What to expect
If you’re thinking about becoming a client of a Somatic Art Therapist, this short description will acquaint you with the method and what you may experience.
Those who visit the Cyndi Gray Art Therapy studio will first orient themselves with the reception area, the therapy dogs and then the studio space at which time they will also meet Cyndi. The process of art therapy and how it works is an important concept and one that is discussed in the initial stages. Materials, media, limits of confidentiality and an understanding of how the approach may work is also explored. Cyndi explains how, with consent, she maps each persons journey through a book solely created for them which is provided at the time of discharge from services. Additional consent forms are signed as well as an agreement for service.
Art Therapy invites individuals to explore their own personal experience through the art making process. A Somatic approach to this concept means to become integrative, focusing on what is happening inside while the art is being created. Many people do not consider themselves to be an artist which is just fine. Art Therapy is about expression and is not concerned with the final product but the process in which the image is created. Much of the art created is reflective of the person and their experience. The overarching goal is to have fun, bring forward positive influence and most of all encourage gratitude for each person's unique ability to survive.
It is the duty of the Art Therapist to be mindful of the materials and their potential impact on the individual. More often than not, Cyndi is quite likely to encourage you to work with materials which are kinaesthetic and tactile and will link you to your body's physiology and thus its story. Painting images may take time and art is not always completed in one session. Those working with Cyndi learn that trauma impacts functioning in many ways. It becomes patterned and embedded in soft tissue requiring work with the nervous system in its recovery. The individual's experience is important but the body also has a story to tell. Somatic Art Therapy is curious about the body's story and as such sharing the verbal accounts of the experience is not always necessary, at least in the beginning.
Art Therapy is considered a distinct form of psychotherapy which began in the 1940s. Margaret Naumburg is considered the founder of the practice which is rooted in psychology. Art Therapists are trained at a variety of schools across North America. Canadian Art Therapists hold certification with Canadian Art Therapy Association, British Columbia Art Therapy Association among other governing bodies. Certified and Registered Art Therapists vary only in that Registered Art Therapists must have supervision for a required period of time after a number of face to face client hours have been completed. Both Certified and Registered Art Therapists may enter into private practice but they must be licensed and insured with their governing body. Cyndi is Registered to Canadian Art Therapy Association as well as Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers. She is a licensed practitioner who holds a Bachelor and Master's Degree in Social Work, a post Baccalaureate Diploma in Art Therapy and is a Certified Somatic Trauma Specialist.