frequently asked questions

What is art therapy?

Art therapy uses the creative process of making-art to enhance a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Who and what is art therapy for?

Art therapy is for anyone who wants to access and broaden their own inner strengths and awareness to better deal with the challenges of life. Through creating and reflecting on the art products and processes, participants can increase awareness of self and others, cope more effectively with stress or difficulties and experience the enjoyment of making art to build confidence and self-esteem.

Is art therapy like counselling or psychology?

Yes and no. Yes because art therapy has its basis in psychology and counselling, where the art therapist and participant develop an interpersonal relationship through the arts process, with clear boundaries and shared intentions. No because unlike counselling and psychology sessions, art therapy can be used purely to enhance well-being in the participant through engagement in creativity assisted by the knowledge and guidance of the art therapist to facilitate that process.

What would I do in art therapy group or session?

Typically there will be a period of ‘check-in’ at the start where participants share something about themselves. A relevant theme is decided upon and then the participants have time to explore that theme by doing a creative activity. Participants and the art therapist then reflect on the process and the what was created. The session closes with reflecting on what has occurred and setting a an agreed goal to be completed before the next session. A sample of activities that might be included:

  • - Looking at and responding to images, colours textures, objects, music etc.
  • - Exploring how art materials work on different surfaces and in different combinations.
  • - Doodling and colouring in and collage
  • - Exploring unique ways of applying materials – drawing without looking, stencilling, printing, frottage (rubbings)
  • - Creating journals and mandalas to explore personally meaningful symbols.

Will my work or comments be disclosed to others?

Whatever is shared between participants and the art therapist is strictly private and confidential at the participant’s discretion. Vivid will seek the permission of participants for any sharing or publishing of creative works.

What if I can’t draw?

Art therapy does not require any artistic skills because the focus is on the process, not the final product. Art therapy uses art processes - activities that allow expression of our innate uniqueness and creativity. An art process could be as simple as looking at an image and responding to it – therefore no ‘artistic’ skills are required.

Will my work be interpreted by others?

No – art therapists rely on participants to give the meaning to what is created. With permission, the art therapist or other participants may be invited to respond to what has been created, however this is purely at the creator’s discretion.

What are vivid art therapy ‘s services based on?

Vivid ‘s services come from the theoretical framework stemming from psychology’s ‘Person Centred’ approach developed by Carl Rogers. This approach relies on the idea that people have a natural tendency towards personal fulfillment, and it is the therapist’s role to facilitate this process through non-judgement, empathy and trust.

From there, Vivid draws inspiration from wellness philosophies and practices including meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology, motivational interviewing and solution focused therapy. Broadly the goal of all these is to increase awareness and enhance life in the process.

What are Caroline Curtis-Williams' credentials?

Caroline completed a Masters of Art Therapy at Latrobe University. She has worked as an art therapist at an acute mental health facility with patients of wide ranging of presentations including depression, anxiety, personality issues, chronic pain and addiction. She has also run creative groups in community (Hunt Club Community Arts Centre) and disability (Vision Australia) settings . She is a member of the peak professional creative arts therapies associations in Australia -ANZACATA (see Links page for details) and regularly undertakes professional development activities including short courses, peer meetings and supervision (when required). Caroline has been learning and meditation and mindfulness for two years with the Australian College of Classical Yoga, and continues to practice these. Caroline also attained her BA in Fine Arts Honours (Printmaking) at RMIT and is a practicing, exhibiting artist.