Ellie Smale, MA, PG Dip, HCPC reg. Arts Psychotherapist
Sometimes it’s hard to find the words. Sometimes thoughts, feelings and actions leave us confused and feeling stuck. I am a qualified art therapist based in Sheffield and I offer a safe, confidential space in which, together, we can begin to make sense of experience and find a way forward.
Is my therapy right for you?
There are many types of psychotherapy, yet studies have shown that no one approach is more successful than any other. Studies do show that it is the quality of the relationship between a therapist and client that actually creates the space for healing. So I offer myself, not a blank screen, to work with you on the issues that bring you to therapy. With this in mind, I draw on different types of therapy that suit individuals but above all else we work together in a relationship of trust and respect. It is not true that in therapy you must talk about the past, and we will work in ways that respect your history and your relationship to it.
You may have a clear idea about why you are coming to therapy, or you may not. You might have a diagnosis that has left you feeling any number of ways; you may feel frustrated or confused by your own behaviour or how you feel; there may be events from your past that ‘won’t leave you alone’; you may find that history seems to repeat itself.
Whatever brings you to seek therapy, our work will be unique. Yet with genuine curiosity and compassion I commit to offering a safe and non-judgemental space. The therapy I offer makes space for creativity but there is no expectation for you to be artistic, or even to make art. Most people I work with haven’t touched art since early childhood and yet they find that thinking creatively together can unlock resources they didn’t know they had. Many people find making art can be relaxing, sometimes even a distraction from talking. Some people tell me that it was helpful to have a ‘third’ thing in the relationship which made the work of therapy easier.
What is art therapy?
"Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain", C. Jung.
Creative expression tends to bypass the 'thinking mind', giving form to what needs to emerge. Creating and reflecting on art work together often offers faster resolution where talking alone might not.
We all grow up in a society where expressing our embodied feelings is complicated, often not allowed. A life of shutting away these angers, joys, shames and fears away means that when they leak out in our feelings and behaviours, we often have no idea where they came from. When our 'locked away' feelings and memories are welcomed into the safe space of therapy we can understand them, and as we understand them they often transform, freeing us of the unconscious effect they once had.
Art therapy is not about making ‘good art’.
Art therapy is not an art lesson.
An art therapist will not analyse or interpret art work.
Art is used for expression, and an art therapist will be curious with you about what your art communicates to you. By slowing down and focusing our attention we are often able to sense and express the stories and emotions our bodies hold. I believe that each person is the expert on themselves and that art therapy can access inner wisdom that can make sense of, integrate and heal what is needed.
I find that the art of writing often accompanies visual art, and I sometimes encourage clients to respond to their art with free writing. The poetry that emerges often deepens and clarifies the therapy.
I am a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (www.BAAT.org) who have further information on their website if your interested. All art therapists work differently so you are uncertain please drop me a line by email or by phone. I am always happy to talk about what I do and whether my way of working could suit your needs.
How many times/how long would we meet?
I offer short and long-term therapy. This is something we can work out together and will depend on the work you want to do. It can be beneficial to review how therapy is going and we can assess this at any time, although every six weeks can be a good guide especially early on.
How do we get started?
If you're interested in starting therapy with me, we will speak on the phone or via email to arrange an initial meeting. Our first meeting will be an informal assessment and is a chance for us to think about how therapy may work, and for you to ask me questions about me and the therapy I offer. We will have the chance to talk about what brings you to therapy, what you are hoping for, or what worries you.
This initial meeting is free of charge and will last about 30 mins.
The normal cost of therapy is £45 for 60 mins.
What do you need to know?
- I am qualified to practice Arts Psychotherapy with a Masters and an Advanced Diploma in Arts Psychotherapy.
- I am registered with the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and adhere to their safeguarding and ethics frameworks for good practice
- I am a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) and adhere to their guidelines for ethic and good practice.
- I have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
- I am fully committed to Continued Professional Development (CPD) and have regular Supervision.
- I have experience working with people who suffer from:
anorexia nervosa - bulimia - anxiety - dissociation and dissociative seizures - depression - those affected by cancer - trauma, and those with PTSD symptoms - those affected by stroke and cognitive impairment - 'borderline personality' diagnosis symptoms - 'Dissociative Identity Disorder' (DID) symptoms - vulnerable children and young people - grief and bereavement
I do not get hung up on diagnoses but understand they mean different things to different people. I approach each person's symptoms as a valid response to life experience, not a 'disorder to be fixed'. I believe it is possible to face our symptoms, to understand them and to move toward a life free of them.
A bit about me
After working backstage in theatre & film and as an artist's technician I got a job helping young people make art at a children's charity. What I witnessed blew my mind and sparked my interest in the therapeutic potential of creativity.
I saw young people create things of profound beauty when all they had known was anger and ugliness; I witnessed children express what had been inexpressible trauma; I witnessed art give young people a voice to tell their story to their community.
I enrolled on an Advanced Post Grad.Diploma in Art Therapy and began my own journey of discovery. My encounters with art through the lens of psychology took me into a whole new relation with myself. Art became a means of telling my story to me and I began to meet my Self.
During the interim years I've worked with many clients, from older adults to very young children. I gained a Masters in Art Psychotherapy Practice and find creativity to be a base to the therapy I offer although I adopt other theories that help shape and understand the process. I am always learning and could never have guessed that becoming a mum would be one of my biggest life lessons. I recognise the handicaps that millions suffer under this country's unspoken structural injustice. I fight for empowerment and equality wherever I can and I see that mental health is under strain from the modern politics.
In my therapy I pull together life lessons as well as my professional training. I know that the body remembers, and that compassion and curiosity, along with a little courage and creativity, are the tools that help our bodies tell us our stories, that we understand and may begin to live in accordance with our Self, rather than our past.
Please do drop me a line if you think my may of working may work for you:
Ellie Smale Art Therapy: 0114 383 0203. Email: email@example.com
Training, qualifications & experience
- Masters - with distinction - Arts Psychotherapy Practice - Arts Therapy Northern Program, Sheffield
- Advanced Diploma - Integrative Arts Psychotherapy - The Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education (IATE), London
- Fundamentals in Psychosynthesis - The Institute of Psychosynthesis - London
- Ba (hons) Technical Arts and Special Effects. University of the Arts, London.
Play therapy, Sandtray therapy, Clayfield therapy, Hakomi therapy, Somatic Internal Family Systems therapy, working in clinical practice with DID, working in clinical practice with ME and fibromyalgia.
- Cavendish Cancer Care, Sheffield: Art Psychotherapist in the Young people's service.
- Providing One to one Art Psychotherapy to young people through the Adoption Support Fund.
- Share Psychotherapy, Sheffield: Art Psychotherapist with adults.
- Sheffield Eating Disorder Service: Art psychotherapist adults, 16 yrs +.
- Kids Company, London: therapeutic arts facilitator, children 4 yrs+ and young adults.
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
Dissociation disorders. Dissociation identity disorder (DID).
Initial assessment/meeting FREE; 30 mins.
Usual fees £45 for 60 mins.
Evening sessions will be charged at £55 for 60 mins.
Limited reduced rates available for low income; please ask.