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Below are the frequently asked general questions about Art Therapy. You can also click to skip to Art Therapy in South Africa, or Art Therapy Internationally

GENERAL

Q1. What's the difference between Art Therapy and Art lessons?

Answer: A huge difference! Art Therapy is an engagement in a process of art making in the presence of a trained Art Therapist who provides a safe and nurturing non-judgmental space. The focus is on the process of art making instead of only the art image. Art lessons involve learning and development of art techniques such as painting, sculpture and/or drawing. The focus is on the end product in terms of its aesthetic value. There may be judgments or expectations around the art product in wanting it to be 'good' or 'right' or perfect. There is no right/wrong in Art Therapy and no judgments are made on the art work.

Art lessons involve learning and development of art techniques such as painting, sculpture and/or drawing. The focus is on the end product in terms of its aesthetic value. There may be judgments or expectations around the art product in wanting it to be 'good' or 'right' or perfect. There is no right/wrong in Art Therapy and no judgments are made on the art work.

Q2. How did Art Therapy start?

Answer: Art is a universal language that transcends language barriers and cultural differences Communication is a key aspect of therapy. Using art as a means of communication and self-expression is less threatening than using only words and talking. Self-expression is an essential ingredient in psycho-emotional development. Using art may be an easier way to express emotions. It provides an opportunity for adults to play; a freedom that is often lost. It provides an opportunity for children to play; something that may be difficult especially if there is anxiety or haven taken on adult responsibilities too early in life. It provides a re-engagement with an individual's creative abilities - a process that encourages exploration and emotional growth Relaxation and spontaneity in being creative. Active participation for absolutely everyone including physically disabled. Confidence building, self-validation, realization of one's potential. It provides a freedom to make decisions and experiment or test out ideas creatively. It provides insight, self-awareness, self-reflection and ordering of experiences visually (creatively) and verbally. Creative problem solving especially when something turns out 'wrong'.

Q3. What are the advantages of using ART in therapy?

Answer: Art is a universal language that transcends language barriers and cultural differences Communication is a key aspect of therapy. Using art as a means of communication and self expression is less threatening than using only words and talking. Self expression is an essential ingredient in psycho-emotional development. Using art may be an easier way to express emotions. Provides an opportunity for adults to play; a freedom that is often lost. Provides an opportunity for children to play; something that may be difficult especially if there is anxiety or haven taken on adult responsibilities too early in life. Re-engagement with an individual's creative abilities - a process that encourages exploration and emotional growth Relaxation and spontaneity in being creative. Active participation for absolutely everyone including physically disabled. Confidence building, self-validation, realization of one's potential. Freedom to make decisions and experiment/test out ideas creatively. Insight, self-awareness, self reflection. Ordering of experiences visually (creatively) and verbally. Creative problem solving especially when something turns out 'wrong'.

Q4. Is Art Therapy done individually or in groups?

Answer: Art Therapy is useful for both individual and group settings. I work non-directively for individual sessions meaning that I allow and encourage clients to work at their own pace on their own ideas and themes that organically emerge. Shorter group sessions may be more directive and theme-based, but this ultimately depends on the client group and type of workshop it is, its aims and goals and therapist's style and preference.

Q5. Is Art Therapy only for children?

Answer: No, Art Therapy is not only for children! Art Therapy is beneficial for all people of all ages and provides an opportunity for adults and children to get in touch with their inherent creativity, a quality that everyone has.

Q6. Does the Art Therapist make interpretations of the client's art work?

Answer: The Art Therapist and client work together in exploration of what the image may mean or represent for the client. It is important to work with the client in order to not jump to conclusions around what the image may mean subjectively for the therapist. Within the relationship between the therapist and client, the images may elicit fears, associations, desires, fantasies, hopes, dreams and memories. The role of the Art Therapist is to create a safe space in which the voice of the image can be heard and understood. This enables reflection and understanding and the working through of issues and concerns.

Q7. Do I have to be 'good' at art?

