Please read below for information on art therapy. However, unfortunately, due to various constraints and time commitments, I am not available for art therapy for the foreseeable future. I apologise for this, and perhaps can refer you to our association’s website where you might locate some other art therapists, if you haven’t visited it already:
The Australian and New Zealand Art Therapy Association (ANZATA)

Naturopathy is not my only passion. I have a Master of Art Therapy from La Trobe University, in Victoria, and I am a professional member of the Australian and New Zealand Art Therapy Association (ANZATA), which is a member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). Art therapy is a separate, optional consultation from naturopathy. The sessions last an hour, but please allow one and a half hours. Some clients come just for naturopathy; others come just for art therapy. Sometimes people will see me for both naturopathy and art therapy, which is a special combination (booked as separate sessions, in different timeslots).

Art therapy is not only an effective therapy for emotional difficulties, but it is something people are turning to for personal and creative development. Some people are attracted to it simply to have a pleasurable and insightful experience. You don’t have to have psychological problems to benefit from art therapy. It is life enhancing for people of all ages.

Health insurance rebates are available for some funds. If your fund does not offer rebates, why not lobby them and request that they include this increasingly recognised form of therapy.

Read about:
What is art therapy?
Do I need artistic skills?
What happens in an art therapy session?
Why is art therapy useful?

Naturopathy - photos
Naturopathy - photos
Naturopathy - photos

What is art therapy?
Art therapy is different from art classes, and no art experience is necessary. Art therapy is for everyone – adults, adolescents and children. Art therapy is generally considered to be a marriage of art-making with talking therapy, although art-making itself is therapeutic and healing.

Art therapy offers you the opportunity to look at things in a new way. It helps you to see yourself more clearly, gain different perspectives and unblock feelings and issues that may otherwise be difficult to express. Creating simple images is a safe and natural way of communicating feelings and experiences.

Images can be considered to be the language of the unconscious. Your images are an extension of yourself, and exploring them through artwork allows you to get to know yourself in a deeper way. Art-making and art therapy provide healing and growth experiences, and help stimulate your creativity, generating a positive sense of well being.

Studies in the fields of sport psychology, medicine, trauma studies and others attest to the power of mental imagery, visualisation and telling your story. Research has shown that immune system neuropeptides transform thoughts into matter, storing emotions and memories in body tissues. These stored negative experiences, relationship issues and belief systems generate negativity that affects our health. The rational and censoring left brain can keep us from being in touch with this information.

Through meditative aspects inherent in art therapy, you tap into the right brain, connecting to symbols, images and perceptions that speak to you from the unconscious. These images may both surprise and inform you. The act of externalising images releases repressed feelings and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system to calm you, and the images become your teacher. By connecting your conscious with your unconscious, you gain a more congruent sense of self, improving and integrating your mind, body and spirit.

Although the art-making is a magical experience, it is in the processing and discussion of the images that awareness and problem-solving take place. Art-making lets you face your fears in a relatively safe way, transforming them into power and freedom.

Apart from it being a rich and powerful form of therapy, the best thing that people say about art therapy, compared to other therapies, is that it is fun, even though they are often anxious and hesitant before they begin.

Do I need artistic skills?
In art therapy no artistic skills are required. The important thing is to let your body and intuition pick out art materials that appeal to you, and to just start playing or doodling. There are no rules about art-making and anything you do is fine. Unlike other art-making experiences you may have had, your art work is never judged or critiqued in art therapy.

What happens in an art therapy session?
The session may begin with relaxation techniques or guided imagery, or I may suggest a few general starting themes or warm up doodles. However, generally, you are invited to make images with the topic and materials you choose. As you become attuned to your inner process, you will quickly become comfortable, and images will emerge spontaneously, possibly to your surprise and enjoyment.

Part of the session involves the processing of art images; that is, talking about them. As a trained art therapist, I do not impose interpretation upon your art; rather, it is my role to help you make your own meaning as you reflect upon your image and the process of its creation. Sometimes meanings unfold later in the session or at times after the session. Often, you will find different meanings when you review your images after several sessions, and you can see new themes and interesting aspects about yourself.

Life transitions are explored, as well as various issues such as grief and loss, relationships, body image, identity, creativity blocks, and past abuse and trauma. Body reactions can occur as emotions are experienced and released. You begin to see the connection between your mind, body, emotions and illness. Many people come to art therapy as an adjunct to physical healing, especially from illness resulting from chronic stress.

Why is art therapy useful?
There are many reasons why art therapy may be more suitable than talk therapy alone:

  • Children are less able to articulate feelings and experiences, whereas art is a natural language for children.
  • Teenagers may be resistant or self-conscious about verbalising thoughts, feelings and experiences, yet they are often at a very creative phase of life and engage well with art as a form of expression.
  • Art images come from the unconscious and provide information that we have been unaware of. Talk therapy alone may be less effective in uncovering unconscious or traumatic material.
  • Couples and families may be blocked or resistant to verbal communication, but they can talk to each other through art images and pictures. Art therapy is a natural, safe and fun process for families to engage in.
  • Disabilities may prevent people from verbal expression, for example strokes, brain damage, developmental delays, learning disorders, loss of hearing and speech, etc. Art therapy provides an alternate form of communication and increases cognitive and developmental learning.
  • Language barriers may prevent communication and expression at a certain level. However, images are a more universal language, enabling thoughts, feelings and concerns to be expressed.

Art therapy is helpful for personal growth and mental health concerns:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • trauma
  • abuse
  • eating disorders
  • refugees and dislocation
  • anger management
  • drug and alcohol concerns
  • relationship challenges
  • grief and loss
  • searching for meaning and authenticity
  • self esteem and identity issues
  • life stage transitions
  • career decisions
  • new mothers
  • behavioural problems
  • coping with illness

Also view:
Naturopathy
Natural treatments

Any questions? Please contact Linda Loh. You can book a consultation to talk about your concerns and discuss possible therapies.