I offer individual art therapy for adults in English in Bologna. Sessions are usually one-hour long and held weekly.
The course is individual and as such it is tailored to each person depending on their needs.
I work with people who want to improve their general well-being as well as with people who have a diagnosis they wish to manage.
What does Art Therapy offer?
… to feel safe
… to be brave
… to work through problems
... to express your anger
... to admit your failures
... to forgive yourself
... to forgive others
… to explore relationships
... to get on better with others
… to find new ways of self-expression
… to feel good about yourself
… to love yourself !
Who is art therapy for?
It is for anyone who wants to follow a course of therapy and who believes that the mind sometimes lies and that talking verbally is useful but not always sufficient. We are complex beings with mental, physical and psychological spheres that overlap and interlink. Changes in one sphere can be blocked if the other spheres do not also integrate the new information. We learn by experience and this experience needs to be lived and felt in a bodily way, just like learning to ride a bike. Art therapy allows us to live that experience because our problem becomes embodied in a tangible object, we can feel, look at, touch, control, manipulate and testify to.
It is for anyone who wants to reactivate their creativity and by doing so, improve their ability to find joy and satisfaction in their daily life, their work and their professional and personal relationships.
The benefits of art therapy:
You can share whatever is on your mind without worrying about being judged, criticized or rejected. The relationship you have with a therapist is a special one in which you can explore difficult issues and know that your secrets are safe. An art therapist will help you sort through your feelings, experiences and questions. Anything that you don't feel able to express in words, can be expressed through the art materials. A therapist's aim is to help you become more comfortable with your feelings and more confident in expressing them. You can gain a better understanding of how your emotions affect your actions and how your actions interweave with the external world to create the situation you are living. A therapist should always be non-judgmental and supportive. They will guide your therapy but they will never tell you what to do.
Examples of why clients have sought art therapy with me :
* Therapy sessions in English to improve relationships. Many clients come to me because they are dissatisfied with their intimate relationships. Sometimes they have been single for longer than they want and aren't able to find the 'right' person; other times, they realise they have a pattern of dating people who are neglectful and/or abusive; others are in a loving relationship but are experiencing difficulties having sex; others are confused or feeling guilty about their sexual orientation or sexual past. It is no co-incidence that our intimate and/or sexual relationships are often our most complex and complicated because the more we give, the more we have to lose; the more we let people in, the more we have to fear and the harder it is to trust. Any anxieties we have about trust, intimacy, attachment and abandonment will probably affect this sphere of our life the most. And so the successful entrepeneur who is tired of only enjoying sex on one-night-stands may use art therapy to change this pattern, just as a young adult may seek art therapy to overcome their fear of physical contact or difficulty reaching orgasm.
* Therapy sessions in English to cope with depression. A number of clients have come to me with varying levels of depression. Depression may begin as a general sense of dissatisfaction with life that can lead to pervasive tiredness and fatigue; some people have difficulty getting up in the morning and if ignored this can lead to long periods of desolation and despair accompanied with suicidal thoughts and fantasies. Mild depression is debilitating and is sometimes overlooked and underestimated with mottos such as 'life is hard' and explained away by recent difficult events. It's healthy to get upset and express pain; grieving can be a long and difficult process, but when our life seems grey and we regret waking up in the morning, whether or not this is connected to a specific loss, it's best to seek help. Art therapy can help you get back in touch with life's colours. Severe depression requires psychiatric help and attention, and art therapy may be a useful complimentary therapy with the psychiatrist's approval.
*Therapy sessions in English to cope with anxiety. Various clients come to me with problems connected with anxiety that may be stress related and expressed through difficulties sleeping, health problems that become chronic, an increased cigarette/alcohol consumption, panic attacks and phobias. Some moments and periods of our lives are more stressful than others but even when there is a good reason to be stressed, it is important that our levels of stress never become intolerable. There are many psychological factors that effect what each person finds stressful and different scenarios will trigger anxiety in different people. Anxiety is often connected with aspects of our lives concerning our identity and our performance: so situations that connect with questions like 'who am I?' and 'am I good enough?' such as exams, job interviews and even marriage can all be triggers. Sometimes we may find ourselves reacting with high levels of anxiety that seem disproportionate to the situation and sometimes, as is often the case with panic attacks, we can find no obvious explanation in the immediate present. When anxiety is severe, psychiatric help should be sought. Art therapy may be helpful for you to understand the underlying causes of your anxiety and use this knowledge to manage it so it impacts your life less.
