Hawthorn tree at the Seven Sisters
I have always been interested in the psychological foundations that shape us. After many years of working as an artist, college lecturer and running therapeutic groups, I had seen creativity and relationship with others encourage growth, confidence, independence, and repair trauma in youthwork, schools, colleges, refugee or community groups, as people made sense of their own experience. Psychotherapy training was then a natural progression.
Integrative Arts Psychotherapy (IAP) uses the arts to provide a bridge to the unconscious, and to find form for feeling. The arts may be starting to identify where we feel things in the body, using a metaphor or an experience or making playlists for emotions, as well as making art, journalling, music etc. Within the therapeutic relationship there is a creative space to experiment. The Humanistic perspective is to ‘walk alongside’ clients, to help people find their resources and thus enable growth. My approach as an IAP is to provide an empathic space to work through issues, and also to build a client’s resilience as part of the reparative process.
EMDR is also a powerful additional tool for trauma but also for grief, addiction, phobias and many other unresolved issues.
‘The paradox of trauma is that it has the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect’ (Levine 2010).