Women's College Hospital - Health Care for Women, Revolutionized

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Art Therapy

Art Therapy is the use of visual art materials (such as, paint, clay, pencil crayons, collage, markers, etc.) it is used as a way of creating a visual representation of thoughts, feelings and emotions in order to support clients to understand themselves and their ways of relating to the world. It is also a way of supporting clients in expressing themselves when there are times where words are not enough, or when it is difficult to talk about experiences, thoughts, or emotions.

Art Therapy at SA/DVCC

There are numerous impacts from experiences of violence and at SA/DVCC we recognize that it is not always easy to open up about these experiences and the impacts they have had on one's life. Art Therapy at SA/DVCC offers clients a safe, non-intrusive, and nonjudgmental place where the impacts of violence can be explored and worked on. Through the use of the art and in conjunction with the Art Therapist, clients are supported in expressing what can often be difficult to express in words alone, as well as supported and provided with education and strategies around coping with the impacts of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Benefits of Art Therapy at SA/DVCC

There are numerous benefits that clients can receive from art therapy. As clients create art pieces, they may notice some of the following benefits:

  • a sense of calm
  • increased ability to (physically, emotionally, mentally) ground oneself through the impacts
  • positive connection to one's body
  • a new way to express oneself and make sense of things they may have struggled to express in words previously
  • insights about oneself and relationships in one's life
  • a way of creating a visual documentation of one's healing journey

Who is Art Therapy for?

Art therapy is for anyone who is interested in exploring and expressing thoughts and feelings through the art. Clients do not need to have any artistic training or background in art. Since art therapy is really about the process of expression through the art, we do not concentrate on the aesthetics of the art pieces created. It does not matter if a client has not used paint or clay or picked up a marker in many years. There are numerous ways of working with the art that can help clients express themselves and support them in exploring impacts and making new connections to themselves and others in a visual way.

What does an Art Therapy session look like?

Depending on what you want to work on, you may work in a nondirective way or you may be provided with a general art exercise to more deeply explore a particular topic or theme that is being worked on in the counselling.

A session will normally begin with a check-in about your week or a review of the previous session. You may decide to work with a specific theme or continue with a topic that you had begun exploring in a previous session and you have the choice of working with various art materials at the art table. While you are working with the art, you may decide to continue talking to the art therapist or you may wish to work with the art in silence.

You could be working with the art from 20 – 30 minutes in a 50 minute art therapy session. After you have completed a piece, you and your art therapist will look at the art, discuss your connection to particular aspects of the piece and any ideas, thoughts, or feelings you had while working with the art.

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Location & Contact Information

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre (SA/DVCC)
Women's College Hospital
76 Grenville St.
Ground floor (in the AACU), Room 1305
Toronto, ON M5S 1B2

Phone: 416-323-6040

Fax: 416-323-6489

Office Hours:
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

A nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Patients can be seen on-site at WCH between 7:30 a.m. on Monday to 11 p.m. on Friday. After 11 p.m. on Friday until 7:30 a.m. on Monday, patients should go to one of the emergency departments listed under the "Mobile Locations" tab and request the SA/DVCC service.

Accessibility
The hospital is fully accessible. There are wheelchair-accessible washrooms available throughout the hospital.


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  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto
  • A member of:
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)