Psychotherapy and Counselling Using the Arts

We currently have three fully qualified Psychotherapists and Counsellors working in the team, offering the highest level of therapeutic support to pupils presenting with complex issues.

Each of our therapists bring their own experience and individual approach to working with pupils, however all are qualified to offer the highest level of emotional support.

Integrative approach

We use an integrative approach to working with pupils, drawing on a range of theories and approaches to begin to understand and support pupils referred for support. Such theories include, but are not limited to; attachment theory, object relations theories, neuroscience, child development and trauma research. We use different therapeutic approaches to address presenting issues, making use of the containing and soothing nature of the arts (paint, clay, sandtray and puppets), alongside mindfulness and calming practices.

We also adopt more cognitive interventions such as psychoeducation through the use of specialised board games and resources. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy forms an important aspect of our therapeutic work, especially with adolescents; however this approach is integrated into sessions, rather than being limited to this as a sole intervention.

Use of the Arts

We consider the arts to be a significant therapeutic tool. Play and artistic expression provide children and young people with safe opportunities to build, construct, explore, imagine and role play; either independently or with another. Play provides an opportunity to express buried feelings and preoccupations, providing a “vital window into their psychological state” (Music, 2011, p.129). Language has been found to alienate self-experience and emotion, whilst artistic expression will often mirror, reflect and even amplify the young person’s internal world.

References

Music, G. (2011). Nurturing natures: Attachment and children’s emotional, sociocultural and brain development. Hove & New York, NY: Psychology Press.