What to expect when you start art therapy

Where will I meet the art therapist?

You will meet in a private room where you won’t be interrupted, such as an art room or a meeting room.  Alternatively, you may meet your art therapist in an online meeting room, using software like Zoom. 

Who will be there?

Depending on your needs, you will either join group therapy or individual therapy. 

  • In group therapy, you will be with the art therapist and a small group of participants. 
  • In individual therapy, it will just be you and the art therapist.

Do I have to be good at art?

No, you do not need to have any previous experience or expertise in art. Art therapy isn’t a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be enjoyable. 

What will we do in an art therapy session?

You will make art and talk (which may be done at the same time) or you can make art in silence if that’s your preference. When making art, you can choose materials that best suit you e.g., paint, pastel or clay, or you might make a collage. 

The art therapist may sit quietly and pay attention whilst you make art or they may make art alongside you, depending on your needs during each session. You and the art therapist will also talk and think together to make sense of the thoughts, feelings and experiences that come up during your art-making or when you look at your artwork. 

I really feel that it has given me a lot more tools to deal with the things I need to deal with.

Service user, Creative Therapies Service, Exeter