2014 DTA Pre-Conference Workshop 1

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Introduction To Art Therapy By Paula Gillespie-Fotheringham
Submitted by Katrina Vuori, QLD

I have had some experience with Art Therapy and have always found it a bit of a mystery as to how it really works or the benefits for the client. Paula was able to unlock much of that mystery. I found during her session that I learnt much more during the practical exercises than by the verbal explanations. I guess that is the beauty of art, in that we learn to communicate and express ourselves very differently.

In one exercise we were put into groups of two and we each had to draw something about ourselves, or our lives, that we wanted to convey to our “partner”. It was all non-verbal and even when we had to interpret each other’s drawing, we could not acknowledge or respond in any way. It was only after we both had said our comments that we could finally talk about our own pictures. It was a very good exercise because it taught us to really pay attention and not make assumptions. Art is a such an intricate form of therapy. Nothing is black or white! Pardon the pun!

Some things I learned about Art Therapy:
1. It can lift your mood, boost self-awareness and improve self-esteem and confidence.
2. It can enable the expression of feelings that are difficult to discuss.
3. It can clarify issues and lead to problem solving.

The workshop was a great success with both sessions providing practical tools and skills to include in our DT programmes.

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