Answer: Absolutely NOT! Knowledge of art is NOT a prerequisite for attending Art Therapy, and no judgments are made on the quality of the work produced. Everyone can make art and use it to explore their thoughts and feelings. Art Therapy can even be used with clients who do not have the coordinating capacity to hold a crayon or brush. For such clients the emphasis is placed on activities using water, sand, or other materials that provide an avenue for communication. It is unlikely that the client will use every available moment in the session for the making of art. The moments of not-doing are equally important in Art Therapy sessions, and may be equivalent to the silences within verbal therapy sessions.

Q8. How do you use the art materials in Art Therapy?

Answer: Clients may use the art materials in any way they wish provided it is safe for the client, the studio and the therapist. There is not a specific structure or format to an individual Art Therapy session as each session is determined by both the style of the therapist and the personality and of the client, or where the client is at in their life. For example one client may enter the Art Therapy room and want to make art immediately whereas another client may struggle to get started with the art. A client may prefer to talk before browsing the art materials or talk simultaneously whilst creating an image. A child may want the therapist to make art with him/her. A client may even talk the entire session and not venture toward the art materials. What is important is the way in which a client uses the space as this is useful material to explore in relation to the clients inner world.

Q9. What art materials do you use in Art Therapy?

Answer: Art materials may vary and include paint, pastels, clay, crayon, collage, ink, koki's, sand, charcoal, different paper, board, objects, containers, shoe polish etc and combinations thereof. Each art material and process may evoke different feeling states and the work created often reflects the unconscious forces and experiences that shape a person's life.

Q10. Who may benefit from attending Art Therapy?

Answer: Art Therapy has proved to be helpful for a range of clients and is suitable for adults and children of all ages. Various client groups that I have worked with include people with Anxiety, Depression, Emotional and Behaviour problems, Autism, ADHD, Indigo and Crystal children, Developmental Delay, Refugees, Trauma victims, HIV Aids and orphans, Educators, learning difficulties, Department of Education, Correctional Services and Psychiatry. Art Therapists may work in a variety of different settings both with individual clients and groups. Settings may include private practice, family settings, psychiatry, hospitals, special and mainstream education, learning difficulties, clinics or day centres, social services and prisons. In fact Art Therapy is so versatile that I have even developed workshops for corporates for teambuilding! (See www.art-cafe.co.za)

Q11. What is Art Therapy?

Answer: Art Therapy involves the use of different art materials through which a client can express and explore thoughts and feelings in the presence of a qualified Art Therapist. The Art Therapist offers a safe, contained and supportive space in which to work through issues and concerns. For many clients, it is easier to relate to the therapist through the art object, which provides a focus for discussion and analysis. The therapist and client then work together in trying to understand the client's personal process and the product of the session. Art Therapy can be a very powerful process, which may enable long buried feelings to come to the surface and be acknowledged. "It is the capacity of art to be a bridge between the inner world and outer reality which gives the image the role as mediator. The image mediates between unconscious and conscious, present and future aspects of a client." (The Handbook of Art Therapy: Caroline Case and Tessa Dalley, p 97).

Q12. How are Art Therapy Sessions structured?

Answer: Individual Art Therapy: It is recommended that clients attend regular Art Therapy sessions at a consistent time each week. These boundaries create a structure necessary for the building of both trust in the process and a relationship with the therapist. Each session is 45 minutes for children and an hour for adults. Group sessions range in duration depending on the content. Please see http://www.arttherapy.co.za/workshops.html for Art Therapy groups.

ART THERAPY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Q1. What does the Art Therapy registration process with the HPCSA in South Africa entail?

Answer: Having completed an internationally registered Art Therapy Masters training, qualified Arts Therapists need to undergo a registration process with the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) which include some of or all of the following in order to call oneself an ART THERAPIST: Case studies: written and video presentations Written and oral exams Clinical work for the board with specific client groups Adequate clinical hours of Art Therapy experience

Q2. How do I purchase the 5-Day Art Therapy manual and what does the manual include?

