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Art Therapy at Base 51 - Counselling for young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

Today we're focusing on our Art Therapy service!

It's important to remember that not all young people are comfortable talking about their experiences or emotions; that's where art therapy comes in! It can be a fantastic way for them to express themselves and work through their thoughts and feelings without having to just sit and talk to a counsellor. Our Art Therapist, Elaine, has a really flexible programme and that can be tailored to each individual's needs, so they get the most out of it. Art Therapy also gives young people the chance to take a step back and appreciate the progress they've made.

The young people benefiting from this project have experienced trauma, often from serious violence such as knife crime. They may have been victims or witnesses, and are between the ages of 11 and 25, living in Nottingham city or Nottinghamshire County.

Here is a chat with our Art Therapist to give you some insight into her role!

"Hello, I'm Elaine. I offer art therapy to young people at Base51, working with around 5 clients a week from either the Social Prescribing or Evolution Projects. Art Therapy provides an alternative to talking therapy and can be very helpful when young people do not have the words to describe how they are feeling or what they have experienced.

I find that young people use art in a number of ways. For some art making is a therapeutic activity and they lose themselves in the creative process. For others, it allows them to share what has happened to them or how they are feeling via their images. Most of my clients seem to value having something to occupy their hands whilst they talk about their experiences.

At the moment I am working with a variety of young people. One is struggling with chronic pain and the fear of surgery, another is determined to explore the impact years of abuse have had on her both mentally and physically, another is struggling to thrive at school whilst waiting to be assessed for ADHD/ ASD and another is moving from the care system to independent living whilst making sense of his transgender identity and past abuse.

I am grateful for the support I receive as a therapist at Base51 and for access to experienced supervision. This was particularly important for me during my time working with the following client."

Here is a Case Study of someone who has been supported by our Art Therapy Programme at Base 51, which is supported by The National Lottery Community Fund.

"My whole childhood was filled with abuse and unhappiness. My mum struggled with mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction too - it was so hard. I felt broken. I got diagnosed with PTSD late in my teens. I just couldn't cope so I tried to end it all.

After trying to take my own life, I didn't want to do Art Therapy at Base 51. I didn't see the point as I'd planned just to keep trying to overdose as there was no point of living.

I worked with Elaine for 6 months, and it changed my life. It helped me understand my feelings and gave me insights into myself too. It was a safe place where I could work to become stable enough to actually see a future"

Art Therapy is just one of the types of support that Base 51 offer young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. You can find out more on our website:

(Case Study of real person's situation, written but written Base 51 staff with identifying details removed.)

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