Simon Hallion is an art psychotherapist and member of the British Association of Art Therapists, completing his Masters Degree in Art Therapy with a distinction at the University of Derby.
As a psychodynamic art therapy practitioner, Simon offers a client-focused therapeutic approach that is professional, safe, open and non-judgemental. Emphasis is placed on building resilient, emotional alliances with clients in a safe and caring way. The psychodynamic aspect of art therapy relates difficult emotional states to earlier experiences and relationships in our lives.
So, art therapy is like other talking therapies but with the added dimension of introducing art materials and image making to the process. This helps reinforce the therapeutic alliance by using the image making to explore feelings and ideas that can’t easily be put into words.
Applying these principles, Simon has provided art therapy to help people experiencing various aspects of emotional distress including depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, dysregulation, loss and bereavement.
A TYPICAL SESSION
Art therapy is suitable for all ages. It is not like art lesson, and you don’t need any special art skills or experience to get going.
Sessions follow a non-directive approach. So, after introducing you to the art materials, the therapist will generally support you in choosing how you want to take things forward. But – if helpful – they can offer themes or guidance or creative exercises.
A typical session will begin with checking in to see what’s happening for you at the moment.
Most of the session will be spent using art materials. Making art in a therapy session can involve lots of different materials such as paint, crayons or modelling clay – even pipe cleaners, felt pens and pictures from magazines.
During the session the therapist pays close attention to the client’s art making (we call this witnessing or ‘attunement’). Some clients prefer to work in silence whilst others find it helpful to talk as their art making takes shape. Towards the end of a session, we’ll talk about ideas and feelings that arise from the images or from the process of making them.
A key role for the therapist is to help make the experience feel safe and to enable you to be relaxed and open to exploring your ideas. Conversations and the images you make in your session are all confidential, shared only between you and your therapist.
Art therapy offers a way to explore your imagination and express yourself in a safe, creative space. It’s a way of finding your own voice to express things that can’t easily be put into words. Assisted by a suitably qualified art therapist, the therapeutic process provides opportunities to help you understand, regulate and work through emotional distress, whilst offering opportunities for healing and growth.