Art Therapy aims to help people better manage how they respond to difficult or overwhelming emotions, so that they can have kinder relationships with themselves and others. We aim for safer, more fulfilling lives and improved self-care. We do this through encouraging people to express, contain, explore and reflect on their thoughts, feelings and difficulties they may be facing.
Art Therapy is a psychological profession and is also known as Art Psychotherapy. It uses art making as part of the process of therapy, allowing a non-threatening and deep expression of emotions. It is particularly helpful for patients who are unable to respond to more verbal or directive forms of psychological treatment.
In NHS Ayrshire & Arran Art Therapy is offered in the Community Learning Disability Service, for patients with a learning disability and associated conditions who may be struggling to live independently or at home.
What is an Art Therapist?
An Art Therapist is a clinician who has done a recognised training course and is State Registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). They are experienced in using art materials and psychological processes. The HCPC is a governmental body designed to protect the interests of the public when they seek a health care practitioner (http://www.hcpc-uk.org). Art Therapists are also registered with the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) (http://www.baat.org).
Community Learning Disability Service
All Art Therapy sessions are held at the North West Kilmarnock Centre where we have purpose-built facilities. All sessions are one-to one and will be at same time each week, with each session normally 50 minutes in length and tailored to the needs of each patient.
Following a brief period of assessment, treatment is normally nine months to two years, with shorter treatments of 12 weeks for difficult bereavement or support during significant changes, such as moving home.
When a client leaves a session they may not want to talk to people around them about what happened, and this is quite normal. If you support a patient attending sessions, then we would suggest that you don't ask them about what happened during a session, or ask whether they enjoyed it, as this may put them under pressure to further share their feelings or put their experience into words, which may be quite difficult.
A client may feel vulnerable, withdrawn or restless prior to and after a session in response to acknowledging and processing sensitive material.
Art Therapy treatment is like a course of medication and so it's important that your client attends all weekly sessions on time, as this has been found to be an important part of the treatment.
How can I access Art Therapy?
Community Learning Disability Service
We cannot accept referrals for Art Therapy direct from patients or GPs, but we do receive referrals from other professions such as Community Nursing or Social Work for clients already known to the Community Learning Disability Service. If you or someone you know with a learning disability wishes to access Art Therapy then please approach the Community Learning Disability Team on the appropriate numbers below. You can also contact the Art Therapist direct for an initial conversation. Referrals might be for any of the following issues:
The Art Therapist can advise on treatment options, as well as provide advice to the patientʼs care team on overall approach in working with individual patients away from therapy, such as assisting in personal boundaries, managing emotional wellbeing, managing behaviours, activities, and relationships.
Community Learning Disability Teams:
North Ayrshire - Team Co-ordinator: Marion Gilchrist telephone: 01294 323559
East Ayrshire - Team Co-ordinator: Nicky Jenkins telephone: 01563 578567
South Ayrshire - Team Co-ordinator: Steve Wright telephone: 01292 614906
Art Therapist: Simon Marshall, telephone: 01563 578703