What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the creative process of making something to help people express and understand how they think, feel and act. Clients are invited to use all kinds of art materials to express whatever is on their mind without having to use just words. For many people, the opportunity to express themselves through art allows difficult or less familiar thoughts and feelings to come out. Once thoughts and feelings are in the artwork, the client and the therapist can look at them together, and come up with creative ideas around what the client would like to do with the thoughts and feelings. Art as Therapy uses a strengths-based relational approach, meaning that we believe that our clients already have what it takes to face challenges. Our role is to be the assistant as clients recognize and tap into their strengths and powers.

Who can benefit from art therapy?

Art as Therapy works with clients of all ages, from children as young as 3 years to adults as old as 103 years! Art therapy is often a great fit for children because their most familiar and natural form of communication is play. They are still learning and figuring out what words mean, but they understand things visually and concretely. Art therapy is also great for anyone who may feel a bit nervous about the idea of going to therapy or hesitant to share about experiences, and may enjoy the opportunity to be active and do something during the session.

Does the client have to be an artist?

No artistic experience or talent is needed. What’s important is the experience of making something instead of how it looks when it’s finished. There are no rules for how to create art in art therapy and anyone can enjoy the benefits of the creative process. 

Who interprets the client’s artwork?

It is up to clients to decide what their artwork means. Art therapists are specially trained to look at artwork with curiosity, and to ask questions that may help the client to reflect on what the artwork means to them. The artwork is a starting point for the art therapist and the client to explore together and make connections to the client’s experiences outside of the art therapy sessions.

What kind of art will the client make?

Art materials and tasks will be different depending on the age and current experiences of the client, but you can expect to encounter all kinds of things like paper, pencil crayons, markers, pastels, paint, fabric, clay, recycled materials, watercolours, and of course glitter!

Will the art therapy sessions bring up big feelings?

It is possible that the therapeutic process can bring up big feelings, especially if the client has had some traumatic experiences. Art-making can sometimes tap into the subconscious and can bring memories or feelings to the surface that may have been inaccessible before.  This is very important for healthy emotional processing and for working through challenging experiences in an adaptive way. Art therapists are specially trained to know how art-making can evoke feelings, and to help contain big feelings within the frame of the session. That being said, sometimes feelings and sessions in themselves are very intense and can leave the client feeling tired or overwhelmed. It can be hard work to think and talk about feelings, especially difficult ones. It is important for parents, caregivers, and service providers to be aware of this. After a challenging session it may be helpful to offer the client a little bit of extra TLC, or to engage in an intentionally relaxing or soothing activity. If possible, we recommend scheduling some down time after art therapy sessions just in case the client experienced the session as emotionally challenging. The art therapists will do their best to give you a heads up if it has been a particularly challenging session, and they are always available via phone or email if parents or caregivers are noticing an impact at home and have questions or could use some support in supporting their child or loved one through this process.

How long is an art therapy session?

Each art therapy session is 50 minutes in long, so just less than an hour. 

How much does an art therapy session cost?

Each art therapy session costs $100.00 + HST. The price is the same for an initial consult (a meeting with caregivers or support staff). Most extended health benefit companies do not cover psychotherapy, but it is always worth asking if they cover Registered Psychotherapists. 

How many sessions will a client need to attend?

The number of sessions is determined by the individual needs of the client, but most clients attend between 6-12 sessions. 

How can I book an appointment?

We serve clients from three office locations, Orangeville, Milton and Mississauga. You can book an appointment at either office by calling either 519-307-9000, 905 783 5939 or by emailing admin@artastherapy.ca.  Our front desk in Orangeville is typically open from 11am-7pm Monday through to Friday.

New Clients 

Interested in learning more about art therapy or setting up an appointment? Here’s what the process will look like and what to expect along the way.

When you call or email us, you will have the opportunity to briefly share what brings you to art therapy and to learn more about what we have to offer. If you are interested in moving forward, we will arrange an initial consult. This is a one-hour meeting where the therapist, the client, or the caregiver of a child or teen client will have a chance to talk. This meeting is when you can share in more detail about what is bringing you to art therapy. The therapist may ask some questions about the clients’ experiences growing up in order to understand more about their current experiences. This is also a chance for the client to ask questions and learn more about who we are and what we do. The therapist and the client or caregiver then work together to come up with some goals and to make a plan for how Art as Therapy can best support the client. After the initial consult, the first art therapy session can be arranged. Frequency, scheduling, and number of sessions can all be discussed at the initial consult.