*Therapy sessions in English to cope with guilt. A wide number of clients who come for art therapy for other reasons are all suffering from feelings of guilt and/or shame. Feelings of guilt are debilitating and pervasive. They effect our self-esteem and the choices we are able to make for ourselves and others. Deep feelings of guilt effect our ability to enjoy life because we don't feel 'worthy'. People who suffer from guilt have difficulty making choices that bring them happiness because happiness leads to guilt. There is an underlying sense of 'not having the right'. Is there always some prior commitment that prevents you enjoying a day off? When was the last time you treated yourself to something special? Are your holidays filled with arguments with friends and loved ones? These are a few signs that may indicate you suffer from guilt. Occasionally guilt may be connected with something specific we may have done, but in the majority of cases it is linked to factors we had no control over: a parent who was ill when we were little or physical or psychological abuse we may have suffered.
*Therapy sessions in English to deal with an eating disorder. Eating is a daily activity, fundamental to our existence that isn't just about physical nourishment but is deeply psychological. Whether we were breast-fed or bottle-fed, a new born baby's feeding time isn't just a physical activity: it's the moment in which a baby makes it's first relationship through skin and eye contact with the parental figure. Meals are a social and family occasion and eating and drinking is a primary source of pleasure and gratification. It's no surprise then that when things go wrong, more often than not our eating patterns are affected. From having difficulty eating alone and skipping meals, to buying junk food and guzzling a box of chocolates after our partner's left us, who hasn't at some time or other in their lives expressed their psychological state through their eating habits? However, those who suffer from an eating disorder such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge-Eating Disorder know that their eating patterns are only the symptom of a much bigger picture, that affects their lives and relationships at 360°. If you think you have an eating disorder, or have already been diagnosed with an eating disorder such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge-Eating Disorder there are centres at Bologna such as Centro Gruber that have a specialised teams of health workers that can help you. If you don't feel ready yet to contact a specialised centre but need to unload your concerns, art therapy offers you a confidential space to explore your issues at your own pace. Alternatively, Art Therapy can offer you additional support if you're already following treatment or have recently come out of a clinic.
*Therapy sessions in English to deal with anorgasmia. Given that the majority of our psychological difficulties affect our relationships with others and the majority of our defence mechanisms protect us from intimacy rather than facilitating it, it's hardly surprising that our sex life takes the brunt. And in a patriarchal society where female role models boil down to Eve, the source of original sin and Mary, the Virgin mother, it's of equally little surprise that anorgasmia is especially, but not exclusively, a problem for women. Although gender stereotyping means that it can be as hard for men as it is for women to unite sexual passion and loving intimacy. Whatever the way your sex life is, it's not a problem unless it's a problem for you: but if it is a problem for you, it's important you know it doesn't have to be. It's true that sexual difficulties can sometimes be hard to change because often they're the symptom of something much deeper. However, I have worked successfully with clients to improve their sexual relationships over a period of time. Art therapy can be a fun way of dealing with sexual issues, that gets round embarrassment and allows a tactful and metaphorical approach that even the shyest can deal with.
* Therapy sessions in English to deal with the consequences of traumatic experiences. There are few people who have not at some point in their lives experienced a difficult event that has had a profound impact on them from that moment on. Being betrayed by a friend or partner can compromise one's ability to trust others and this can have repercussions on future relationships making them more complicated. Surviving an earthquake or other natural disaster can destabilize our confidence in life. Our home is no longer a solid place that protects us. Art therapy can help us replace negative experiences with positive ones. This helps us to regain control over our lives so that we can accept those positive opportunities that perhaps had presented themselves previously but seemed impossible to embrace and instead became causes of anxiety. Without this transition, survivors of trauma tend to be attracted to those situations that allow them to relive the emotions provoked by the original trauma, as was demonstrated by Mitchell's experiments on rats. Whether it is the aftermath of a serious trauma, or the consequence of cumulative traumas over a period of time, it is important to regain the ability to be happy, to feel that one has the right to exist and enjoy life. I have experience working with people who have dissociated to protect themselves from trauma and with people who have inherited traumas that their parents had lived.
Some people describe Guided Drawing as a form of meditation. It can help you connect with your creativity at a deeper level. The technique has evolved with the specific intention of processing traumatic and painful experiences in a non-verbal way. In Guided Drawing, we use both hands simultaneously in order to activate both hemispheres of the brain. It aims to help the nervous system self-regulate, integrating emotions with bodily sensations, rhythmic movement and perception. A cognitive aspect works on softening negative thinking patterns that obstruct our daily life and our ability to achieve our goals.
It was developed by Cornelia Elbrecht over a period of 40 years in response to her desire to carry the discoveries of Peter Levine and Pat Ogden in the sensorimotor field over into the field of art therapy. Elbrecht is the founder of the Institute for Sensorimotor Art Therapy in Australia.
Anyone who struggles daily with the consequences of traumatic experiences knows how debilitating they can be. This technique operates on a sensorimotor level, mostly at a non-verbal level in order to avoid potentially retraumatizing narratives. It is an individualized path, which does not necessarily follow the weekly schedule of a psychodynamic pathway.
Please note: Confidentiality is guaranteed unless the therapist has good reason to believe that your life or another person's safety is at risk.