Our Therapy Service

The school currently has an art therapist working in the school for two days a week offering individual and group art therapy to students referred by school staff. This is part of the school’s commitment to meeting the needs of its pupils as they learn and develop on their journey through education.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art-making as a form of expression and communication for people experiencing difficulties in their lives. Art therapy sessions take place for an hour a week in a safe and supportive environment. Through art-making it can be possible to explore feelings and concerns that may be confusing and hard to put into words. It has been found to be particularly helpful for working with children and young people.

Art therapy can help young people express themselves, understand their experience and learn to modify difficult behaviours. It can help them build self-esteem, improve relationships and engagement with the school environment as well as helping improve concentration and academic achievement.

Why have Art Therapy in School?

Art therapy is a specialist service made available to pupils who are experiencing emotional and/or behavioural difficulties which impact their well-being, affects their progress in school and may cause disruptive behaviours in class.

If pupils are able to access this service in school early on it may prevent difficulties from escalating. Also, if the pupil was to access art therapy outside of school (e.g. at CAMHS) it would mean missing more lessons and would require parents being available to take them to appointments.

Who is Art Therapy for?

Pupils may be referred for art therapy if they:

  • are struggling to settle into the school environment
  • experience emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • are in danger of exclusion
  • are struggling with particular life events such as bereavement, family breakdown, illness or substance misuse within the family
  • have suffered abuse, bullying or trauma
  • have communication and social difficulties
  • have ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder or attachment difficulties

Pupils may be withdrawn, experience low mood or have misplaced anger or anxiety issues; all of which affects their development, their ability to maintain positive relationships and their capacity to achieve in school.

Where does it take place and when?

After referral and following consent given by parents or carers and the young person concerned, therapy sessions will take place on a weekly basis and takes place in the therapy room at the same time each week.

A slot is chosen from the young person’s timetable which has minimum impact on their learning. Any artwork produced in therapy will be kept safe in school until the end of therapy when the young person may take their work home.

Vanessa Correia is the school art therapist and has been working supporting students since September 2019. She has many years of experience working in the arts, including as an artist-in-residence in schools and as a community artist before completing her MA in art therapy. This included 18 months experience working in CAMHS and two years in residential children’s homes before starting work in schools. She believes passionately in the healing nature of art-making and in the inner resources of each child to find solutions for their own difficulties, given the right opportunities. She also recognises the importance of a supportive environment for young people as they grow and develop into well-rounded adults of the future. You can contact Vanessa through the Rhyl Street office on 020 7485 4899 or via email at admin@rhylprim.camden.sch.uk.