Answer: The Art Therapy manual is available for purchase and can either be fetched (if in Cape Town) or posted. The cost of the manual is 75% of the current Art Therapy 5-day course fee. The manual includes both Art Therapy theory and psychodynamic theory, extra reading material and daily worksheets, as well as a book list and glossary of all art therapy (and related) terms. The experiential art making exercises are not included in the manual as at a later stage you can hopefully still attend the course and benefit first hand from the experiential group experience. Please email sami@arttherapy.co.za to place your order and receive banking details. Please note that attending an Art Therapy Course/Workshop provides a far more authentic experience than reading a manual about Art Therapy as the process is largely experiential.

Q3. If I have bought the manual can I still attend the Art Therapy 5 Day Course at a later stage?

Answer: Yes absolutely. The cost of your manual would then be subtracted from the current course fee at time of actual attendance of the course, so you would only pay the difference in cost. Also, if the manual has been updated since you purchased it, you can upgrade your manual upon commencement of the course at a minimal extra charge.

Q4. Can I study Art Therapy in South Africa?

Answer: There is currently NO formal registered Art Therapy training in South Africa. Due to the strong interest and demand for Art Therapy in this country I have designed and developed an Art Therapy 5-day Course which aims at introducing you to the internationally developed Art Therapy practice. The course is targeted at adults (professionals, mental health practitioners, therapists, social workers, educators, students and artists) who are interested in and want to learn more about Art Therapy. The skills and experiences gained by participants can be adapted to and incorporated in many work spheres such as art teaching, therapy practises and art groups. The course simultaneously serves as a tool for self reflection, self awareness, releasing blocks and personal developement through creativity.

Q5. Can I study Art Therapy through correspondence?

Answer: There is no recognized Art Therapy Training through correspondence. Human interaction and the working with real live relationships is a vital component of any recognized professional Art Therapy training. As an Art Therapy trainee, one needs to experientially participate in the art making process during the training with others and with trained qualified Art Therapists. This live, real relationship that develops with the therapist cannot be simulated through a correspondence experience. The teaching is learnt through being the ‘’client.’’

There are also various other shorter Art Therapy workshops now available – all of which will give you an authentic taste of the art therapy process.

Most of the Art Therapy workshops are now facilitated in Cape Town. The Art Therapy 5-Day intensive course is also facilitated in Johannesburg twice a year. Workshops can also be facilitated in other cities for existing groups upon requests.

For more details on available workshops please click here

Q6. I don't live in Jhohannesburg, so how can I attend the Art Therapy 5-Day Course?

Answer: The Art Therapy 5-Day course is facilitated twice a year for 5 consecutive days both in Johannesburg and Cape Town so that people who don't live in Johannesburg can attend the course. However if you cannot attend these courses an alternative is to buy the Art Therapy Course manual that is used during the 5-day course. Please note that the experiential component of the Art Therapy Course is an experiential hands-on process and is not included in the manual as this is irreplaceable in terms of the learning experience gained!

Q7. Is Art Therapy recognized by the Health Professions council of South Africa (HPCSA)?

Answer: Yes. Art Therapy currently falls under the category of 'Single medium therapy' with the HPCSA.

Q8. Can I claim back from medical aid for attending Art Therapy sessions, groups or workshops?

Answer: Yes. After attendance of Art Therapy sessions/groups/workshops, you can then submit claims and get reimbursed by medical aid. The reimbursement comes from your savings portion of medical aids. You are welcome to email me at info@arttherapy.co.za requesting medical aid details with codes so that you can check with your medical aid whether you have funding left.

Q9. What are the legal requirements to practice Art Therapy in South Africa?

Answer: In order to practice as an Art Therapist in South Africa, one needs to first register with the HPCSA as an Art Therapist. In order to qualify for registration with HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa), a two year Master’s Degree in Arts Therapy from a registered University plus 1000 supervised clinical hours of practice is the minimum requirement. Following this one then needs to pass specific registration examinations with the HPCSA in order to be able to practice as an Art Therapist legally in South Africa or call oneself an Art Therapist.

