Andrew Phillips - HCPC registered Art Psychotherapist
I am offering face to face appointments at TIME Counseling and Wellbeing Centre, Risca (Newport 15 minutes, Cardiff 25 minutes). All those working at TIME are adhering to the current government Covid-19 guidelines, for the safety of yourselves and the therapists.
I am also available for online sessions using Zoom, for those who would prefer to work in this way.
Please feel welcome to send me a message if you have any questions, or would like to arrange an introductory session. Further down this page you can find out about what the therapy sessions are like, and how I work with clients.
I am an Art Psychotherapist and visual artist, with over ten years experience of working with children, young people, and adults of all ages, in the field of mental health and social care. I am a qualified and registered practitioner with the regulatory body — the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) — and abide by the required ethical standards and code of conduct. I hold professional indemnity insurance, and receive regular clinical supervision from a highly experienced therapist.
Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses the process of making art alongside the therapeutic relationship, to help explore and work through emotional, or behavioural problems, and other challenging circumstances that may be causing difficulty in your life. In addition to engaging with what is felt to be problematic, it is important that the therapy also brings into focus the things that you find inspiring, interesting, motivating, and what you would consider to be your best talents, skills, or qualities. These aspects can become obscured if experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or when faced with problems that seem to consume all of our attention.
The process does not require any previous experience of using art materials, and there is no requirement that you engage with the materials during a session, you may prefer just to talk. The nature of the therapy places emphasis upon freedom of expression and communication, rather than whether or not something is deemed to be a 'good' piece of art, or visually appealing. I work with a compassionate and non-judgemental approach, and utilise my own experience of both the therapeutic and creative processes to support your own discovery of the healing potential within art making.
Creating art images in this safe and supportive environment is a way to tell your story, whatever culture you come from, to be listened to carefully, with no assumptions being made in relation to your past or present. Although the nature of the work means that it may be difficult at times, the sessions can also be good humoured and enjoyable.
Training, qualifications & experience
- MA Art Psychotherapy, Goldsmiths College, University of London
- Ba(Hons) 1st Class, Fine Art, University of South Wales.
During my career spanning over ten years, I have worked as an Art Psychotherapist in an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, in addition to other roles in adult NHS mental health services. I have also managed an accommodation for young adults classed as vulnerable in partnership with a local authority and worked within a residential adult mental health service in the private sector.
Within this range of experience, I have helped people experiencing difficulties and challenging circumstances including; low mood, depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation, problems within families and relationships, grief and loss, issues around food and eating, psychosis, paranoia, children in and leaving care, homelessness, abuse, addiction and drug use, sexuality and gender, illness and physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism.
In addition, I have seven years of experience as a client in psychotherapy, with several different therapists. This means that I am familiar with what it might be like to seek the services of a therapist and to engage in the therapeutic process from that perspective. It is a requirement for art psychotherapist’s to have been in therapy throughout the duration of the training, and I also sought this out prior to, and after my studies, because in addition to being beneficial for mental wellbeing, I found psychotherapy to be an enriching way of engaging with the unconscious, art and symbols, history, myth, and spirituality.
I continue to work as an artist, where my mixed media painting and drawing practice focuses upon reverence for Nature through a sense of 'inner landscape'. I have exhibited work in various exhibitions and publications, and in 2019 was elected a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists.
Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
Health and Care Professions Council
The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.
They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.
Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
- Introductory session, short-term and ongoing work.
- £45 per hour - weekdays before 5:30pm
- £50 per hour - 5:30pm onwards and weekends
- Concessions available.
- Discount is given when booking and paying in advance for a block of 6 sessions.
Concessions offered for
What is Art Psychotherapy?
Art Psychotherapy (or Art Therapy, the terms are interchangeable), is a form of psychotherapy that utilises art materials to create images or objects alongside the therapeutic relationship. No experience of making art is required because the emphasis is on using the materials in an expressive and explorative manner, as a means of communication, rather than to make something which is pleasing to the eye. Art therapy is not a linear process whereby the client makes an image and the therapist then reveals what it means. The role of the therapist is about enquiring into what has been made and enabling the client to achieve greater insight about the meaning embodied by the images or objects.
