8 things you need to know about art therapy

“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way…things I had no words for”

 Georgia O’Keeffe

I have recently joined Alzheimer Scotland, @alzscot in the new role of Allied Health Professions Practice Education Facilitator and will tweet about what I am doing.  I will also do a follow up blog in three months on the day in the life of an Alzheimer Scotland allied health professional practice education facilitator. My own professional background however is in art therapy. I thought you would like to know a little about art therapy?

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8 things you need to know about art therapy

1. Art Therapist and Art Psychotherapist are interchangeable protected titles. All UK practicing art therapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. (to check your art therapist is registered, follow this link http://www.hcpc-uk.org/check/)

2. Art therapy is suitable for young and old alike. Making art work can be a powerful means of expression and exploration throughout the life journey.

3. Thankfully, you don’t have to be good at art to take part. Sometimes the process is far more important than the product.

4. Art Therapy can take place in groups or individually. Privacy and confidentiality can be very important as sessions may focus on quite personal thoughts and feelings.

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5. Art therapy can be playful and enjoyable too. Art therapists will work with participants over a number of weeks, getting to know the person and discovering what will work best for each individual.

6. The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) celebrated its 50th birthday last year. Happy Birthday BAAT! http://www.baat.org/

7. Art therapy training has been available in Scotland since 1992 and now exists in the form of an MSc in Art Psychotherapy (International) at Queen Margaret University. New exciting music therapy-art therapy collaboration afoot…. Watch this space!

8. All trainee art therapists attend weekly supervision and also their own personal therapy, an opportunity to gain increased self awareness alongside experience of receiving therapy.

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We are keen to hear more about what works best for people living with dementia. Has art helped you or someone you know?  Perhaps you would like to share your stories about what was useful. We would love to see some pictures of your artwork too, so feel free to post some photos if you fancy!

I look forward to our conversations and can be contacted at Twitter: @adrienneahpmh Email:  AMcDermid-Thomas@alzscot.org



Adrienne McDermid-Thomas – Alzheimer Scotland AHP Practice Education Facilitator


My role is to build on a programme of work of developing AHP student practice placements, an AHP internship programme and AHP volunteer opportunities in Alzheimer Scotland supporting the aspiration that all allied health professional students are skilled in dementia care on graduation.  I have had some really positive experiences of joint AHP working in the past and am very much looking forward to this further opportunity to work together with AHP colleagues and Alzheimer Scotland to develop ways of working which are sustainable and best suited to meeting the needs of people living with dementia and their carers and families.

7 thoughts on “8 things you need to know about art therapy

  1. Thanks Adrienne ! That was a very interesting blog about your role within Alz Scotland, as well as your professional background in Art Therapy. I am looking forward to more joint working with Art Therapy colleagues as I am aware the potential to assist some individuals to express and come to terms with feelings in a different way are immense, especially when there are emotional or physical communication barriers.

  2. Thank you Pasna. Yes, the arts and arts therapies can be so helpful in the way you describe. I am really excited about building upon our contribution to improving the lives of people affected by dementia. I recently worked alongside an Occupational Therapist to provide a community based group for patients leaving hospital and returning to the community. Working together to find a way to blend what we do was an interesting and creative process. I think there is much potential to be gained from coming together to work jointly in this way.


  3. Pingback: A, B, C – Art, bubbles, carers | weeklyblogclub

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