She is currently conducting weekly sessions for 3 patients over the course of 6 months. Its aim is to effect change and growth on a personal level, through the use of art materials, in a safe and facilitating environment. This is a really unique service which would be too expensive for these patients to afford without Taline’s help.
Me: Hi Taline. Could you firstly tell me what your role is with LADPP?
Taline: I am here as an art therapist volunteer. I see 3 patients. The one-to-one sessions started in January and will last until June. The patients have a session once a week.
Me: What is a usual art therapy session like?
Taline: The person arrives and we talk for a while about what is important for them in that week. Then we start to create an art piece. At the end we talk about what has been created. Eventually some emotions may come out and we can talk about it.
Me: How long do you spend with them?
Taline: Usually around 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Me: Is it important to spend a long period of time over the course of a few months with the patients?
Taline: Yes, it is very important. When you see a patient every week for a long period of time, you create a stronger bond and more trust. Building trust does depend on each person but with more time it is easier for them to talk about themselves. Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy so people have too much history and too many questions inside for us to work though in a short amount of time. This means that the longer we have the better it is for the patient.
Me: So, do some people come in without any idea of what is wrong?
Taline: Yes, the human mind is so complex. Sometimes we are too close to something to really see what is happening. When you take some distance, it is easier to do this.
Me: Are there any misconceptions about art therapy which you notice people having?
Taline: Some people come in and think that they have to make something beautiful. It’s not about that. It is about getting pleasure from things because you want to do it. We are all shaped with the idea that we have to do something to serve a purpose. In our sessions, the art is like the free association in psychoanalysis. When you create something because you want to without knowing why, your creation can talk to you. The meaning of the art is personal and this is why we don’t say ‘if you drew a house it means this or that’.
Me: So during a session do you ask them what things they drew mean?
Taline: No because that can be quite intrusive. In art therapy we respect a lot the rhythm of a session. We may say things like ‘this tulip is red and the others are not’. They then may feel comfortable to talk about it or not. I am not hunting for information. I see things and we just have a conversation. I never push anything and always make them feel safe in their space.
Me: What do you think your patients at LADPP would do if we weren’t providing this service?
Taline: I really don’t know. These sessions usually cost around £65 each so are really hard to afford. I don’t think it would be possible for most people here.
Me: What do you find most rewarding about being an art therapist?
Taline: Some people come in to a session with a really heavy weight on their shoulders, and are sometimes really sad or confused. It’s very satisfying at the end of the session when you see someone with less preoccupations and are smiling. Sometimes they have an insight in to a problem and it changes the way they face it.
Me: What do you think of LADPP?
Taline: I am new here but I see LADPP as a big home. I see that people who come here are looking for advice but also, they make friendships here. It’s so important, especially when you are abroad.
From all of us at LADPP thank you so much to Taline for offering this really unique and beneficial service. We really wouldn’t be the same without you and we are so proud of you!