Just as you bring a complexity of experiences with you to your therapy, at TriBeCa Therapy our therapists and art therapists bring a diversity of not just clinical training but also life experiences—a history of pain and growth, love of yoga, a childhood struggling with learning disabilities, a passion for music—all of these are in the room. With art therapy, those passions are clear from the beginning and on offer in our NYC offices in Tribeca and Park Slope, Brooklyn, as well as remotely in teletherapy and video chat therapy.
In creative therapy, we make use of all of those experiences, yours and ours. Which is part of what makes art therapy a particularly exciting opportunity: First and last, what you need is a great therapist—someone who can help you make decisions, understand who you are, build better relationships, grow emotionally. Art therapists are psychotherapists trained to help you with all of these things, they just have a few more paintbrushes in their therapeutic toolkit.
What is art therapy?
Art therapy is an approach to therapy that features art among the many tools the therapist uses to support your growth. We say features art to capture the art therapist’s particular skill and training at using visual art. Creative arts therapy doesn’t just include the visual arts, however, it can also involve music therapy as well. Art therapists are good at talk therapy (and sometimes leave their paint brushes on the shelf) but they are also skilled at using art when talk reaches its limits. Art can be that challenge that takes you out of your head and helps you to be spontaneous and get to the root of things.
Art therapy is a way for you to learn, grow, and create the kind of life you want for yourself. Art therapy uses talking and art-making to help people understand themselves, improve communication and relationships, and inspire change. How often you make artwork or with what type of materials is something for you and your art therapist to decide together.
What should I expect when working with an art therapist at TriBeCa Therapy?
All therapists at TriBeCa Therapy will want to get to know you and construct a form of therapy with you that’s based on your needs, not just their interests. Maybe art has little or no place in the therapy for some time. What matters is you and a great therapist discovering the help together.
Do I have to be an artist to be in art therapy?
Nope. Whether you love art, hate it, or haven’t thought about it since the second grade, you can gain something from being in art therapy. In fact, people who don’t regularly make art can discover a creative side that be an outlet and make therapy that much more fun. Art-making can bring people outside of their comfort zone, which is a way to encourage growth.
Kids have a lot more going on than they can express with words. Art can be a wonderful starting point with a young person reluctant to open up, especially if there’s already an interest in art. Art therapy also brings a new set of tools to play, which is often the currency of therapy for small children. Art therapy can also be fun and can help reluctant kids enjoy and look forward to coming to therapy. Additionally, art promotes organizational skills, problem-solving, frustration tolerance, and other areas of growth.
Many of these same advantages apply in therapy with teens. Art is a useful alternative way of communicating thoughts and needs and feelings, as gives teens something tangible to create with the therapist as part of building a vital emotional relationship. The act of making art and having someone there to witness it can help teens feel “seen” and like someone understands their experience of the world.
So an art therapist will analyze and interpret my artwork?
No way! Making artwork in therapy can serve a lot of purposes but it is definitely not a tool for you to be analyzed. A lot of times, artists find meaning in their work and find the act of art-making in itself meaningful, but that is definitely not the point of art therapy. All sorts of feelings get expressed in whatever we create (conversations, relationships, sculptures) and those offerings become a part of the conversation we create together to help you grow your life.
What sort of training does an art therapist have? Will my insurance be accepted?
Art therapists are graduate-level clinicians with training in psychology, psychotherapy, and fine art. They complete internships and earn a license similar to the other disciplines that are licensed to practice therapy in New York State. Similar to teachers, social workers, and psychologists, art therapists have to attend an accredited Master’s program, provide supervised therapy after graduating, and pass a test before obtaining their license. They also are required to engage in continuing education in order to maintain their credentials. . Plenty of our patients with out-of-network coverage get reimbursement for their work with an art therapist and the process is nearly identical to getting reimbursement for any therapy offered in our office.
Just good therapy. Period.
Therapists love debating questions of method. The psychoanalysts debate the centrality of the drive function; Cognitive Behavioral Therapists challenge Rational Emotional Behavioral Therapists over the role of reason in the clinical encounter. While these conversations have a place, they often miss the mark relative to what matters most to you: finding a skilled therapist with whom to work on growing your life. While art therapy is a passion with some therapists in our offices in Tribeca and Park Slope, what always leads in our work is the question not of what modality is best but of what organization of the therapy is right for you, to help you with your pain to grow your life.