Deborah Aita, Arts Psychotherapist.
You may not have come across ARTS PSYCHOTHERAPY before so let me tell you how it works. It involves talking, just like traditional 'talking' therapies, but it also mixes the talking with 'doing' so that we don't have to rely on words. This is a way of working that is really helpful, both for those who struggle to find the words to describe their feelings and thoughts, and also for those who are really good at talking and may tend to rationalise their emotions with lots of words. If you think of the phrase 'a picture paints a thousand words' you may get a sense of how arts psychotherapy works. The 'picture' might be a story or an object but the idea is that we get an image in our heads that says more than a thousand words might.
So the doing bit of arts psychotherapy is mainly about using creative thinking and imagination, utilising different parts of the brain to make connections to give those 'aha!' moments that might take longer to occur to us if we only rely on talking. We might use objects to help you think about a problem visually or we might use a story to help you think metaphorically. You might draw or describe an image; we might imagine we are characters in a story or people from your life; you might read or write a poem to express a feeling or experience. There are many ways of working creatively and each person will respond differently in their own way. Part of my job is to be sensitive to what might work for you, what will suit your own unique personality.
Each person's experience of life is individual to them so although there are some common difficulties that bring people to therapy, such as anxiety or depression, it is how these are experienced by you that is key to how you can recover from them. You may have been given a label for how you feel, such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder or Bipolar Disorder. You may feel confused, hopeless, angry, sad, unable to make changes or live your life to the full. You may be suffering a bereavement or relationship difficulties, or you may be struggling to make a transition in your life. Sometimes issues from the past arise in the present and this can be very troubling and may even trigger strange reactions to seemingly ordinary events. There is plenty of research evidence to show that the arts psychotherapies are effective in treating the full range of issues that bring people to therapy, and in particular they are indicated for work with trauma.
We all need to be able to tell our stories, to say who we are, but sometimes we hide aspects of our most important stories, not only from others but from ourselves, within our unconscious, because they are too painful to acknowledge. 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 imagination, through metaphor and symbol, so that the stories that matter to you can be released from your unconscious and cease to control you.
But 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. Alongside 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.
No experience of the arts is necessary to make use of arts psychotherapy because this therapy is about expressing yourself not about making something perfect. The way you express yourself will be individual to you. 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 draw on your strengths so that you can think around a problem and deepen your understanding of your self to facilitate long lasting and helpful change.
Training, qualifications & experience
After a long career in the arts I trained as a Dramatherapist at Roehampton University. This post-graduate training is similar to other modalities of psychological therapy training and involves placements within professional organisations and a requirement for ongoing personal therapy as well as theoretical and practical training and assessments. My placements were in adolescent secure units and a large mental health forensic hospital, and my final dissertation centred on the uses of role based interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia.
I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and abide by their codes of conduct to ensure safe and appropriate practice, confidentiality, and continuing professional development. I have presented papers and workshops at the conferences for the British Association of Dramatherapists and the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains. I was employed for nine years as Lead Arts Psychotherapist at Weldmar Hospicecare, working with patients, family members (including children and young people) and carers, both individually and in groups, as well as supporting staff through clinical supervision. I now freelance for a number of organisations, including the Foster Care Association and Southampton Adoption Services, and my private practice is based near the centre of Bournemouth.
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Attachment disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Child related issues
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pregnancy and birth
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Photos & videos
£50 per one hour session
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
Please email or phone for availability
Types of client