We are fortunate enough to walk closely with and have a huge respect for Kirsty Strong, a Registered Art Therapist who has done her masters focusing on FASD (feotal alcohol spectrum disorder). She works with a range of people and connects so well with young people of all ages.
Arts therapy utilises creativity through visual art making, drama, and movement, within a therapeutic relationship to improve and inform physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Arts Therapy is a relationship-focused and holistic approach that acknowledges connections between mind, body and spirit. This philosophy aligns with the four sided construct of Te Whare Tapa Wha, defining Māori wellbeing as the balance between spirituality, intellect and emotions, the human body and human relationships.
Arts therapies differ from traditional art-making or performance in that the emphasis is on the process of creating and meaning-making, rather than the end product.
Arts therapy can help people to resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and achieve insight.
Art and arts therapy can encourage individuals and groups to:
- Reconcile emotional conflicts
- Develop interpersonal skills
- Manage behaviour
- Reduce anxiety
- Achieve insight and to create meaning
- Strengthen learning skills and improve cognitive functioning
- Develop skills to manage impulsivity
- Increase the sense of wellbeing
- Engage all senses through art making
- Increase communication skills, particularly for those who are unable to express themselves in ‘talk therapy’ alone.
- Assist in the externalizing complex feelings
- Emotional regulation, recognition, and literacy
- Learn calming, self-soothing, coping, and relaxation strategies
- Build and learn healthy socialization and relational skills
- Reduce trauma symptoms such as hyper-arousal
- Increase ability to focus
- Develop and strengthening of self-esteem
- Develop and strengthening of identity
- Tap into implicit memory and externalization of memory(s)
ESYT have been able to see Kirsty work with both groups and individuals and are very thankful for this connection. We recommend her highly and plan to utilise her more in the year ahead.