Arts therapy uses creative processes within a therapeutic relationship to help you explore and express experiences and emotions. These methods are active, innovative and practical: they provide a supportive space for you to 'try on' and practise new behaviours, helping you to create new ways of relating to yourself and the world.
Arts Therapy is suitable for all ages and can be particularly helpful for those who may be experiencing life changes, lack of confidence, trauma, illness or disability. It can be especially useful if you find it difficult to find words to express your experiences. Creativity harnesses the imagination and a sense of play, which can connect us with a sense of meaning and a means of communicating this to others. This can help you to use the safe space of the therapeutic environment to learn to tolerate the uncertainty of the unknown, and to open new possibilities in your life.
You don’t need to be an 'artist' to express something creatively. Arts therapy focuses on the creative process rather than the art product. It works by accessing imagination and creativity – qualities which all human beings possess – to generate new models of living and contribute to the development of a more integrated sense of self.
I've always found it difficult to express myself using words alone. When I first experienced working with my emotions using active, creative arts therapy processes, it was a 'lightbulb' moment for me... I felt like I could fully be myself, and that whatever I produced was accepted and viewed as unique. I didn't have to rely on verbal expression, nor could I hide behind words or usual patterns of relating. It was liberating. My overarching aim in my arts therapy practice is to help others experience this same sense of freedom and empowerment
– Louise Morton
I am a registered clinical arts therapist working in Wellington, New Zealand. I provide mindfulness-based creative arts therapy services to assist clients to process their experiences and to support meaning-making and change.
I have experience working with adults, young people and children who have found arts therapy useful for self-development, managing anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, interpersonal struggles, working through traumatic experiences and navigating grief, loss and change. I have a particular interest in working with the relationship between physical sensations, emotions and wellbeing.
Most recently I spent fifteen months providing individual and group arts therapy to individuals within a CCDHB mental health and forensic inpatient unit, where clients presented with a wide range of needs (including anxiety, emotional dysregulation, navigating grief/loss, depression, dissociative disorders, post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia, psychosis, identity issues, and substance abuse). My Master’s research saw me running a short-term arts therapy group for young adults which utilised Focusing-Oriented Arts Therapy (a mindfulness-based approach) alongside simple printmaking techniques. I also ran a wellbeing-focused group for children who were in foster care through Oranga Tamariki.
Prior to completing my Master’s degree, I spent almost four years supporting survivors of sexual violence. This area remains a strong interest of mine, with a particular interest in supporting clients to re-establish a sense of safety in their bodies. I am also a qualified teacher and have spent time teaching within primary and secondary schools in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, and in my younger years spent time supporting youths who were involved with the youth justice process.
In my spare time I am a practicing artist specialising in printmaking. I also enjoy bush-walking, mountain-biking, live music and travelling.