Art and Play Therapy in Practice (2 days)


Explore how art and play therapy can enhance communication when words are not enough. Gain non-verbal creative skills in therapeutic practice.

Course Description

This training is about the importance of the creative process in art and play activities in the assessment and treatment of individuals and groups, demonstrated through experiential workshops and case examples.  Active imagination, theories of creativity, psychological factors involved in creativity and stage of the creative process in developmental play are examined. The workshop combines safe respectful approaches to processing artwork and symbolic play processes with children and adolescents with a sensitive focus on use of metaphor, myth and fairytale that take into account cultural and social influences.  A variety of approaches demonstrate how an art play therapy tasks provide an alternate way to define problems, set goals and develop a greater sense of self-awareness in emotional recovery or acknowledging illness. Art and play activity in therapeutic settings enhances communication of issues when words are not enough. Participants learn how to facilitate respectful exploration of artwork, with case examples – different rehabilitative settings are considered. Participants engage in art experiences that illuminate and enhance thinking processes, including: child-centred play, prescriptive art and play assessment and treatment, non-directive and family art and play.  Both structured and unstructured approaches are demonstrated as well as how to document a report on an art and play therapy session.  The art products and the processes of play and creativity provide opportunity for symbolic and metaphoric processing of personal material.

A variety of arts-based approaches demonstrate links from theory to practice to demonstrate application of various art materials and the range of therapeutic qualities in the formulation and design of treatment interventions. Cognitive art educational resources are provided, as well as theoretical frameworks to explore visual and spontaneous play content. The workshop is designed for practicing therapists and counsellors who wish to use art more effectively in their work. Artistic skill is not required to benefit from this workshop.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will have the opportunity to:
• Become familiar with theoretical frameworks that integrate with art in practice;
• Understand the therapeutic application of creative thinking;
• Learns skills to use therapeutic art interventions.


Psychologists, family therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists who wish to improve their knowledge and skill to use art effectively in their clinical practice. Clinicians considering a career in art therapy.  Artistic skill is not required.




Annette Coulter is a Registered Art Psychotherapist, Director of the Centre for Art Psychotherapy and coordinator of the Adolescent and Family Counselling Service in the upper Blue Mountains. She completed post-graduate clinical art therapy and art education in the UK. Further training includes child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy, family therapy, group work and sandplay. She provides consultation, clinical supervision and customised training and helped pioneer art therapy in academic and clinical settings in UK, Australia and South-east Asia. She is a published author on art therapy with trauma, couples, children and adolescents.


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