Art Therapy

Art Therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in making art often runs parallel with the healing process. In the context of a therapeutic alliance with an Art Therapist, art media - painting, drawing, photography, sculpting - employed as the primary mode of communication, can lead to enhanced self awareness, cognition, and emotional resilience.

History of Art Therapy

Margaret Naumburg (1890 - 1983) Margaret developed in the 1940's, the approach known as Dynamically Oriented Art Therapy. (US)

Adrian Hill (1895 - 1977) Author of Art Versus Illnes (Britian)

Edward Adamson (1911 - 1996) (Britian)

Philosophical Principles of Art Therapy

Influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, art therapy rests on the premise that a person's inner life is largely constructed with symbols and images. For some people, the visual nature of their inner world can be very difficult to articulate in words. Being able to 'gound' these 'floating' dream-like images on paper or canvas can be a very effective means of expression, exploration and ultimately, integration. It is a very human phenomenon, this hankering to give physical form to the thoughts and emotions that might otherwise keep us hostage.

Art is one way of saying what needs to be said - and perhaps, in some instances, the only way.


Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy and Art Therapists, having trained in both art and clinical therapy, are recognised as accredited mental health professionals. While listening and observing, the Art Therapist evaluates which materials and interventions are suited to assisting and supporting the individual find their creative self.

Contemporary Applications

Art Therapists work with children, adolescents, and adults - providing services to individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities. They may work as part of a clinical team that includes physicians, psychologists, nurses, rehabilitation counsellors, social workers, and teachers. Together, they determine and implement a client's therapeutic, school, or mental health program. Art Therapists also work as primary therapists in private practice.

Art Therapy Schools

College for Educational and Clinical Art Therapy (CECAT)

Professional Associations in Australia

Australian and New Zealand Art Therapies Association

Australian Creative Arts Therapies Association

Melbourne Institute for Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy (MIECAT)

Books on Art Therapy

The Courage to Create - Rollo May (1975)