Art Therapy / Art Psychotherapy:

Clinical Supervision:


Approaches include:

- Verbal, creative / symbolic and nature-based approaches, as appropriate;

- A wide range of creative media, including: paints, clay, pastels, collage, found objects, 3D construction, natural media;

- Sandtray, play approaches...

Underpinning philosophy:

- A relational integrative model of health, founded in eco-biopsychosocial and systemic models.

- A pluralistic integrative theoretical orientation, guided by:

- trauma informed care principles and 

- common factors research. My orientation is grounded in relational and psychodynamic theories.

- eARTherapy: promoting eco-creativity and a reciprocal caring relationship with and for the rest of Nature.

Pluralistic Psychotherapy and Art Psychotherapy

"Pluralism in counselling and psychotherapy can be both an attitude towards therapy and a specific practice." (Pluralistic Practice)

"For me, a pluralistic approach encompasses a number of dimensions that guide my relational systemic practice.

Firstly, a pluralistic way of being is a way of regarding and valuing others, celebrating diversity and promoting rights, such as choice and agency. Pluralistic art psychotherapy features an ‘I-Thou’ stance relating to the person and their art, characterised by reverence, which I also extend to our other companion life-forms on Earth.

"Secondly, a pluralistic professional attitude honours all other bona fide theories and orientations of helping; and features an openness to signposting to these, based on client needs and preferences. This respects diverse therapies, including talking therapies, creative therapies, and nature-based modalities, as well as wider health and social care. Multidisciplinary practice, therapeutic teamwork, and interprofessional learning are also all valued. Openness to referring to evidence-based trauma specific support is consistent with contemporary trauma informed care principles.

Thirdly, underpinned by the above two, pluralistic practice is a holistic, biopsychosocial, inclusive, and collaborative approach to clients and their creativity. It is a coherent approach where pluralism is practised across orientations, clients, and perspectives." (Sibbett, 2019)

Trauma Informed Psychotherapy and Art Psychotherapy

My trauma practice in art psychotherapy and counselling / psychotherapy began in the early 1990s in Northern Ireland. Trauma Informed Care emerged from a seminal Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study in the US (Felitti et al, 1998) and subsequent international and UK research (Sweeney et al, 2016).  My practice was guided by these findings and further guided by SAMSHA's (2014) Trauma Informed Care (TIC) assumptions and principles. 

TIC Assumptions (SAMSHA, 2014): "a basic realization about trauma and understand how trauma can affect families, groups, organizations, and communities as well as individuals." Ability "to recognize the signs of trauma." "The program, organization, or system responds by applying the principles of a trauma-informed approach to all areas of functioning." "A trauma-informed approach seeks to resist re-traumatization of clients as well as staff." 

TIC Principles (SAMSHA, 2014): "Six key principles of a trauma-informed approach: 1. Safety.  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency.  3. Peer Support.  4. Collaboration and Mutuality.  5. Empowerment, Voice and Choice.  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues." (SAMSHA, 2014).

Therefore, I am guided by the following trauma informed care core principles: (adapted from Sweeney et al (2016); SAMHSA (2014):

1.    Trauma awarenessrecognise prevalence, types, levels & impacts of trauma;

2.    Eliminating retraumatisiation – managing power & avoiding retraumatising practices;

3.   Cultural awareness / competence – recognising historical & community-specific trauma, impact of
                        intersectionalities, cultural healing potential, gender responsive, prizing diversity;

4.    Trustworthiness, transparency – fidelity, building trust, openness;

5.    Collaboration, mutuality - power aware & sharing, shared decision-making, respect, connection, hope;

6.    Empowerment, choice, control – strengths-based approaches,

                       building strengths & skills, individualised approach, promoting voice & autonomy;

7.    Safety – physical psychological, moral & cultural safety;

8.    Partnerships – survivor self/peer help;

9.    Pathways to trauma-specific care – signposting, referral, co-ordination.