Hi and welcome to my website and to my art therapy and counselling practice on the Central Coast, Australia. It's a work in progress - as is much of life, I believe - and I hope you find something valuable or useful, beautiful or interesting, while you're here.
We live in a fragmented world, endless amounts of information come our way every day. To not become fragmented ourselves, to lead lives where there is a strong connection between our internal and external world, is - as they say - a challenge.
Becoming an art therapist has made me whole. It has enabled me to come home to myself, to bring home all the disparate parts of me that have lain scattered and broken, lost and forlorn, in the different parts of the world that my journey through life has taken me.
Art therapy processes allow us to tap into our own uniqueness, to access our own wisdom and to make our own path through the intricacies of life. Carl Gustav Jung said, "We carry within us the wonders we seek without; there is all Africa and her prodigies in us." It's easy to forget this in an information-rich but wisdom-poor world.
Art therapy uses art media, images and the overall creative process as a reflection of an individual's development, ability, personality, interests, concerns and conflicts. The therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life-enhancing. Through creating art and talking about one's art with an art therapist, one can increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences, enhance cognitive abilities and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of artistic creativity.
Art therapists work with children, adolescents and adults and provide services to individuals, couples, families, groups and communities. Art therapists are skilled in the application of a variety of art modalities (drawing, painting, clay and other mediums) for treatment and assessment and conduct research as well as provide consultations to allied professionals.
It is an effective treatment for the developmentally, medically, educationally, socially or psychologically impaired and is practised in mental health, rehabilitation, medical and educational institutions.
You don't need to be an artist or to be artistically inclined to benefit from art therapy. From an art therapy perspective, art is seen as a way of processing information and a way of articulating what you've learned as a result of that process.
Both children and adults can benefit from art therapy. Art therapy is particularly useful in periods of transition in our lives such as the shift from adolescence to young adulthood, marriage to divorce, mid-life crisis, employment to retirement.
To be able to draw and then SEE an emotion or a mental/emotional state and the impact it's having on your life can be the first step to gaining a degree of control over it. To be able to make the invisible, visible and the internal, external gives us a greater sense of who we are and where we're at. To draw a tangle of conflicting emotions, conflicting demands, gives us the power to be able to untangle, disengage, separate, to bring space and movement back into our lives.
One of the first responses people have to the idea of art therapy is ... 'oh no, I'm not creative' or 'no way, I can't even draw a straight line.' Which is a shame really and shows much about our society's view of artists and how most of us have been conditioned out of that very natural, very beautiful impulse to make art. As children, we play with crayons and pencils, paint and paper, just for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment it gives us.
'When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandise the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.'
'When writing the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen.'
US soldier with PTSD
'Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.'
'Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will control your life and you will call it fate.'
'Sometimes when drawing, I have the feeling that my fingers are brighter than my eyes and certainly brighter than my intelligence. If one says finger one say hand, if one say hand one says arm, if one says arm one says shoulder - at the best moments, one draws with one's whole body.'