Art Therapy

Company Information

Contact Person:

Samantha Jayne Davis


Art Psychotherapist


HPCSA for CPD points


Art Therapy is a treatment process which offers a safe, contained and supportive place,where clients can express and explore their thoughts and feelings by using art materials - paint, clay, collage etc. It is not necessary to be 'good at art' as no judgments will be made on the quality of the work produced. Art Therapy has proved to be helpful for a range of conditions and is suitable for children and adults of all ages.

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy involves the use of different art materials (such as paint, clay, crayon, collage etc.) through which a client can express and explore thoughts and feelings in the presence of the therapist. The Art Therapist offers a safe, contained and supportive space in which to work through issues and concerns.

For many clients, it is easier to relate to the therapist through the art object, which provides a focus for discussion and analysis. The therapist and client then work together in trying to understand the clients personal process and the product of the session.

Clients may use the art materials in any way they wish provided it is safe for the client, the studio and the therapist. Art therapy is available for both individual and group settings. The structure of individual sessions is usually non-directive, and clients work on their own ideas and themes. Group sessions are often more directive and theme-based, but this will depend on the client group.

Art therapy can be a very powerful process, which may enable long buried feelings to come to the surface and be acknowledged.

Do I have to be good at art?

Knowledge of art is NOT a prerequisite for attending Art Therapy, and no judgments are made on the quality of the work produced. Everyone can make art and use it to explore their thoughts and feelings. Art Therapy can even be used with clients who do not have the coordinating capacity to hold a crayon or brush. For such clients the emphasis is placed on activities using water, sand, or other materials that provide an avenue for communication. It is unlikely that the client will use every available moment in the session for the making of art. The moments of not-doing are equally important in Art Therapy sessions, and may be equivalent to the silences within verbal therapy sessions.

Who may benefit from Art Therapy?

Art Therapy has proved to be helpful for a range of clients and is suitable for adults and children of all ages. Art Therapists may work in a variety of different settings, including private practice, team building groups, corporate groups, family settings, psychiatry, hospitals, special and mainstream education, learning difficulties, clinics or day centers, social services and prisons.

Art Therapy in South Africa

There is no formal Art Therapy training in South Africa yet. However it is envisaged that a formal training will be available in the very near future. Foreign Trained Arts Therapists need to undergo a registration process which includes exams in order to practice in South Africa. Art Therapy does not have a separate category of its own and thus presently falls under Single Medium Therapies. SANATO (South African National Arts Therapies Organization) has developed guidelines and an application form for the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) regarding registration.

"It is the capacity of art to be a bridge between the inner world and outer reality which gives the image the role as mediator. The image mediates between unconscious and conscious, present and future aspects of a client." (The Handbook of Art Therapy: Caroline Case and Tessa Dalley, p 97").


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