At Elephant and the Dove Art Therapy we believe that to find balance in our lives we must learn how to bring our heart and mind into harmony with each other. It is important to become aware of our emotions and our thoughts so that we can learn to take responsibility for our responses and choices in a conscious way. Creative expression through art therapy supports us in becoming mindful of how we feel and what we are thinking. Our art becomes a mirror and we can view what is going on in our lives from a different perspective. With our expanded awareness, we can work towards finding more mental and emotional balance. 

We work with people of all ages to teach tools and techniques that increase personal awareness and encourage full expression. We are trained in a variety of other counselling areas which allows us to work with individuals to help them discover the method of expression that feels most comfortable. 

What is Art Therapy? 

Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, colouring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. With the guidance of an art therapist, clients can interpret the nonverbal messages, symbols, and metaphors often found in these art forms, which should lead to a better understanding of their feelings and behaviour so they can move on to resolve deeper issues.

When It is Used

Art therapy helps children, adolescents, and adults explore their emotions, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, relieve stress, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, and cope with a physical illness or disability. No artistic talent is necessary for art therapy to succeed because the therapeutic process is not about the artistic value of the work, but rather about finding associations between the creative choices made and a client's inner life. The artwork can be used as a springboard for reawakening memories and telling stories that may reveal messages and beliefs from the unconscious mind.

What to Expect

As with any form of therapy, your first session will consist of your talking to the therapist about why you want to find help and learning what the therapist has to offer. Together, you will come up with a treatment plan that involves creating some form of artwork. Once you begin creating, the therapist may, at times, simply observe your process as you work, without interference or judgment. When you have finished a piece of artwork—and sometimes while you are still working on it—the therapist will ask you questions along the lines of how you feel about the artistic process, what was easy or difficult about creating your artwork, and what thoughts or memories you may have had while you were working. Generally, the therapist will ask about your experience and feelings before providing any observations.

How It Works

Art therapy is founded on the belief that self-expression through artistic creation has therapeutic value for those who are healing or seeking deeper understanding of themselves and their personalities. Art therapists are trained to understand the roles that colour, texture, and various art media can play in the therapeutic process and how these tools can help reveal one’s thoughts, feelings, and psychological disposition. Art therapy integrates psychotherapy and some form of visual arts as a specific, stand-alone form of therapy, but it is also used in combination with other types of therapy.