Art therapy is a mystery to most. When I tell people I am an art therapist, they tend to look at me blankly and say: "Wow! Art... therapy? What's that?!" It's not a new profession and in fact, London, Ontario, where I am currently living and practicing, is one of the birthplaces of art therapy in Canada! (here's a cool article about Irene Dewdney, one of the founders of art therapy in London, Ontario!)
Even those actively looking to study it and become an art therapist hold many question marks about the profession, like: What is it really like to practice art therapy? What is a typical session like? Where does the therapy take place - between the client and their art, or between the therapist and the client?
I want to blog about art therapy in order to answer some of these questions, as I certainly wished there were more blogs about art therapy when I was first looking into it back in 2003. Confidentiality and safeguarding all client information is essential to any therapeutic relationship, so my blog will never be about specifics of a particular therapy session, nor will I ever even allude to anything about my clients. I can, however, discuss art therapy issues, ideas, philosophies, techniques, and values in general. My hope is that my writing will give you more of a sense of what is possible in art therapy - because it is so rich!!
I'll end this first post with a quote from Dr Fischer, one of the founders of Canadian art therapy, at a Vancouver Art Therapy Institute graduation ceremony in 1990:
"Art is the language that cuts across the existing boundaries and obstacles that stand in the way of human communication. Art is a universal language."