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by emma last modified 09/02/2017 03:37 PM

Art Therapy story

by emma last modified 09/02/2017 03:37 PM
Art Therapy story

A therapeutic art group was hosted at Arts West Side in 2016

The Art Therapy sessions were planned for young adults, most of them referred by their GP's. The purpose of the project was to help individuals to increase their understanding of what is happening, reducing the level of distress caused by unusual experiences and prioritising personal recovery and a quick return to valued roles and social relationships.

Katie Gannaway, Mental Health Worker for AWP Bristol Early Intervention Team explains why the project was important:

"Earlier this year we ran a therapeutic art group from Arts West Side, for 16 weeks. The group was for young people 16- 35 years who are experiencing mental health difficulties. As part of their recovery we wanted this group to be in the community to promote social inclusion, leading to service users to feel less isolated and facilitating them to link in to other community resources.

The art group gave them an opportunity to explore their creativity whilst receiving emotional support in a safe group environment enabling them to feel more confident to be part of the community. The group was for a maximum of eight people, and included two healthcare professionals facilitating the therapeutic art group.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends the use of art for young people because it can help to alleviate negative symptoms and should be provided in a group setting.

The feedback from group members was very positive; they liked the location because it was central, they also felt the space provided was safe and confidential, allowing them to freely express themselves through their art.

They also appreciated the art space below (SPACE), giving them the opportunity to view various exhibits, which for some, influenced their art and interest. This often impacted on our art sessions; members would access the group through the exhibition and this would become a talking point, and an opportunity to engage with others. Some of the members had never had the opportunity to visit art exhibitions; however, the accessibility provided this opportunity.

We would have struggled to provide this group in the community due to limited funds; Arts West Side offered a great space, accessible to communities that are often isolated."

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