The arts therapies provided by West London NHS Trust are Art Therapy, Dramatherapy and Music Therapy.
The arts therapies employ the creative arts to facilitate the expression of thoughts and feelings, reflection and communication with others. This is done in weekly group and one to one sessions in the context of a boundaried therapeutic relationship and setting.
Sometimes words are hard to find for complex or painful experiences. In such circumstances the arts can provide creative means of expression and of making connections. They can enable us to find a way forward in understanding ourselves, relating to others, gaining confidence and making positive changes in our lives.
We also aim to promote general wellbeing through the arts and to help service users connect with mainstream arts activities in the community.
Arts Therapists complete an MA level training and are registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Making images and experimenting with art materials can help people to express a wide range of thoughts, feelings and experiences that are hard to find words for.
No previous art experience or skill is needed in art therapy; artwork can take many forms and can help you to communicate about emotions, thoughts, relationships and life experiences. It can also stimulate your imagination, increase your self-awareness and sense of autonomy and help you connect with others. The therapy process aims to help you develop your insight into your strengths and any issues that may be making it difficult to cope with everyday life.
Art Therapy sessions are not art classes. However, for some people they can be a supportive context for developing their art work. People frequently wish to keep their art work confidential but if people wish to work towards exhibiting work we can offer support with this.
Dramatherapy can help you think about your feelings and experiences as well as your relationships with others. In Dramatherapy you can either work with a Dramatherapist individually or as part of a group.
Dramatherapists use a range of techniques that are carefully selected to enable you to be creative and imaginative and to get in touch with issues going on in your life. These techniques include:
- Art work
- Voice work
In any session you will be able to choose how much you get involved with the active part of the work. You do not need any drama skills or previous experience of drama to engage with this therapy. The therapist will be sensitive to your needs and level of confidence.
Music Therapy offers an opportunity to explore and share feelings and emotions which may be difficult to express in words. Exploring aspects of ourselves and our relationships with others can be easier when playing and making up music with a therapist.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of playing the instruments and no previous musical training is required. If you have a desire to interact with others in a creative and non-verbal way and a willingness to reflect on positive and negative life experiences, music therapy may be the right treatment for you.
A wide range of musical instruments is available and a typical session will involve creating musical sounds and talking about the thoughts and feelings arising from the experience. For some people this can be a more manageable approach to thinking about difficult issues.
Music therapy can also offer:
- Relief from feelings of isolation, detachment and frustration
- A space to think about the challenges of coping with mental health problems
- A creative outlet for overwhelming or confusing emotions
- A supportive environment to help with the difficulties and challenges of being in hospital and living in the community
- The potential to develop insight in order to reduce the possibility of relapse
- A safe space in which to explore and develop self-expression and communication in a way which feels comfortable and safe for you
- An opportunity to develop motivation and improve confidence and self-esteem
*The service at this site has been suspended temporarily. Please phone Lakeside MHU instead.
St Bernard's Site
Hammersmith & Fulham
Tel: 020 7368 1173/1169
*Lakeside Mental Health Unit
West Middlesex University Hospital Site