I love listening to people’s stories through the images they make. Sometimes people are worried at first, because they have been told at school there is a right or wrong way to do art so they don’t think they are creative but people are creative in so many ways without realising it. If you have ever baked a cake, had a business idea, danced, told a story or played a computer game you are creative - and this shows very quickly when you try out the art materials. People report a drop in symptoms when their focus is on making rather than being caught up in thoughts. Importantly, the art can help us to look together at emotions that seemed unbearable, a bit like holding a monster out in daylight and finding we can face it after all. Art making can connect us to nonverbal states and using materials like clay or paint may work trauma out of the body. The art therapy room is surrounded by the beautiful grounds of Priory and people often say how peaceful and calm they feel after spending some time there.
Sarah McKenzie is the Art Psychotherapist at Priory Hospital Woking. She runs art therapy groups for inpatients on the Addiction Treatment Program and General Programme, and also provides individual art therapy, group psychotherapy and psycho educational groups for the general program.
Sarah is registered with HCPC and is a member of BAAT.
Sarah is interested in Jung’s concept of active imagination and how artwork can be used to act out feelings and behaviour that the artist patient has been told are unacceptable. Her masters research was concerned with anti-oppressive practice with people who are prone to psychosis.
- BA: Art and Design, Edinburgh College of Art
- Diploma: Psychopathology Theory and Practice, Confer
- MA: Art Psychotherapy, University of Roehampton