GIRFEC model.

Parent Child Dyadic Art Psychotherapy

Dyadic art therapy is a process, which supports the parent or carer to work directly with their child and the art therapist will support the dyad and their relationship through meetings with parents and with parent and child.


Therapy is confidential. However, if an art therapist had strong concerns that their client is at risk of seriously harming themselves or others, or becomes concerned about the safety of a child, and this cannot be resolved in discussion with the client, the art  therapist might need to break confidentiality by informing another health, social care or legal professional.