What does a typical art therapy session look like?

There is no right or wrong way to do art therapy, there is only your way. I work with you wherever you are at. Some clients like beginning the session with talking and then move to art making, and others prefer to do art first and speak later. Some people need to express themselves verbally for a few sessions and then move to art making. Making art is always an option, not a requirement.

I am not an artist and do not consider myself an artist. Can I still do art therapy?

The motto that I often use in my practice is “No Talent Required”. In fact, the more ‘un-artistic’ you are the better. Art Therapy is about connecting with your self-expression; art is just used as the medium. We are not so concerned about what it looks like aesthetically (whether it is good art or bad art), but rather about the story that it tells and your experience making it. The majority of people tell me that it was easier than they thought it would be and that expressing themselves through art, they saw their problems in a new way. On many occasions people have said that it was really FUN. Remember, in art therapy it is all about your process and not the product.

Is art therapy just for kids?

Everyone can do art therapy! While I love working with children/adolescents, the majority of my practice consists of working with adults looking to deepen their understanding in certain areas of their lives.

What kind of art do I make in art therapy?

I have many art materials available in my office to work with and you can do a variety of different activities such as painting, drawing, working with clay, collage, mask making, and story telling. I offer suggestions of activities to get you started or to familiarize you with the materials that I have. You are supported through your exploration, and the feelings that come up are processed in the space.

What happens to my art-work?

Art is viewed as an extension of the self. It is treated with utmost respect and kept completely confidential. All the work that you make in sessions is securely stored in my office until your therapeutic process comes to an end. At that time, we do a review of your work together and all your work is returned to you.

Do art therapists interpret my artwork?

Contrary to some perceptions of art therapy, an art therapist will rarely interpret your art-work. Although a part of you might want to have someone give you all the answers, at the end of the day, it just isn’t useful. The main goal of any therapy is for you to get in touch with your own voice, your own expression, and your own language. Art is a powerful tool that can help you to do so. My role is to help you better understand your creations, offer you different perspectives, and witness your process. I find that the personal meanings that you can bring to your own work are far more insightful and relevant than any external ones.

How often do I need to come to sessions?

Therapy is a commitment and a process and like anything requiring change, it takes time. I suggest weekly sessions for the first 3-6 weeks and then depending on your needs, we devise a treatment plan and go from there. To get the most benefits from your therapy, regular and consistent attendance is necessary. If coming in weekly is not possible for you, there are options to work with me via Skype, join a group or take a workshop, or sign up for a distance learning class (to come).

What is your level of training?

I have an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences (specializing in herbal medicine) and have completed a 2-year Masters level degree in Art Therapy through Concordia University. I regularly attend various professional development courses and conferences. Currently, I am working on a PhD in Art Education.  


Not sure if art therapy is right for you?

While art therapy can have amazing benefits for some people, it might not be the right type of therapy for you. I encourage everyone to try 2-3 sessions to see if they like my approach.  It is important to acknowledge that fear and resistance is a normal part of initiating any new experience and is different from being uncomfortable. I strive to make the process as supportive as possible.

If I have questions where can I find out more?

Please feel free to send me an email or contact me with any additional questions.
Esther Kalaba BSc, MA