© Bristol Men's Art Therapy Service 2019

Testimonials

Client Testimonials

The following statements were made by clients who have engaged in our services, and have kindly given permission for their reflections to be shared for the purposes of promoting understanding of the services we provide (all names have been changed):

 

“By using art you leave evidence of how you are changing... I was in a deep hole and slowly art therapy has brought me out of it, I can see small steps of improvement”  - Alex, describing his experience of men’s group art therapy

 

“By doing the pictures, I don’t know how it’s worked but I’ve put things down sometimes without thinking about it and it’s been coming from a more subconscious level. I don’t know why I drew those pictures; there’s something about it that’s tapped into something deeper than by just talking. I think by doing a picture it makes it more powerful because I can talk about something a then forget about it but when it’s on paper it’s like a reminder and it feels more powerful.” - Steven, describing his changing relationship with addiction and subconscious processes within art therapy

 

“I learned to let go into [the process] and allow myself to put meaning on my life. I learned to let go of judgement.”- Liam, describing his art-making process during individual art therapy

 

“My world has got bigger, my world-view, everything’s got a little big bigger so I’m having more experiences… I still have the bad, I still have the trauma, I still have the mental health problems but the [art therapy] process has allowed me to feel that, so therefore I can feel more.” - Mo, describing his development following individual art therapy sessions

“It’s opened up to me that I’ve always focussed on the drugs and alcohol, but it’s obviously deeper than that, so by doing [art therapy] it’s helped me get a deeper understanding of myself. I think by doing this it’s all clicking into place a bit deeper not just looking at “you can’t drink, you can’t take drugs” it’s going deeper. It makes more sense to me, it makes it more powerful; I am an addict and it’s easy to say “do some drug treatment” but we’ve not just focussed on the addiction side of things, we’ve gone deeper in to my childhood and thinking styles." - Ahmed, describing the insight into addition through art therapy

“I’d like to say how important this work is, how important it’s been for me, I’ve had a massive breakthrough, but I also believe it’s important for other people… I think more research and more availability of this type of therapy is so important because a lot of people are falling through the cracks because they can’t find therapy that works for them when this clearly works for a particular type of person, especially for men, I think - that was an issue that came up in the work." - Keith, describing his views on the importance of art therapy

 

"Men may, because of their conditioning, find it harder to reflect on their feelings or express their feelings so this really helps to even just get it out and have a look. It becomes less powerful therefore you’re less likely to commit suicide or hurt other people; it takes the sting, it takes the power out of it, it takes the violence. For me it took a lot of violence and anger, it put things ‘small size’, in perspective and manageable.” - Joe, describing his views on the value of art therapy for men

 

"I think men would really benefit from this work because men more so are not so in touch with their bodies, they’re conditioned not to talk about their feelings so [art therapy] a great gateway… and helps break that conditioning. I would completely recommend any person who needs therapy, it’s not just arts and crafts or some fluffy therapeutic process, that hasn’t been my experience… this was a very visceral, raw, messy process that allowed me to go deeper.” - Andrew, describing the benefits of art therapy for challenging male socialisation 

 

What Professionals Say About Us

The following statements were made by mental health staff working at St Mungo’s Men's Crisis House & Recovery College during our 12-month pilot project, they have kindly given permission for their reflections to be shared for the purposes of promoting understanding of the services we provide (all client names have been changed):

 

“Craig came to our service experiencing suicidal ideation and engaged with the sessions to express how he was feeling. He reported finding the sessions helpful to process this and explained to staff that he saw a difference in the theme of his work over the course of his stay, and wanted to take his work home with him to remind him of his progress.” - case worker

 

“I have seen many clients on a journey with their art. These journeys vary in magnitude. For one client in particular who came to the Crisis House in emotional despair I would say that in this case art therapy with Ben Gage was the 'gateway' to his recovery.” - mental health floating support worker

 

“Winston had not done any art activities for years - participating in art therapy helped him start painting again, giving him a much needed relaxation / mindfulness / distraction technique, as well as a way to express his emotions.” - case worker

 

“Art therapy encourages clients to connect with their own feelings / experiences as well as each other. It allows clients who struggle to articulate their feelings and experiences to communicate them.” - case worker

 

“Ben's 'Introduction to Art Psychotherapy' was a very informative training session which powerfully explained and demonstrated how art therapy can work and explored some of the issues involved such as people's history with groups or art having an impact positive or negative to their interaction, as well as how to create positive closure and ownership of work.” - case worker

 

“Ray found it very difficult to discuss his emotional distress put his palm in some paint and slammed it down on a piece of paper. It may have been an act of frustration but it seemed to open up dialogue.” - mental health floating support worker

 

“From a staff perspective art therapy is useful in that it can shed light on where a client is psychologically, if they are unable / unwilling to express verbally or behaviourally.” - case worker

 

“Danny engaged well with the art therapy sessions, and this formed part of a link in with the Recovery College. He now goes to the Recovery College on a regular basis and credits this as a strong part of his recovery.” - case worker