A new community art therapy group is due to start in February for the benefit of Arfon residents who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
The ‘New Directions’ initiative will be delivered by the arts therapy service at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in partnership with Gwynedd Council’s Community Art Unit.
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Through art-making, people can express and explore feelings that are at times confusing and difficult to communicate verbally. It is not about artistic skill and participants do not need any previous art-making experience; art is used as a positive and creative outlet for energy and expression.
This is a new service for people who have a history of complex, enduring, emotional and behavioural difficulties often stemming from early experiences.
Participants will be referred to the service via the local community mental health team. The New Directions community art therapy group will meet weekly in Bangor from February 2015 and the programme will run for twelve weeks.
The service aims to offer its participants an opportunity to explore and understand difficulties with other people who have similar problems. Sessions will facilitate decision making and self-awareness. The group will support its members to make positive changes in life and help increase self-confidence and self-esteem.
The group will be facilitated by art psychotherapists Pamela Stanley from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Gwawr Wyn Roberts from Gwynedd Council.
Pamela Stanley explained: “This is a new partnership which will offer continuing therapeutic support for mental health service users living in the community. Similar groups have been held in Anglesey in the past and we are very pleased to be able to expand the service to Arfon in 2015.”
Gwawr Wyn Roberts, Gwynedd Council Community Arts Development Officer added: “Art therapy can help people gain a greater understanding of self, relationships and behaviour. Working within a group such as New Directions will offer a safe and facilitating environment to express thoughts and feelings with each other.”
For more information about the art therapy group please contact Pamela Stanley on (01248) 384121 (ext. 4296) or Pamela.Stanley@wales.nhs.uk
More information about art therapy can be found on the British Association of Art Therapists website: www.baat.org