Art Therapy.

  • Combines the use of creative, artistic and imaginative process to facilitate change and healing with psychotherapy methods.
  • Focuses on the visual arts and uses materials associated with it such as paint, chalks, clay, paper, charcoal, inks, images for collage as well as digital media.
  • Based in the tradition of psychology.
  • Attention is paid to the nonverbal expression of thoughts and feelings through symbols and metaphors.
  • Can be used in conjunction with talk therapy.

Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy.

  • Brings the intentional focus of the present moment to the process of art making.
  • Individuals notice their emotions, thoughts and sensations while they engage in art making with a non-judgmental and self-compassionate attitude.
  • Entices our mind to go beneath the clutter of thoughts and emotions that obscure our view of the world by engaging in a sensory-laden experience of what you can see, feel, hear and smell.
  • Can be utilized as a way to manage stress, emotional dysregulation and anxiety on its own or in conjunction with any art therapy directive.
  • A mindful stance with help to notice, accept and let go of the often strong automatic self-judgements around not having artistic talent or having talent but not being perfect enough when engaging in art making.
  • Can be used in conjunction with other talk therapy approaches easily.
  • Emerging evidence-based meaning there is a growing body of research demonstrating its effectiveness.

Expressive Arts Therapy.

  • Uses creative, artistic and imaginative process to facilitate change.
  • Art making within the therapeutic relationship is considered innately healing.
  • Uses all of the arts including (but not limited to) visual art, music, poetry, storytelling, dance/movement and theatre with individuals, groups and communities.
  • Based in the tradition of the arts.
  • Differentiated from other arts therapies by the focus on skillfully transitioning from one art form to another in a cohesive and sensitive manner.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

  • Cognitive refers to what and how we think.
  • Behavioural refers to what we do.
  • The central idea is that how we think about an event or situation has a powerful effect on our feelings, behaviours/actions and physical responses. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all connected.
  • Change the way you think about something and it will change how you feel and behave. CBT also challenges the beliefs you hold that underlie certain unhelpful thought patterns.
  • The most widely researched method of therapy.
  • Particular skills are taught which need to be practiced outside session. Therapist as teacher and coach to assist you in developing more healthy ways of coping and thinking.
  • Often used as an adjunct therapy with other approaches including art therapy.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

  • Originally developed to treat individuals suffering from recurrent depression to prevent relapse.
  • Combines the content from cognitive behaviour therapy with the skills learned through mindfulness practice.
  • Helps individuals recognize their habitual thought patterns and relate to them in a different, healthier way.
  • Is now also used with anxiety disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Can be used with art therapy.
  • Evidence-based meaning there is substantial research verifying its effectiveness.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

  • Developed by Marsha Linehan for individuals:
    • struggling with chronic suicidal thoughts, feelings and self-harming behaviours,
    • struggling with intense emotional swings including recurrent depression,
    • with no clear sense of self, or trust in experiences of self,
    • with a sense of emptiness,
    • with problems in relationships.
  • Teaches coping skills that assist with regulating emotions, managing impulsive behaviours and tolerating distress, improving interpersonal effectiveness, and being present with whatever thoughts and feelings you are having without reacting impulsively.
  • DBT is a full program which offers a specific protocol combining weekly individual, group and coaching sessions delivered by a DBT trained team.
  • These skills can pulled out of the program and used as an effective part of treatment on their own in conjunction with other approaches including art therapy.
  • Evidence-based meaning there is substantial research verifying its effectiveness.


  • Originated in Buddhist meditation practice and is now an accepted part of western psychotherapy approaches including DBT and CBT.
  • Based on two components:
    • Intentional focus on the experience of the present moment by being aware of and observing our thoughts, feelings and physical responses as they occur in the moment.
    • Experiential in nature. Demonstrating a non-judgemental, accepting, and compassionate perspective towards all of our thoughts, feelings, urges and bodily sensations.
  • Can include both a formal meditation practice as well as daily skills to be practiced in the moment.
  • Core intention of learning mindfulness skills is to decrease personal suffering.
  • Can (and should be) a component of all treatment methods including art therapy.
  • Emerging base of evidence demonstrates its effectiveness.

Solution-Focussed Brief Therapy.

  • Focuses on the present and future.
  • Goal directed. Goals are developed together between client and therapist.
  • Discusses solutions rather than dwelling on problems.
  • Is a leading approach in brief therapy (under 6 sessions).
  • Emerging research on effectiveness looks promising.
  • Techniques can be separated or used in conjunction with other talk therapy approaches or with art therapy.

Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SE).

  • Aims at resolving symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as other psychological or physical trauma- related illnesses by working with the sensations in the body.
  • For more detailed information please follow this link to the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute's website.
  • Emerging evidence base demonstrating effectiveness.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).

  • Treatment originally developed to treat trauma-related symptoms and has now been expanded to include many other mental health issues that individuals find distressing.
  • This method has been extensively research and has a proven evidence base of effectiveness.
  • For more information please visit the EMDR International Association website here.