Frequently Asked Questions about Art Therapy
and Psychotherapy

I’m new to psychotherapy. What can I expect?

There is no cookie-cutter formula for therapy and each person’s process and experience is unique. Typically we will meet for an initial session and determine if we are a good fit to work together.  The first several sessions will help me to get a sense of your history and background and determine what issues you wish to address. Depending on your situation, we will usually meet weekly for 45-50 minutes. Through our collaboration (and your artwork, should you choose to express yourself visually,) we will begin to identify learned patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that holding you back from living more fully. Over time, through the safety and comfort of the therapeutic space, new more effective ways of coping and and relating can be learned.

How long will I be in therapy?

Therapy is not meant to be forever. However, it is not magic and requires an effort and openness to delving into patterns and experiences that have been built up often over many years. This can take some time. I would ask you to be patient with your journey and not put unrealistic expectations on yourself or the therapeutic process to be in a certain place in a certain amount of time. A large part of why therapy is effective is the relationship with the therapist and this can take some time to build.

Will you give me advice?

Despite what is often depicted in popular culture, it is not my job to tell you what to do or how to live your life. My role is to actively listen and provide you with a safe space where your own voice can emerge. I will certainly offer suggestions when it seems beneficial and help you develop tools to cope more effectively in your life, but primarily I am here to help you come to know what is best for yourself.

What is art therapy?

According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Art therapy is an established mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self awareness, and achieve insight.”

More about art therapy and trauma »
More about art therapy and adolescents »

For more general information about art therapy, visit the American Art Therapy Association or the Art Therapy Alliance.

How does art therapy work?

Both the creative process of making art and the resulting artwork serve a therapeutic benefit. Creating art enables us to tap into a part of ourselves that we may not be consciously aware.  A visual expression has the potential to convey a more direct message than verbal speech alone. The images that each of us hold inside can often clarify and unveil unconscious material that can be used to work through present concerns. Using art can more efficiently access material that might otherwise be censored with words. Additionally, the creative process can help to build coping skills, offer a place for expression and help develop your sense of self. Your artwork provides a way to express visually, “This is who I am. This is what I feel. This is what I think.”

Do I have to be artistic?

Absolutely not! No experience with art is necessary. Art therapy emphasizes your personal process and what your images mean and communicate to you. You may learn a new skill and develop a sense of accomplishment and pride along the journey (and have fun), but mastering technique is not the goal.

Do you offer a sliding scale?

I have limited spots available for a sliding scale fee and I will do my best to work with you if you have financial constraints. If you are able to come during the day, I can sometimes be a little more flexible with the fee.

If there is a question I haven’t answered for you, please contact me and ask!

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