Meet Art Therapist Charlie

Meet Art Therapist Charlie



About me

My name is Charlie and I am a registered Art Therapist at Xavier. I have been working at Xavier for two years as a support worker while studying a masters of mental health art therapy and have now joined the allied health team. I am passionate about supporting children, adolescents and young people through creative exploration and expression; and love seeing the impact art has on their health and wellbeing. My favourite modality is painting but I love all forms of art.

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a mental health and wellbeing approach that integrates psychotherapeutic techniques with creative processes to improve physical, cognitive and emotional health. Art therapy is not an art class as it focuses on the importance of the artistic process not the finished product, but it has the capacity to support individuals with new art modalities that they may not have experienced before. Art therapy explores drawing, painting, sculpting, sensory investigation and many other creative formats that gives individuals an avenue for creative expression.

What are the benefits of art therapy?

Some benefits of art therapy include creative exploration and expression, sensory exploration and regulation and an improved positive impact on both mental and physical health. Art therapy is a supportive avenue for the expression and exploration of unsaid emotions and behaviours.

Who can benefit from art therapy?

Anyone can benefit from art therapy including individuals with a disability/disabilities, neurodiversity, healing from trauma and abuse, family and relationship issues, grief and loss, struggles with work/school and life transitions, and individuals who require mental health support and recovery.

What are art therapists trained in?

Registered art therapists are trained in creative modalities and in psychological and psychotherapeutic methods. Art therapists are trained in mental health treatment and support services and the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Art therapists however cannot diagnose an individual with a mental illness or disorder but can support individuals pre and post diagnosis.

What activities do art therapists do in session?

Art therapy sessions are predominantly explored in two formats: directive art therapy sessions and non-directive sessions. Directive art therapy refers to a structured session plan that follows tailored scheduling and art modality exploration. Non-directive art therapy is client led and allows the client creative freedom to explore any art modality they wish with no structured direction for creative expression. Both directive and non-directive sessions are efficacious and beneficial formats of art therapy, however the art therapist should determine which format of art therapy would be most suitable for the client and their needs.

How do you “measure” art therapy?

A common misinterpretation of art therapy is that the final product (or artwork) created in a session is analysed by an art therapist. While the final product may support our findings, this is not the primary measurement of an art therapy session. My practice involves analysing how a client interacts with the triad of art therapy. The triad of art therapy explores how a client interacts with the art materials, how they interact with the art therapy environment and how they interact with the art therapist. The triad of art therapy is actively measured by how the client shows progress in building rapport and trust with all three sectors of the art therapy relationship.

In addition to the triad of art therapy, art therapists may measure client progress through the expressive therapies continuum and the neurosequential model of therapeutics. The expressive therapies continuum is a model of creative functioning used in art therapy that provides a framework for assessment, formulation of treatment goals and planning of art therapy interventions. The Neurosequential Model is a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with vulnerable children, it assists in organising a child’s history and current functioning.

Easy Read Summary:

My name is Charlie and I am a registered Art Therapist. Art therapists are mental health professionals who use art, media and the creative process to explore feelings and situations, and improve an individual’s self-awareness. Art Therapy explores drawing, painting, sculpting and creative journalling to allow individuals to express emotions that they may be unable to put into words. Anyone can benefit from art therapy including clients with disabilities and individuals requiring emotional regulation support.

Further info

If you're interested in art therapy for your child, call us on 1800 XAVIER or email