Wilson, Elizabeth

Maximising the first therapeutic encounter with youth: using a single session art therapy (SSAT) approach

Elizabeth Wilson

The first art therapeutic encounter with young people is often referred to as being seminal in that the first session can determine therapeutic outcome. This workshop will specifically explore how to integrate the philosophies of single session therapy (SST) within art therapy practice with young persons. Workshop participants will walk away from this experience with greater knowledge and direct hands-on experience in how to utilise the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) in single session contexts in such ways as to maximise single therapeutic encounters with young people. Specifically, workshop attendees will be instructed in how to use pre-structured collage and drawing activities to enable young people to externalise their problem stories and begin to build solutions to their life problems.  Participants will also learn how to combine the use of strategic questioning and a process known as ‘dialoguing with the image’ as a means to gaining an in-depth insight into young peoples’ lived contexts in a playful and indirect fashion.  Case study examples from my own art therapy research exploring the benefits and pitfalls of art therapy in a single session practice with young people will also be presented in this workshop.  A practical brain-storming session will then be held to encourage participant discussion regarding how to implement a single session approach to art therapy across diverse practice settings and populations.



Liz Wilson is currently completing her PhD at the Creative Arts Therapies Research Unit at the University of Melbourne in Australia.  Her art therapy research project is exploring the use of a single session art therapy consultation service with undergraduate creative arts students at the University of Melbourne. Liz also works as a part-time private practice art therapist in the region of Melbourne.


Recent Publications

Recent workshop presentation at the Creative Arts Therapies Research intensive week entitled:  Maximising the first therapeutic encounter with young people: using brief art therapy activities