authenticity . connection . vulnerability . growth . transformation

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a counseling approach that uses art-making as a vehicle for communication and self-expression. Thoughts and feelings may be explored both visually and verbally, within the safety and trust of the therapeutic relationship. Art therapy utilizes mediums such as painting, drawing, collage and sculpture to creatively explore themes such as identity, past or present experiences, interpersonal relationships, hopes, fears, and more. The main goal of art therapy is to develop self-awareness and strive towards self-growth and healing.

  • Does not rely on language or verbal skills.

  • Focus is on process over product.

  • May be an accessible modality for persons with certain disabilities

  • Focuses concentration and increases mindfulness.

  • Helps integrate both right and left brain hemispheres, helping to create new neural pathways and associations.

  • Less intrusive and offers a safe way to deal with trauma and difficult to verbalize feelings and memories.

  • Encourages creative thinking and risk-taking in a safe environment.

  • Believes that creativity is inherently therapeutic.

  • Increases self-esteem and a sense of mastery.

  • Builds on social skills and peer support in group settings.

  • Develops healthy coping skills and strategies.

  • The best part? No previous art experience is required!

My Approach

My philosophy in art therapy has never been limited to one or a few theoretical approaches. Rather, I see each individual or group I work with as as multidimensional and multi-faceted and requiring an eclectic approach to meet their diverse and changing needs. Having said that, there are particular orientations that have formed a strong foundation for my personal approach:

I enjoy take a person-centered approach, which is built upon the cornerstones of empathy and empowerment, believing in the intrinsic drive within each of us towards personal growth and change. This naturally works well with a strengths-based model, which focuses on the individual's internal strengths and resourcefulness, in order to improve resilience and develop a positive worldview. I also incorporate a trauma-sensitive lens, which is deeply connected to the neuroscience behind art-making and its integrative effect on sensory processing and the brain.

 

Perhaps most personal to me though is my passion to offer culturally-sensitive and inclusive therapy. Ethnically, I am Pakistani but I was born in West Africa and grew up in Canada. I have also lived and traveled abroad and am keenly aware of the need for therapists and helping professionals to educate themselves on developing a sense of cultural sensitivity and cultural humility within their practice. And so, I highly prioritize staying informed and attuned to the unique cultural, religious, socioeconomic, and gender differences of the individuals that I work with as a way to gain deeper understanding on their lived experiences and to ultimately best meet their needs.