Deborah Aita, Arts Psychotherapist.
Arts Psychotherapy does involve talking, just like traditional counselling or 'talking' therapies, but it is a psychological therapy that doesn't have to rely on words. It is a creative way of working that is really helpful for those who sometimes struggle to find words to describe their feelings and thoughts, but also for those who are very good at talking but who may tend to rationalise their emotions or rely on cognitive interpretations for what is going on for them.
If you think of the phrase 'a picture paints a thousand words' you may get a sense of how Arts Psychotherapy (or Arts Therapy as it is also called) works. Often a picture, or a story, can be seen as metaphorical so it has lots of layers of meaning. Think of traditional fairy stories and their layers of meaning. There are so many ways of working creatively and each person will do this is their own way. I will guide and support you to use your intuition so as to make connections that are important to you. You might use an object as a symbol or metaphor to think about a problem or you might express a feeling with a drawing or a movement; you could imagine you are a character from a story; read or write a poem.
No experience of the arts is necessary to benefit from arts psychotherapy because it is about expressing who you are and not about making something 'perfect'. The way you express yourself is individual to you and I will support you to access that individuality without judgement. Although many people say they're not creative I firmly believe we are all creative in our different ways because even basic functioning in the world requires creative thinking. I am able to support you to work with a wide range of media, or none, because this approach is as much about a way of thinking as it is about making and doing things.
There are common difficulties and symptoms that bring people to therapy, such as bereavement, anxiety, depression, family or relationship issues, addictions and low self esteem, but it is how these are experienced by you, as someone with a unique history, that is key to how you can recover from them. You may have been given a diagnostic label, such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, or PTSD, but it is your own personal experience that is important to understand so as to work towards change. I can support you to draw on your strengths through development of mindfulness practice which gives further tools to think around a problem and deepen your understanding of your Self.
There is a wealth of research evidence to show that arts psychotherapy is effective in treating the full range of psychological issues and symptoms, such as dissociation and psychosis, and in particular it is indicated for work with trauma. All trauma has a story but it can be very difficult for those who have experienced a traumatic past to remember or piece together their own particular story. Some stories seem too painful to acknowledge so we hide them, guard them not only from others but from ourselves. These hidden stories, or parts of stories, can control us, impacting on our way of living, affecting our relationships and behaviour, and we may feel powerless to change. Working safely and confidentially I support you to access your story, through metaphor and symbol, so that the stories that matter to you can be released from your unconscious and cease to control you.
Many people do not know what ails them and this is where Arts Psychotherapy can be so helpful because it works 'obliquely', coming sideways at a problem, utilising the non-rational, pre-verbal, limbic parts of the brain and what is sometimes called 'implicit memory', to find what the issues are. With ongoing developments in neuroscience we now know how important it is to access these parts of the brain in order to ensure long lasting healing. With a collaborative, creative, intuitive and spontaneous approach I offer tried and tested safe structures to support you to fully engage in the process of examining your life, behaviour and feelings, so that you can live your life more fully.
Do phone or email me if you have any further questions or if you would like to book for an introductory session to see if this approach, and my way of working, would suit you.
Training, qualifications & experience
After a long career in the arts I trained as a Dramatherapist at Roehampton University. This training is a Master's qualification and involves being on training placements and in personal therapy, as well as writing papers and extended projects, and a final dissertation. Dramatherapy is one of the three Arts Therapies recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (drama, art and music) and the required training is at the same level as other MA level psychological therapy trainings.
I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Arts Therapist and abide by their codes of conduct for safe and appropriate practice. I am also registered with the Information Communications Office (ICO) to ensure data protection. In order to keep my skills and knowledge up to date I attend regular ongoing professional development as well as monthly clinical supervision. I have presented papers and workshops at the conferences for the British Association of Dramatherapists and the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains.
My training placements were in adolescent secure units and a large mental health forensic hospital for adults, and my dissertation centred on the uses of role based interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia. I was employed for nine years as Lead Arts Psychotherapist at Weldmar Hospicecare, working with patients, family members and carers, both individually and in groups, pre- and post-bereavement, and supporting staff through clinical supervision. I now freelance for a number of organisations linked to local social work teams, including Chroma Therapies and the Foster Care Association. My private practice with young people and adults is based in Bournemouth.
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
£50 per one hour session