Art therapy for depression is often a treatment selected for those suffering from minor to medium levels of depression. When choosing an art therapist as your chosen therapy specialist in helping you to heal from depression it is likely you have many questions about what to expect and have some apprehension if using a therapy new to you. We at Seek a Therapy want to help answer your questions and concerns surrounding art therapy in order to help you select the right art therapist for you and on this page we have included some of the most common questions a person may have before treatment.
What is Art therapy?
Art therapists use art to help people tackle their emotional and behavioural issues.
Art therapy is often referred to as a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as a way of expressing and communicating feelings. Art therapy is not used as a diagnostic tool but as a way to address emotional issues which may have been creating prolonged confusion and distress. These things can include emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions, physical illnesses and more.
What to Expect From Art Therapy
As you are reading this are you thinking, ‘I can’t draw?’. No problem! You don’t need to be a technical artist and there is no right or wrong way to make art in art therapy. You have complete permission to “go wrong” or “screw it up”, so to speak! It doesn’t need to be pretty, precise, or even understand what appears before you. In fact, what can be even more fascinating is when something arises from a strange or ugly piece.
The whole goal of using art and visual materials is not necessarily to create something you would display ( although many people do end up doing this ), the whole purpose of art therapy is to tap into different parts of the brain using imagination, metaphor and images to gain new ideas and solve problems in new ways. We can certainly also create something beautiful as part of art therapy.
Do I need to be creative?
You don’t need to be a creative person in order to benefit from the profound effect of art therapy.
When you first start your art therapy your comfort level with art will influence how you get started. If you are comfortable with the idea of trying art therapy but not with an art a common practice is to use a magazine photo collage so there is no need to feel pressure on the art front. Choosing images and words feels less threatening than being asked to draw or paint something. The images are already there, all you need to do is pick ones that describe your situation.
When you first start your art therapy you may not know why you started you may not clearly understand why you have chosen the images you have but as you start explaining the images with your therapist you will begin to gain a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings connected with your artwork and delve deeper into the issues raised surrounding the artwork.
Should I try Art Therapy?
Art therapy works in two ways, either in groups or individually depending on your needs and circumstances. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions are often known to be enjoyable. As already mentioned, you do not need any previous experience or expertise in art.
Although art therapy is influenced by psychoanalysis, art therapists are also known to mix other practices with their art therapy such as mindfulness, mentalization-based treatments, CBT and social engagement practices.
Do I Need To Be Good At Art To Do Art Therapy?
No, completely not. Your therapist will talk you through different ways to create art and your drawing skills really don’t matter!
How Much Does A Typical Art Therapy Session Cost?
If you are based in the UK you can ask your GP for help with a psychotherapist who has a specialism in art therapy on the NHS but often there is a long wait. You are best, if you can afford it, to seek private therapy so you can begin therapy as soon as possible. Private sessions in the UK and USA ( and we have several psychotherapists in our directory in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia) can range anywhere from £30 / $45 per session and sometimes can go up to £80 / $90.00 and occasionally more depending upon the therapist’s experience, speciality and location.
How Do I Know Which Art Therapist To Choose?
Your GP will often have several accredited psychotherapists who can take your through art therapy but if you want an art therapist specialist is more likely you will have to go private.
One of the most important parts of psychotherapy is the relationship between yourself and the therapist. Ensure you are comfortable with your therapist in order to be able to trust and open up about all your thoughts and feelings.
When you find the right psychotherapist that offers you good communication, a partnership, trust, goals and a feeling of genuine understanding then together, over time, you will be able to challenge your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions.
How Long Does It Take To Heal Depression With Art Therapy?
You will meet your therapist regularly, usually once a week, for several months, or sometimes even years. Individual sessions last about 50 minutes, but group sessions are often a bit longer.
At the beginning you are likely to see your therapist more often, and later, as you learn to manage your problems and avoid triggers, you might go to psychotherapy appointments less often.
What If Art Therapy Doesn’t Work For Me?
First of all, don’t worry!
If you think psychotherapy is the right therapy but you have the wrong therapist then you have every right to seek a second opinion and you will not offend your therapist, they just want you to heal from your difficulty as best you can and you deserve to feel better. If, on the other hand, you don’t feel psychotherapy is working at all then do not be disheartened, there are many, many different types of therapy to heal from depression and psychotherapy is only one. Use our therapy directory to find a different therapy, you may find hypnotherapy works better or possibly some holistic treatment. The key is not to think this is your only option.
Art Therapy For Depression
Please note: This information should not replace professional medical advice, it is purely for informational purposes. At all times when you are in crisis please first seek help from your GP or another medical professional. Thankyou