Welcome to the Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods

Located approximately 2 hours north of San Francisco in a tranquil setting, The Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods has been offering workshops and courses for art therapy professionals as well as other health care and service provider professionals since 1992. Our workshops are limited to ten participants in order to provide ample opportunities for interaction. While most programs are held in Redwood Valley, a few are held at other venues.

On these pages you will find not only course offerings and schedules, but useful resources and articles.

We encourage you to explore our pages and contact us with questions or suggestions.


Pacing Child and Adolescent Therapy

by Linda Chapman, MA, ATR-BC

With demands for evidence based and short-term treatment for mental health clients, many therapists are under pressure to speed up the therapy process. I have learned the benefit of not pursuing an agenda and letting the child or adolescent control the pacing of therapy. Rather than keep moving forward each session, I take my cue from the client and proceed accordingly. I do not know the recent stressors or other events the child has experienced during the week.

Therefore, I have a plan, but offer the child or teen a choice of non-directive art if they have something more important to express. Often when the child chooses non-directive art, the non-verbal expression often relates directly to something that occurred during the week at school or home.

Also, children and teens need time to integrate what has occurred in therapy. In my experience observing development and in psychotherapy, the client will move forward, plateau or move backward a bit, and then move further forward. Allowing for this in the therapy as a shared experience often elicits unexpected and important dialogue. Allowing the child time to achieve emotional homeostasis with the therapy is as important as doing so in a session.

I make a point of letting clients know that we are working together but they have control over how fast or slow we proceed. This allows the client a feeling of control over their therapy and the content of therapy.

© Copyright 2013 Linda Chapman.

Longer Sessions Worthwhile for Adolescents

by Linda Chapman, MA, ATR-BC

It may take many months of weekly therapy for highly guarded, maltreated adolescents to fully engage with the therapist and explore the sensitive aspects of their treatment. I have found it remarkably worthwhile to increase the session time from 1 hour sessions to 1½ hours once the teen begins to engage in a deeper phase of therapy. The small increase in time affords far greater participation in verbal and non-verbal expression and in dialoguing about their images or art. There is a noticeable difference in the pace and deepening of the therapy.

Teen clients are very aware of the extra time, often commenting at the end of the usual hour that their time is not up. Teens have verbally expressed positive regard for the extra session time.

To justify the need for additional session time to providers, I communicate the need for time to reconnect with the images from the previous session and to recall the affect and cognition associated with those images.
Additionally, extra time is needed to dialogue about the intensely personal and often upsetting content of the art produced in the session. The client requires additional time for exploring the content of the images and time for receiving support and validation of their feelings and thoughts associated with the art or verbal expression. Additional time is required for closure and containment of the affective content that has been accessed during the session. I have also found it useful to discuss the plan for the next session, and to remind the teen of their control over the pacing of the therapy.

© Copyright 2013 Linda Chapman.

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