‘But don’t I have to be artistic or creative?’

No, definitely not.  The aim is not to produce a ‘work of art’ but to be able to consider your issues from a fresh perspective.  

Having said that, I believe that everyone has the innate capacity to be creative, but many people feel blocked, perhaps through unhelpful experiences in school art lessons. This can leave you with a sense of failure, and may be something you decide to explore through therapy.   

The primary aim of using the arts in Psychotherapy is as a way of reflecting on our emotions, thoughts and reactions. This happens more through the process of making/painting than through the end result.  

The writer Shaun McNiff* puts it like this:   'When Art and Psychotherapy are joined, the scope and depth of each can be expanded.'   This is what I have found too. The combination of the creative arts and psychotherapy can lead to personal growth that is far-reaching, accessible and profound. It can also be fun and enlivening (perhaps not words you would normally associate with therapy..).

Some people find this creative approach appealing because they are already comfortable with being creative or artistic.  However, for many that is not the case, and this approach is equally beneficial for those with no creative leanings at all.  In fact this can be a positive benefit as you will come to it fresh, without any preconceived ideas.   So whether or not you feel you are ‘creative’ or ‘artistic’, this approach may well help you find a fresh way of moving forward. 


'Initially I was sceptical when we approached things creatively, but I found when I let go it was fascinating what my mind made..   I could really see how my thoughts progressed, and have gained a better understanding of who I am and how I think.'    

(comments from a client)












* from his book 'The arts and psychotherapy'.