Ways in which Nikki holds space:
Feminist: an integrative approach to psychotherapy that focuses on gender and the particular challenges and stressors that women/feme-identified folks face as a result of bias, stereotyping, oppression, discrimination, and other factors that threaten their mental health and wellness. Therapists using a feminist approach are intentionally aware of power dynamics inherent in the therapeutic relationship, and actively strive to diminish the imbalances and resulting harm they can cause. They also work to be as authentic and transparent as possible, while keeping good therapeutic boundaries. Nikki strives to hold space in alignment to the Feminist Code of Ethics.
Anti-oppressive: An approach that seeks to recognize the systemic oppression that exists in our society; within the therapeutic relationship, the therapist works to mitigate the affects by validating the lived experience of folks who suffer systemic oppression; by removing/resisting pathologizing the symptoms of being an oppressed human; and by working to be conscious and transparent around the use of power in the therapeutic process, transferring as much as possible back to the client to make informed choices.
Person/Client-Centered: An approach that believes the client has the innate capacity to guide their own growth and healing; that they are the expert of their lived experience, and that they are the primary agent of change. The therapist attempts to create an environment of safety and trust in which personal growth can occur for the client.
Relational: An approach where the emphasis is on the relationships within the therapeutic process and reflects on the nature of relational connections with the Self, others, art process/product, the Earth, the world, and socio-political contexts. This approach recognizes that all humans are in relationship with themselves and the outer world, and that healthy relationships are a primary need for the human animal for wellness. Nikki includes the animist relational framework, where other-than-human persons are welcomed and seen for the opportunities of deep relational intimacies they offer, in which clients may engage.
Spiritually integrated: Spiritually integrated psychotherapy is an approach that addresses the spirituality of the client, the spirituality of the therapist, and the process of change. Through spiritually integrated psychotherapy, people can draw from psychological, religious and spiritual perspectives to create and sustain a meaningful purpose in life. Spiritually integrated psychotherapy draws on the resources of a variety of traditions, depending on the needs of the particular client.
Trauma Informed: Trauma informed healing is based in the awareness of the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social impact of trauma on a human’s life. This approach helps to shift our focus from ‘what is wrong with me’ to ‘what happened to me’. Trauma informed care is a wholistic approach guided by the importance of creating safety and establishing a secure, trusting, collaborative therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist.
Wholism: a natural evolution of the term ‘holism’; the opposite of reductionism, wholism is intentionally used to emphasize the ‘wholeness’ of something, including all the nuances and complexity of context.
All of these approaches and lenses work together in an aligned, integrated manner.
ART THERAPY FAQ
Who is Art Therapy for?
Art therapy benefits both adults and children in a wide range of settings including mental health, education, special needs, healthcare, community and social services, as well as through private practice.
Do I have to be good at art or have art experience?
No. Art therapy is not an art class and no artistic technique knowledge or experience is necessary. There is no wrong way to do art in art therapy! In an art therapy session the emphasis is placed upon expressing internal material outwards, and not placed on the finished art object.
Will the Art Therapist interpret my art or tell me what it means?
No. Each image holds meaning that is unique and personal to its creator and therefore, it is more beneficial for the therapist to explore the image with the client and allow them to arrive at their own personal understanding of its meaning and significance.
How long do I have to participate in sessions?
The length of time a client sees a therapist depends on each individual. Some clients meet their goals for therapy in a couple of sessions, whilst others may need longer, or on-going exploration and emotional support, depending on their circumstances and needs.
What training and professional qualifications are required to be an Art Therapist?
To become a member of the Canadian Art Therapy Association, Art therapists must complete a postgraduate training program at a recognized learning institution. This includes a minimum number of supervised clinical hours and personal therapy, as well as theoretical and experiential learning. Art therapists should be registered with their professional association who govern and uphold standards and ethics of the profession.
To become a Registered Canadian Art Therapist, (RCAT), a practicing Art Therapist must complete 1000 hours supervised by an RCAT after graduation. To remain in accordance with the ethics and standards of practice of their professional body, Art Therapists must continue to seek regular supervision and professional development.
To learn more, visit the CATA website!
Brief History of Art Therapy
Humans have always used art as a way of communicating and as a foundation element in creating healing ceremonies. Image is the language of the psyche, and art was our very first language as humans. Before we spoke, we made marks.
The term art therapy was first used in Britain and the United States during the post World War II rehabilitation movement, when it was recognized that art-making enhanced recovery, health and wellness. Many early 20th century psychiatrists and educators became interested in the artwork created by their patients, who then pioneered the role of art used in a professional therapeutic manner. In the 1960s, recognition of Art Therapy as an allied healthcare profession was attained after professional training standards came into being.
Art therapy draws and weaves threads from psychoanalytical thinking, developmental psychology, psychotherapy, and art expression. It also rests upon a foundation of cultural and traditional ritual elements in the way it is facilitated.