Patricia Roles' Virtual E-counseling Room...

     and Face to Face Individual, Couple and Family Therapy in Vancouver, BC

About Art Therapy

By Pat Roles, MSW, RSW, BCATR
Registered Social Worker and Registered Art Therapist

Find Out About Clinical Supervision with Pat Roles

Art therapy is therapy where the focus is on the the creative art process rather than the product. The individual who creates the art is the one who attributes meaning to the piece, not the therapist. Art therapy is not about analyzing the art to find hidden meaning. Art is like a mirror for the artist can can be a means of self-reflection and self-awareness. Anything that is creative has part of the creator in it as it draws on the individual's personal experience such as poetry, songwriting, story writing, music, drama and visual art. Expression is found through the creative process and solutions to problems are explored by looking outside the box. Art therapy draws on the imagination that is inherent in everyone.

Art therapy is a collaborative process between the client and the therapist. Whether sessions or structured or not is negotiated as to what works best for the client. Some people appreciate some structure and direction, whereas others are more self-directed in the art process.

Using art as a modality can be a way to help with the expression of difficult feelings. The saying is that a picture says a thousand words, so images can show what a individual might not be able to in words.

Art Therapy is making art for a purpose. The therapist helps the client establish goals and direction to work on through art. It is art as a means of expression that can be more non-verbal or an adjunct to verbal communication.

Therapy through art isn't just about drawing and painting. It can be making things from construction paper, using glue, photography, fabric, sand, and objects, finger painting, clay and construction, or paper mache. The imagination is the limit. It is about exploring what is unfamiliar to help expand thinking and expression. Or for some who might be more intensely expressive and get lost in the art, it might be about finding boundaries in the materials. Everyone has different goals.

Verbal expression is involved in art therapy, however, it is an approach that doesn't require a lot of verbal conversation if this is not desired by the client. Individuals who are verbal can enter into dialogue about the art and explore issues further.

Art as therapy is appropriate for individuals of any age. An interest in art is a common reason individuals often decide to try art therapy as they feel a comfort in the medium. For these individuals, this comfort can help art to feel like an easier way to engage in therapy.

Art therapy is not just for children and teenagers. Adults benefit from art therapy. Art can be also be used in family therapy. For families it can be a way to see communication and interaction patterns as they become visible through art activities. It can also be a way to work toward solutions as a family on common problems. It is especially useful as a way for children to participate in therapy and in family therapy as they tend to enjoy the process more easily. Art is often something children and youth are more familiar with than adults so it helps to elevate the children's voice in family therapy by empowering the children and teens.

An individual does not need to be technically good at art to benefit from art therapy. In fact, sometimes someone who is really skilled in the technical side of art can focus so much on doing a good job with the product that the process is not noticed. Other artists see how much of themselves are in the art so they may both appreciate the process but also feel vulnerable.

About the Art Therapist:

Pat Roles, MSW, RSW, BCATR, is a registered art therapist as well as a registered social worker who completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Art Therapy at the BC School of Art Therapy in Victoria in 1989. She completed her MSW in 1981 and has worked in hospitals as a therapist with both medical and mental health programs. She teaches art therapy at the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and is an adjunct instructor with the art therapy program at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She has also been a clinical supervisor for 25 years in social work. Currently she works in private practice providing psychotherapy with individual, couples and families. Pat has worked with children and teenagers individually with art therapy, as well as facilitated art therapy groups and used art therapy as part of family therapy. Counselling areas of specialization include: eating disorders, adoption issues and reunion, birthparent loss, bereavement, separation, divorce, parenting, blended families, and family and couples relationships. Find out more about Pat Roles: Credentials and Counselling Experience

Booking Appointments & Pay Online Options via Credit Card

Booking Your Appointment

Face-to-face Counselling Fees: $140 (Canadian) per hour

The most efficient way to book an appointment is via email, or you can phone: 604-375-9215


Office Location:  Vancouver

1210-750 West Broadway (Fairmont Medical Building)

Evening and Saturday morning appointments available

View a map for the Vancouver office location: Map to Fairmont Medical Building, 750 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Consultation and Clinical Supervision for Professionals

Supervision and consultation is available to other therapists upon request. This may be an individual one time consultation or regular supervision sessions. Consultation can be in areas of individual or family therapy, online counselling, art therapy or play therapy. Depending upon your location the supervision may be able to take place in your place of employment. Therapists can phone or e-mail to inquire further at:

604-375-9215 or by email: Contact Patricia Roles Re: Inquiry About Clinical Consultation

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Patricia Roles, MSW, RSW, BCATR Registered Social Worker and Registered Art Therapist
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Online Counselling via Email @ and Face-to-face Counselling

© Patricia Roles, Virtual E-counseling Room,, Vancouver, BC, Canada