In contrast to other therapies, relationship in art therapy happens in three ways — between the therapist, client, and the art image or object. Although created by the client, the art object exists independently, and although both client and therapist will be witnessing the same work, it will be experienced differently. This process can create possibilities for exploring and changing how the client relates to themselves, their thoughts, and emotions.
As an art therapist, my work is informed and underpinned by various theoretical positions such as psychodynamic theory, attachment theory, analytical psychology, and transpersonal considerations. I am also informed (and inspired) by art itself, the work and lives of artists, and the creative capacity which is present in all.
Art therapy is confidential, and there are important boundaries that contain the therapeutic work and enable the client-therapist relationship to be based on mutual trust and respect.
Who is Art Psychotherapy for?
Art therapy is a versatile therapy, suitable for children, young people, and adults of all ages. Although talking is a key element of the therapeutic work, art therapy can be particularly useful for those who may find it hard to verbalise their feelings.
The types of concerns that bring people to see an art therapist vary widely but include; emotional distress, mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, bereavement, stress, addictions, difficulty forming or maintaining relationships, loneliness, ill health, major life events and changes.
Sometimes there is no clear issue to address, but a persistent sense of stuckness, generally finding that life is very challenging at present, or feelings of hopelessness. Art Psychotherapy can be a deep and powerful way to connect with inner resources, harness the creative instinct, and move towards a greater sense of purpose in life.
For people who already have some form of creative or artistic practice, art psychotherapy can provide an alternative angle from which to glean new insights about what you create, why you do so, and work through any blocks and obstructions which may be holding you back.
Everyone who comes to see me is treated with care and respect and met as a whole person, not as merely a label, diagnosis, or collection of problems. The work of therapy is often about rediscovering or imagining anew the greater whole of the person, beyond the presenting problems (but not ignoring them), even when the challenges may seem overwhelming.
What are the therapy sessions like?
We begin with an introductory session where we can have a conversation about why you are considering art therapy, what your hopes and expectations of engaging in therapy are, and you can ask me any questions you might have regarding the sessions or the process of art therapy. I will inform you about how I work, and any practicalities you need to be aware of. I will also explain about the therapeutic boundaries which exist for the safety and well being of both parties, and are necessary for the proper functioning of the therapy work, such as confidentiality, and right relationship between therapist and client.
Usually therapy sessions are held once per week, and we would try to keep to a regular day and time when possible, using the same room at the centre. The length of the session is usually one hour, although longer sessions can be arranged if desired. At the start of each session there is usually a period of ‘checking in,’ but you are free to decide what course the session takes in terms of where to sit, whether to talk, use the art materials, or a combination of both. The art materials will be provided, so you do not need to bring your own. These are available for you to use at all times during the session. Although their use is encouraged and supported, there is no pressure to do so, and you will be able to go at your own pace. The prospect of using the art materials can sometimes feel daunting, especially if this is not something you are familiar with. Art making may be something that is worked towards, rather than done from the outset.
Any work made during the therapy sessions remains your property, however it is usually encouraged that the work will remain in the therapy room, or otherwise in the safe and confidential keeping of the therapist, until work together is ending. This is because the work is very much the physical contents of the therapy session itself. There may be occasions when you wish to take work away with you, and it can sometimes be useful to consider how appropriate sharing of what you have made with others could be beneficial for you.
In each session you have the freedom to decide what materials you use, and what you make. There are not set exercises or activities to complete, and the only ‘rules’ as such will be around safe and appropriate use of the materials and space. With children and young people the element of play is of more central importance, and I might be more engaged in working with or alongside the child at times. The freedom to play and explore is still of importance in adulthood, humour can also be an effective therapeutic tool, and although they may sometimes be difficult, the sessions are also open to the possibility of being fun and enjoyable.
Careful consideration is given to the ending of therapy, and it is always encouraged that clients, and especially parents of children, will discuss thoughts around ending ongoing therapeutic work as they arise. The process of concluding therapy can stir the wider emotions around endings in life, and these can be brought into the therapeutic work itself, as we work towards a planned, and satisfactory conclusion.