An Interview with our Art Therapist Alison Peebles
Through our Young Gallery programme, Impact Arts run free parent-child art therapy sessions for children and caregivers living in Glasgow.
The service is available to children aged 5-12 affected by alcohol use in the household, and the aim is to increase the bond between a caregiver and the child, offer an environment to express complex emotions, and to improve health and wellbeing generally.
We spoke to our lead Art Therapist and Co-ordinator Alison Peebles about the art therapy programme we offer, her role with Impact Arts and how children can benefit. If you would like to discuss the programme or make a referral, you can contact Alison on 0141 575 3001 or email email@example.com.
What is art therapy?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses a variety of art media as its primary mode of communication and expression. It’s a particular useful method of finding ways to explore difficult emotions; I use art to help children deal with emotions including loss, grief, transitions, attachment, emotional, bullying, mental health, behavioural issues and confidence issues among others.
What is your role with Impact Arts?
As Art Therapist and Art Therapy Co-ordinator for Impact Arts’ Young Gallery programme, I work on a day-to-day basis with primary school aged children for individual and parent-child art therapy sessions.
We work with children in the Glasgow area who are affected by familial or household substance or alcohol use. It’s a particular area of need: Glasgow has some of the worst alcohol/drugs problems in the UK, with an estimated 5,283 children directly affected by parental addictions.
Talk us through the structure of an art therapy session
Sessions typically last one hour, with the structure of these sessions varying. The sessions are child-led, with other variations being based on suggestions from the therapist. The choice of art material can also add structure to the sessions – for example, if a child is feeling stressed or anxious, suggesting they use watercolours can help them relax. But the children are always made aware that they can make their own choices in sessions.
What is your background? What do you find fulfilling about your role?
I originally trained in printed textile design, before going on to train as an art therapist following a post within a mental health charity as a screenprint instructor. I’ve now been a practising Art Therapist for 22 years.
I find it fulfilling to develop a therapeutic relationship with children - seeing the development of children’s creativity is joyful.
What exactly is dyadic art therapy?
Dyadic art therapy focuses on developing the relationship between the child and a caregiver (or caregivers). It involves the therapist working with the child and the caregiver in a safe, therapeutic setting. It can be very helpful in strengthening the bond between a child and caregiver through creative and playful activities, enhancing the caregiver's sensitivity to the child’s needs and encouraging the child's sense of safety.
What benefits do you see arts and creativity having on the client group you’re working with? How have clients changed?
Therapy can make an enormous difference in the children we work with. You can see increased confidence, more of a tendency to express themselves, an increase in creativity and art, improvements in relationships, better engagement with education, and better emotional resilience. It’s also great to work as part of a team with parents, social work, education and other partners to strengthen the family system.
One-to-one art therapy is open to primary school-aged children in north east Glasgow who are affected by drug or alcohol use in the family network.
Dyadic parent-child art therapy is open to primary school-aged children across Glasgow who are affected by alcohol use in the family network. Note: the adult in dyadic therapy does not need to be a parent - they could be the caregiver, a foster parent or another adult in the family.
If you are interested in making a referral or finding out more, please contact Alison Peebles on 0141 575 3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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