Braemar Gallery exhibition shines light on art therapy

An art exhibition at Springwood’s Braemar Gallery is shining a light on the growing mental health profession of art therapy.

The When Words Are Not Enough exhibition, which runs until November 4, consists of works from 17 local art therapists, and is the first exhibition in the Blue Mountains to focus on art therapy.

The exhibition gives local art therapists an opportunity to educate the wider community about the value of art therapy, said Annette Coulter from the Blue Mountains Nepean Art Therapists group.

“Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which the client makes art as a means of expressing themselves,” said Ms Coulter, who is the author of several seminal books on art therapy.

“While it can benefit everyone, it’s particularly useful for people who may have difficulty expressing issues verbally, such as children, people living with disabilities, the elderly, and people who’ve experienced severe trauma.”

The exhibition aims to increase understanding of art therapy, which she said was a growing field but not as well recognised in Australia as it is in some other countries.

“In Britain and North America, art therapy is considerably better known and accepted,” she said.

“Registered art therapists undergo rigorous postgraduate training at one of the three universities in Australia that teach art therapy. While we’re recognised by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, we’re not supported by Medicare and don’t get a lot of mental health funding. 

“For that reason, we often position ourselves as counsellors, family therapists or case workers, and most of us work in private practice, as art therapy positions are thin on the ground.”

Ms Coulter said the exhibition includes numerous forms of art including painting, drawing and mixed media works.

She encouraged anyone with an interest in art or mental health to attend the exhibition, particularly mental health professionals and community sector workers, and those interested in using art therapy as a client. 

The exhibition will continue until Sunday, November 4.

Braemar Gallery is at 104 Macquarie Road, Springwood. It is open Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm.