I am a fully qualified Art Psychotherapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and also a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). I trained for my MA in Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths’s College and I have been practicing since 2013. I work predominantly with teenagers and young adults in my private practice. I offer one to one art therapy sessions both in person and online. I can also combine trauma informed yoga and somatic practices with my art therapy work or offer yoga separately.
Sometimes it’s difficult or even impossible to express feelings with words. At the moment in particular – as we emerge from these difficult and crazy times – emotions may be hard to talk about and often words don’t easily express how we are feeling. It’s possible to end up pushing feelings inward or away – which might cause more confusion, anxiety or frustration. There are many benefits of creating art and expressing yourself creatively – importantly it can help you acknowledge, respect and celebrate your own uniqueness! It can also help you get to know yourself better. It might take you on a journey of self discovery. Creative activities can help us manage our mood and boost wellbeing. Or it might just be something to distract you for a little while. You don’t need to be good at art!
I am currently studying for my Yoga Therapy Diploma (550 + hours). Yoga Therapy is fast becoming recognised as a mind/body modality able to to guide people to improved physical, mental, emotional health and wellbeing. I am developing my yoga therapy practice as an effective adjunct working alongside art therapy to deliver well–rounded, complementary approaches to holistic healing and wellness. This builds on 200 + hours Yoga Teacher Training (Yoga Alliance accredited) with Universal Yoga and further extensive training in Trauma Informed Somatic yoga approaches (see below for details).
I work on-goingly within the NHS at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton running Art Therapy Groups, one to one Art Therapy and Yoga for young people with chronic medical conditions. Charlotte Savins is the lead art therapist and my supervisor (contact 01273 523149). The Art Therapy Groups facilitate a respectful and trusting relationship with me – the art therapist – a unique space to explore emotional distress and profound fears in relation to illness and the body. Art therapy offers young people in this setting the chance to reclaim their body, by finding a voice and telling their own story. In art making, using materials which themselves have a visceral quality, there is the possibility of constituting a more integrated sense of ‘self’, through an interweaving between mind and body.
Young people referred to the groups, present with a range of chronic and complex health conditions. They may have pain in their body, anxiety, stiffness, depression, hypermobile joints, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, scoliosis, dyspraxia, sensory processing difficulties, tics, lack of confidence, eating disorders or self harming behaviour.
Previously, I have developed individual and group art therapy in a range of settings including in a GP practice, Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre and in a hospital for adults with mental health problems in Brighton.
Art therapy can enable you to express your feelings and experiences, explore anxieties and develop confidence. Some issues are really painful or hard to talk about and using art materials can help to explore and express difficult feelings. You might get to know yourself better by starting to acknowledge that how you feel is both important and matters. Developing respect, value and compassion for your own experiences and Cultivating a better understanding of your internal world is part of the process of art therapy; fostering your self-awareness and personal growth.
Yoga and Art Therapy
In yoga we can use the physical posture as a container for an experience, to explore, or to get into the body (Kaminoff, L. & Matthews). In art therapy the art work is a container for an experience and we can use the art making to explore the internal landscape. Combining these practices of yoga and art therapy can support people that I work with to become more aware of their inner experience and learning by befriending what is going on inside themselves (Van der Kolk).
Yoga philosophy cultivates a sense of being with what is – honesty, acceptance non-grasping for achievement. Art making and yoga – together hold up a mirror, you can start to experience yourself here in the present moment with kindness and compassion. Integrating art therapy and yoga helps to bring the body back into the picture. These modalities can work together beautifully to circumvent an often over reliance on verbal communication and the thinking mind and to help balance disregulation. This can be particularly helpful for people affected by trauma and other psycho-social stressors.
My background: Children’s Rights and Youth Participation
I have worked for many years as a freelance consultant supporting organisations to develop young people’s participation; contributing to policy and decision-making and to have their say on a range of issues of importance. Organisations like the Hangleton and Knoll Project, Brighton and Hove Council Youth Service, UNICEF UK, Citizenship Foundation, Trust for the Study of Adolescence, Islington Pupil Parliament and the National Children’s Bureau.
I have a firm commitment to supporting young people to say what they want and need to say. I also recognise that a young person can’t necessarily just come out with this – they might need convincing that I am going to listen, respect what they have to say and take them seriously. Perhaps, that they even have something worth sharing at all.
Young people need support and encouragement to work out how they feel about life and themselves. To do this they need to be safe, not judged and have someone they can trust, who is genuinely interested and committed to listening.
Degree in Social Anthropology (University of Sussex)
MA in Applied Anthropology, Youth and Community Work (JNC) (Goldsmiths, University of London)
MA in Art Psychotherapy (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Art Foundation (City College, Brighton)
CPD regularly undertaken as a legal requirement for practicing as a HCPC registered Art Psychotherapist.
Yoga Therapy Foundation Module 1, British Wheel of Yoga accredited, with Judy Hirsh Sampath from Yoga United Education (60hrs). Focussing on the foundations of yoga therapy and my own self care and professional development. Tuning into the Body.
Yoga4Health, Yoga in Healthcare Alliance, with Heather Mason and Paul Fox (35hrs). The 10-Week Social Prescribing Course created for NHS patients, NHS staff, Keyworkers and other frontline staff. This Programme was uniquely created to lower stress and improve relaxation skills (thus improving mental health), and help people with prediabetes or at risk of heart disease.
Yoga and Somatics for Healing and Recovery: moving beyond stress, trauma, burnout, anxiety, fatigue and post illness through embodied awareness with Charlotte Watts (70hrs). This is an explorative journey to delve into how a compassionate and subtly attentive relationship with our bodies, practice and teaching can help address common dis-ease states. I love this work!
Art of Teaching 1-2-1 training with Kate Ellis (2 years). Developing skills and resources to work one-to-one with a particular focus on how yoga can become therapeutic. Drawing on insights from yoga, body psychotherapy and developmental movement, exploring how embodiment impacts our capacity for relationship whilst exploring the innate and profound intelligence of the body. It highlights how working in an embodied and relational way leads to working therapeutically.
Trauma Centre, Trauma Sensitive Yoga 20 hr Foundation Workshop with Alex Cat introducing the core concepts & applications of David Emerson’s highly regarded intervention for Complex Trauma – Trauma Centre, Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (Yoga Alliance accredited) with Universal Yoga.
Complete Yoga Alliance TeenYoga Teacher Training with Charlotta Martinus from TeenYoga; empowering teens through yoga and mindfulness and including the latest neuroscience, mindfulness research and disciplinary techniques.
Yoga for Neurodevelopmental Differences training (with Dr Lucy Clarke) introducing yoga and mindfulness for people with Autism and ADHD.
Getting Started Teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to Teens Special Yoga Foundation training.
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*** Art therapy is a statutorily regulated profession and in the United Kingdom only those persons who are appropriately qualified and registered by the Health and Care Professions Council (‘HCPC’) may legally describe themselves art therapists or art psychotherapists. These two titles are both protected by the HCPC and may be used inter-changeably.