The registration process with the HPCSA includes all or some of the following examination procedures: written case studies, video presentations, written and oral exams, papers on ethics and research, clinical work for the board with specific client groups in order to attain required clinical hours of Art Therapy practical experience. For more info on the registration process please see: http://sanato.co.za

Q10. Skype Art Therapy sessions

Answer: Online Art Therapy sessions have become increasingly popular overseas especially with people who prefer to have therapy in the comfort of their own homes, or also live far from the therapist, or are unable to travel. The ability to work with art via the Web brings a unique opportunity to experience Art Therapy regardless of where you live. Individual online sessions can be used for Art Therapy, Creative Coaching, Counseling and Supervision of client work where art is used. You will need a computer/ipad, internet access, webcam, Skype and some basic art materials such as paper, paint/crayons/pastels/koki’s/chalk/charcoal/clay. Individual sessions are R650 each, but a discounted rate of R2400 for 4 sessions is available.

OTHER LOCAL ART THERAPY TRAININGS

Please beware of factitious organizations offering what they call an “Art Therapy training” for example Helio’s /Art Therapy academy.

Answer: The Helios training is NOT run by any registered Art Therapists, and it bears no resemblance to what art therapy is. They are also not registered with the HPCSA and SANATO. The training has no supervision and is all done through correspondence. There is no group experience and no experiential experience which is essential in an Art Therapy training. HPCSA representatives have taken up this issue legally, as Helio’s/Art therapy academy are conflicting with our professional legal structures which undermines the quality control of Art Therapy in South Africa.

ART THERAPY INTERNATIONALLY

Q1. What does a legitimate International Art Therapy Training involve?

Answer: The 3 main modules of the Art Therapy included: Theory, Experiential work and Clinical Placement:

1. Theory: Le Lectures, peer presentations, dissertation and various papers on different topics. Some of my personal favourite theorist who have contributed to the study of Art Therapy include Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, Wilfred Bion and Joy Schaverian – all of which i include on both the 3 and 5-day course.

2. Experiential Workshops including the following in my training:

Short term workshops using Art, Clay and other Arts modalities e.g. Drama Therapy

Training Group: Weekly psychodynamic Art Therapy group for 2 years

Peer-led Art Therapy workshops

Psychodynamic based weekly large Art Therapy group with both full time and part-time students

Weekly Studio Practice:  Art Therapy studio's and art materials available for self-directed art process work. Use of a personal journal compliments track of ones process.

Final Art exhibition of full 2 year Art Therapy journey

Clinical placement/Internship (This of course differs per student)

My placements included 2 days per week for a year at each of the following institutions:

1st Year: Working at a mainstream primary School individually with 7 boys who were diagnosed with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD).

2nd Year: Working at a psychiatric adult mental health hospital for adults with psychosis. (Facilitation of both individual and group sessions with adults with acute and chronic psychosis).

Supervision included:

Individual weekly supervision at each annual clinical placement

Supervisor visits at clinical placements

Group supervision as part of multi-disciplinary team on placement

Group Clinical supervision at university

Personal Therapy: An essential requirement of the Art Therapy training is to attend personal weekly therapy. One needs to simultaneously be working through one's own experiences and personal process within a professionally safe facilitated space on an ongoing basis in order to remain objectively professional with clients.

Q2. What background do I need in order to apply for an International Art Therapy training?

Answer:
Undergraduate degree (E.g. BA/ Fine Art/Social Work etc)
Psychology background (E.g. Psy 1, 2 & 3 through UNISA)
Honours degree
Art experience and art portfolio
Experience in working with people (professionally or community/volunteer work)
Personal therapy with qualified and registered therapist (Art Therapist or other)

Q2. How long is a legitimate Art Therapy training?

Answer: Art Therapy is a Post Graduate/Masters training currently only available internationally which can either be completed over a 2-year full time or 3-year part-time period. I completed my training in London at the University of Hertfordshire, however certified Art Therapy Trainings are available in many different countries overseas including America, Australia, London, Ireland, Israel, and New Zealand.

“I didn’t realize how much I NEEDED Art Therapy. It was like rain falling on desert soil. And I have grown so much. My heart feels alive again. I will be back!”

Heather (Owner of a Montessori Nursery school, Degree in Television)