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Counselling and Trauma work Print E-mail

Counselling and trauma work


Counselling is a way of working with people who have reached a crisis in their lives. This can take many forms either relationship difficulties, depression, lack of self esteem, mental health problems etc. If you are accessing the In Care Survivor Service it is likely that you will be experiencing problems related to the abuse you experienced in care. This may have led to you experiencing many of the above issues.

Counselling is a way to help you find your own way to lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Within ICSSS we work at your pace. What you tell your counsellor will be confidential unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.

You will be offered a first appointment to see which service best meets your needs and then you will be offered as many sessions as you need. With your counsellor you will agree what you want to achieve from the sessions. It is often the case that counselling takes place over a long period of time and we will discuss this carefully with you at the first appointment.

It is your choice what you want to discuss and we will go at your pace.

Counselling usually takes place once a week for one hour in a suitable, safe and confidential setting. All counsellors are professionally trainied and adhere to the COSCA or BACP Ethical Framework. The counsellor's role is to facilitate the work which respects the client's values, personal resources and capacity for change. Through the therapeutic relationship it offers the safe space to explore issues, address and resolve conflict, cope with crisis and often will involve psycho-educational interventions such as coping with flashbacks, and understanding childhood trauma.

The counsellors have all been trained to work under different approaches to counselling such as integrative or person centred.


Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media and the creative process as its primary mode of communication.

The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but art therapy is different from other psychotherapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the image or object created in the art therapy session. This way art therapy offers an opportunity for expression and communication and can be particularly helpful to people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.

Clients who are referred to art therapy do not need to have previous experience or skill in art, the focus in art therapy is not in the artistic abilities or the end product. 

Although art therapists have developed many specific definitions of art therapy, most of them fall into one of two general categories. The first involves a belief in the innate healing power of the creative process of art making. Art making is seen as an opportunity to express oneself spontaneously, creatively and authentically, an experience that, in time, can lead to personal fulfillment, emotional healing, and change.

The second definition of art therapy is based on the idea that art is a way of symbolic communication. From this aspect, the art products are seen as helpful in communicating issues, emotions, and conflicts. The art image becomes significant in enhancing verbal exchange between the person and the therapist and in achieving insight, developing new perceptions and increasing self awareness, which in turn can lead to positive changes, growth and healing.

In other words, both the idea that art making can be a healing process and that art products communicate information relevant to therapy are important.

The overall aim of art therapy is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.

Art therapy can be particularly helpful for clients who have experienced trauma. Certain aspects of traumatic memories do not fade over time, particularly sensations, emotions and images related to trauma may become deeply imprinted on peoples’ minds and the traumatic imprints re-experienced. 

Art therapy offers a way to work through these non-verbal memories of the traumatic experience. Traumatic memories appear to be more easily recorded in memory that bypasses thought and language. In order to treat trauma effectively art therapy moves beyond words and language to integrate the cognitive, emotional and affective memory and therefore serves to integrate the manifold experiences of trauma and further the healing from the traumatic experiences.