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Breaking myths about Art Therapy

1. To take Art Therapy you need drawing or painting skills

We don’t need any drawing or painting skills to take Art Therapy : One of the common resistance I hear when I talk about Art Therapy is “I can’t’ draw!” And my response is “Art Therapy is not about creating fine pieces of Art.” In an Art Therapy session, the focus is on the process and not on the end result. Its more about overcoming the critical and judgemental part of us and giving ourselves permission to connect with our emotions and thoughts and let it out using colours, abstract shapes, forms, doodles, scribbles or simple stick figures. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of making art.

2. Art Therapy session is same as art class where you learn to draw or paint

Art therapy is not an art class where we learn to draw or paint. The emphasis in an Art class is to learn drawing or painting techniques. Whereas in an Art Therapy session, the focus is on our emotions, perceptions, thoughts and inner experiences and art is used as a medium to express, connect and understand our inner world.

As an Art Therapist, I tend to integrate my teaching skills , when clients need support in using different art materials, or when they show interest to learn a skill.

3. Art Therapy is only for kids and not for adults.Art therapy is not just for kids. People of all ages including children, teens and adults can benefit from art Therapy.

4. There is no need of professional Art Therapist for Art Therapy session.

Art Therapy sessions have to be guided by a qualified and professional Art Therapist.

Using color books or making art by yourself definitely has its therapeutic benefits. Whereas, in an Art Therapy session, the Art Therapist provides directives that intentionally supports client’s individualised goals. They provide directives to support the client to explore and express the difficulties they are experiencing. After the art making process they engage in reflective conversation with the client to discover underlying messages within their art or support them in processing difficult emotions that may emerge during the art making process.

5. Art Therapists role is to interpret the client’s artwork.

Art Therapist role is to be attentive and ask reflective questions to support the client come up with their own interpretation or to attribute their own meaning to the colours, shapes or symbols used in their artwork. This process helps to gain insight or a different perspective of the situation/ challenge they are facing.


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