Healing and understanding through creativity.

Art Therapy allows people to express feelings on any subject through creative work rather than with speech.

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What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy allows people to express feelings on any subject through creative work rather than with speech. It is particularly helpful for those who feel out of touch with their emotions or feelings. The goal of art therapy is to utilise the creative process to help people explore self-expression and, in doing so, find new ways to gain personal insight and develop new coping skills.

You don’t need to be an artist to apply this to your life, you just need to be open and ready for change and transformation to begin.

Cheree explaining the benefits of Art Therapy

Activities and Materials

Certified art therapists will typically have a comprehensive understanding of the powerful effect that the creative process can have on those in therapy. Art therapists often use psychological, spiritual, and artistic theories in conjunction with clinical techniques to achieve the desired therapeutic outcome. Here are some of the common techniques and art materials used in a session:

  • Painting
  • Finger painting
  • Doodling
  • Scribbling
  • Sculpting
  • Drawing
  • Using molding clay
  • Making cards
  • Using textiles
  • Making collages

How Art Therapy helps


For people with depression, art therapy represents an opportunity to push against destructive thought patterns by immersing yourself in the process of creation. Research has shown that art making can have a profound impact on a person’s physical and psychological well-being.

Trauma & PTSD

Art therapy uses creative mediums like drawing, painting, coloring, and sculpture. For PTSD recovery, art helps process traumatic events in a new way. Art provides an outlet when words fail. With a trained art therapist, every step of the therapy process involves art.


Art therapy for substance abuse helps you express yourself through ink, clay, paint, and other means. There are many reasons for addiction, such as trauma, stress, and mental health disorders. But, art therapy gives you a sense of control that may be lacking in addiction.

Domestic violence

Studies have shown that the sensory benefits which are present in many art therapy techniques can stimulate the middle brain, which is responsible for self-soothing, and emotional regulation. Developing calming skills through learning and engaging in art therapy techniques which aid in this pursuit is an invaluable practice for individuals who have experienced abuse and/or domestic violence.

Anxiety & panic attacks

Art Therapy can benefit clients by initially diffusing a stressful environment in the therapy setting. Techniques will help the client feel calm and able to focus on the task at hand. Once this anxiety is defused, the client is then more open to process thoughts, emotions and assess behaviour.

Art therapy can also assist anxiety by improving self esteem, resolving problems, expressing feelings, problem solving and goal setting which aids in working towards improved thinking patterns.

Mental health

Art therapy is a highly valuable tool in mental illness care and recovery. We can utilise its creative healing to not only connect with our client at a deeper level, but to motivate and encourage our client to grow beyond their experiences of their mental illness and find new ways of perceiving themselves, and experiencing their symptoms, in such a way that promotes hope in their recovery, and purpose in their life.

About Cheree Henderson

Hi I’m Cheree, I’m a wife, mum to two gorgeous red head girls, dog and coffee lover and I live on the beautiful south coast in Kiama. From a young age I’ve always been creative, designing dresses for my barbies or painting my bedroom cupboards. Turning to art has always been something that gives me solace and space to release any emotion and allow the growth that I’ve needed. So it made sense to turn my passion and knowledge into a career that helps others achieve a better well-being and fuller life. Now I’m a qualified Art Therapist, HH Dip (A.TH.) and member with IICT. Prior to this my background has been in fashion & textiles, working as a designer in Australia and internationally for over 15yrs. In the past 3 yrs I took a new turn in my life and began a journey in personal development, learning about self help, mental health, behaviours and how our mental models can determine our outcomes. From here I discovered the power of Art Therapy.

I’m also continuing my knowledge and studying a Diploma of Counselling with AIPC (Australians Institute of Professional Counsellors). I’m extremely passionate about helping others and I believe Art Therapy can be beneficial in our journey towards healing or understanding where we are going in our life.

illustration illustration

Clients saying nice things about Art Therapy

Cheree is an incredible therapist for both adults and children. She is calm, patient, knowledgeable and a pleasure to be around. Highly recommended for anxiety, self esteem building, relaxation or just processing complex thoughts or emotions that are difficult to articulate.


I'm not artistic at all but I wanted to explore something new in relation to a personal trauma. Cheree was patient and guided me through some activities that released a lot of emotions that I had been blocking. Art for mental health is extremely freeing and I felt very safe to explore those emotions with Cheree's guidance. I will continue to see Cheree on a monthly basis to keep my mental health in check. Love!


Frequently asked

Do I need to have some skill in art to attend an art therapy session?

No previous artistic skills or experience is required to attend an art therapy session. Art therapy is more focused on the therapeutic benefits an individual gets from the art-making process, rather than what the finished artwork looks like.

Do we have to provide materials?

No, all materials are provided by me and we will work with paints, clay, pencils to collage. Activities will be planned session to session, but if the client is more comfortable with a particular material we can stay with that.

What is the focus in these sessions?

The focus of an Art Therapy session is on the art making process, rather than the finished product. The act of making art can be profound and healing in itself, however an ‘amplification’ process may be used which allows the client to explore and gain insight from their work.

What is a suitable age to begin art therapy?

Any age really but I prefer to work with 8yrs and up. From teens, young adults, parents and age care. It supports young people with developmental, emotional and behavioural problems by providing a safe and creative space in which they can begin to explore their worries, concerns and feelings – with guidance and support It has been proven effective in reaching even the toughest of teens!

What's the difference between counselling and Art Therapy?

Together these two modalities work extremely well but they are different. A counsellor is more in the business of enabling a client to sort out their conscious, cognitive and emotional situation in their mind through verbal communication. Where as, an art therapist works on the visual component to communicate self expression. Issues are worked through the art making process, where the client will feel the emotional release or the therapist will help interpret the creative work facilitated for the client to understand further more.

How it works / Fees

Initial consultation:

The first 15 minutes of the session is gathering basic information about the client’s history and the reason for them deciding to explore art therapy. From here we would start with a basic art activity and discuss some goals together that they would like to work on throughout the following sessions.

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Follow up appointment:

To gain a real transformation and to apply art therapy to your life, I recommend 6 to 8 sessions on a fortnightly basis. At halfway we do a ‘check in’, a basic assessment of how things are going and see if we’re on the right path for the goals set in the initial consultation. At the end of the 6 to 8 sessions we can cease altogether or continue on a month to month basis if the client wishes to do so.

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Payment is made on the day either by cash or eftpos facilities.
Aora Therapy is a registered provider for Creative Kids vouchers.
Aora Therapy can provide Art Therapy to NDIS clients who are self-managed or plan-managed.

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