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Common Misconceptions about Art Therapy


X   Art therapy is like an art class.

√   Art therapists are not teachers. The purpose of the art therapy session is

not to learn to make art, but to use the process to facilitate self-awareness

and transformation. Unlike an art class, there is often no objectives to the

art therapy session and your works will not be graded. Art therapy

sessions are client-led, which means you can choose what you want to

do in the session under rules mutually agreed with your therapist at

the beginning of the therapy. It is not uncommon that some sessions

may end without producing any artworks.


X  Art therapy is a form of art activities.

√  Although taking part in art activities can be therapeutic, art

activities do not contain clinical psychotherapy elements.

In art therapy, it is possible that art activities may not happen

every session. It can only be delivered by properly trained and

qualified art therapists registered with regulatory organizations.

Any services provided by individuals without qualification may cause

unforeseeable harm to service users.

X   I need to know how to draw to take part in art therapy.

√   In art therapy, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to make art. You do not need to have any artistic skills or experience to benefit or gain insights from art therapy. The art-making process is used in the psychotherapy session to affect change and growth. In fact, people who are trained in arts tend to stress on the aesthetic value of the work which may suppress the expression of the unconscious. Those who have no prior experience in art are likely to be more spontaneous to let their unconscious thoughts and feelings flow.

X   Art therapy is just for children.

√   Art therapy is for all ages. Although children may find it easier to engage in art therapy as they are more likely to express themselves through play or art making, it is also a powerful way to work with adolescents, adults, older people, and those who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally. It is suitable for a range of emotional difficulties, mental health issues, learning disabilities, behavioural and social challenges, etc.

X   I have to make art every session.

√   Although art making is the primary mode of communication in an art therapy session, you do not need to make art if you do not feel like to. Since the session is client-led, you may decide what to do in the session according to how you feel, under rules mutually agreed with your therapist at the beginning of therapy. However, you are encouraged to engage in art-making because art can help express difficult experience you may not know how to express verbally.

X   Art therapists know what I am thinking from my artworks.

√   Art therapy is not magical. Art therapists are not able to know what you think because you are the only one who know yourself best. Art is like a third party in a therapeutic conversation. The role of art therapists is to provide a safe space and walk together with you along this self-discovery journey to help you understand and make meaning from the artworks created. Art therapists will remain respectful in therapy and allow you to work at your own pace.


X  Art therapy is just a complementary therapy.

√  Art therapy is an established mental health profession for over 60 years and is statutorily regulated in the United Kingdom. Art therapists or art psychotherapists (both titles are legally protected and inter-changeable) have to complete postgraduate level of art therapy trainings including supervised clinical placements validated by the Health and Care Professions Council in order to be on the HCPC Register and practise legally. Art therapists have to comply with professional standards and Code of Ethics to ensure safe practice.


>> Art Therapy Counselling Service

>> Art Thearpy Emotion Support Group for Children

>> Art Therapy Social Skills Group for Children

>> Adult Art Therapy Group


>> Carers Art Therapy Group

​>> Elderly Art Therapy Group


>> HCPC 




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