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Art Therapy Sessions

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What is Individual Art Therapy?

We often get asked, "What do you actually do in a one-on-one art therapy session?" We do encourage you to schedule a phone consultation to learn more about what art therapy support might look like for yourself or your child, but here is a basic overview of what a typical art therapy session might include. Our art therapy sessions can be virtual or in-person at our studio.

Warm-up Art

Typically, an art therapy session at Indigo would consist of a simple creative warm-up exercise to get your brain and body ready to create and to check-in with how you're really feeling in the moment. Instead of just asking, "how was your day?" we essentially ask your art.

 

A typical warm-up might be connecting your breath with lines on paper, exploring the sensory qualities of clay, or scanning your body for feelings and expressing them with color.

Sometimes the warm-up may turn into a larger project, depending on what comes up for you and how you think and feel about the process. Your art therapist will never assume how you're feeling or what your needs are. We serve as a facilitator and stay curious in our work together.

Process-Focused Art 

You do not need to have any formal experience or training in art to have successful experiences with art therapy. In fact, most of the art that we do together will have an emphasis on the the process, or act of art-making. Process-focused art brings us into the present moment by accessing the body and the senses. It's essentially a mindfulness practice. Making art in this way helps us to learn more about ourselves and the world around us, while learning to let go of our inner-critic and develop our intuition. 

 

Common Goals 

After our warm-up and orienting ourselves, we'll move into addressing a therapeutic goal through art-making. In the beginning phase of our work together, our goals are simply to establish comfort, safety, and rapport within the therapeutic relationship and the creative space, whether it's virtual or in-person.

 

As we move along in the therapeutic process, your goals may change. Some common goals for art therapy support might include reducing anxiety, support with emotional and sensory regulation, support with life transitions, reducing symptoms related to trauma, reducing symptoms of depression, reducing self-harming behaviors, and developing healthy coping mechanisms, and reducing intrusive thoughts. 

Processing and Discussion

When you've finished a work of art, we usually will spend time reflecting on your finished piece and the creative process. This reflection can be through writing, gesture, verbal processing, silent reflection, and sometimes more art. We might reflect on a work of art at the end of a session or in-between sessions.

 

We're often asked, "will we talk during art therapy sessions?" The answer here is yes, no, and maybe. Sometimes we work with individuals who are nonverbal or prefer to express themselves in different ways, rather than words. We honor alternative styles of communication and self-expression in the art room. Sometimes we may talk, in a similar way that you would in a typical "talk therapy" session. And sometimes maybe not. 

 

We will want to check-in with you and how you are doing, and we can do this in many different ways. You may want to do a little talking while you create, but sometimes a quiet, reflective art-making session in preferred. If so, your art therapist will quietly create art alongside you. 

Closing

We always want to make sure you feel centered and grounded at the end of your session, before you go get back to your daily routine. We will typically practice some kind of calming coping skill as a closing exercise. 

Adaptations

Because our art therapists at Indigo work with a variety of ages and abilities and tailor your sessions to meet your individual needs, strengths, goals, and abilities, your art therapy session will probably look and feel different than someone else's. The general framework will be similar though, with a guided warm-up, goal-oriented art activity, and mindfulness-based closing exercise.

Intake Session - Adults

Our intake sessions help us get to know one another and help us design creative sessions and activities that will be the best fit for your or your child. We will want to review our boundaries and expectations for working together, and get to know your strengths, materials preferences, and goals for support. For adults, we schedule a 90-minute intake appointment in one session.

 

Intake Sessions - Children

For children under the age of 18, the intake takes place within two separate 45-minute appointments. The first session is with the parent and the child's art therapist, without the child present (via Zoom or in-person). The second session is with the child and the art therapist.

 

In the initial parent session, we'll review our practice policies, listen to your concerns, learn what you feel has helped in the past, and discuss how we will communicate and collaborate together to support your child. 

 

In your child's initial session, we will be helping your child get acclimated to our space and attuned to the art therapist they'll be working with. We'll be focusing on helping them feel comfortable and safe. We'll be getting to know the way your child prefers to communicate and create.

Consultations

Art therapy is new to most people. We want to make sure you have any questions answered to help you decide whether art therapy would be the right fit for your or your child. Please feel free to schedule a complimentary phone consultation at your convenience or we're happy to answer specific questions via email. Please check our Frequently Asked Questions page for general common questions.