Art Therapy helps vulnerable young members of society

An exciting and innovative new service has opened its doors to the people of Clonmel and surrounding areas.

An exciting and innovative new service has opened its doors to the people of Clonmel and surrounding areas.

Graduates of the Crawford College Cork, Lisa Dundon and Sarah Collins, are currently providing one-to-one Art Therapy sessions, aimed mainly towards children and adolescents, at Clonmel Community Resource Centre in Kickham Street. This form of therapy is already being successfully employed in many health care and educational settings around the country and is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. However, Art Therapy- just one of the expressive therapies, has yet to be officially recognised by the HSE.

Lisa, who has worked for many years as a social care worker in Clonmel, has seen the need for an alternative therapeutic intervention for children in care settings. “Young people are particularly imaginative and having a creative outlet can help to put difficult emotional problems into perspective. If there is not an adequate opportunity to develop awareness of these feelings, it may cause further issues in the home, at school, etc.”

“We need to invest in the most vulnerable members of our society,” says Sarah, whose background includes work with special needs groups and individuals with physical and intellectual disability. “Issues felt by parents/carers can affect children and adolescents too. Children can feel isolated and confused, unable to articulate their feelings. Here is where art therapy could offer a safe, natural and effective alternative”.

“There are times in all our lives when we may experience distress or anxiety,” agrees Lisa, “often it is easier to express our thoughts and emotions in a creative way rather than trying to articulate complex feelings verbally. Sometimes, we just can’t find the right words.”

Although not yet well known, Art Therapy is a specialised form of psychotherapy where art is the main form of expression. As with conventional therapy and counselling, the client and therapist may explore feelings and emotions. However this is done mainly through creative activity with less of a focus on verbal communication.

The Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists ( is currently lobbying for official recognition of their profession by the HSE. “Without funding, it is difficult to reach those most in need of this service,” remarks Sarah “and yet the arts therapies are gaining momentum and becoming more mainstream. Hopefully this is a sign that the HSE will take note of. This therapy is safe, confidential and non-judgemental. No knowledge of art or art making is necessary; you do not have to be skilled at art to avail of Art Therapy. In art therapy, all forms of expression are valued and respected and all persons treated equally.”

Sarah and Lisa provide group, one-to-one sessions, and take private referrals. All age groups are catered for. For further information or to arrange an appointment contact 087-7735338, 087-9764031 or