Why Arts Therapy?

My journey to study experiential arts therapy began, like many things, with my own deeply felt need

Whether it’s a need to earn more money, a need to be healthier, a need for recognition, a need for acknowledgement – I guess everything we do comes from a need we hold within – somewhere.

In acting, which is my background, instead of ‘need’ you might say your motivation, or talk about your objective. Many ways of talking about similar things. 

So I started studying experiential arts therapy because I had a need to solve a problem in my own life.

For years, perhaps my whole life, I have struggled to be creative. 

Many people I’ve shared this with have not understood, because I have worked in creative fields, but this is the deceiving thing.

I am able to be creative when it is required for work, or commissioned by an external force, but I find it very very difficult to ever be creative on my own.

When I tried, a few different things happened.

Sometimes I would just get so many ideas that they were overwhelming, too many to actually focus on one.

I would then get distracted by trying to do admin tasks to help with the ideas, like googling venue hire or grants or a certain kind of prop that would be useful for the creative project, but all of this would distract me from actually ever doing the creative thing itself.

I had lists of film ideas that were never written, ideas I believed passionately in. 

Sometimes I would set aside time to really try to focus, to really try to get something done; and that was when the pain would kick in. 

Deep, sharp, unbearable pain, that wouldn’t go away until I stopped. 

Found something to dull it, like watching shows other people had written, or scrolling through posts about the wonderful things other people were doing. 

And another opportunity would pass away.

After talking to many people about this and finding no answer…..

I decided I needed to find my own answer for myself

I had an instinct that if I studied arts therapy, I could learn how to solve this problem for myself, and that I could then find a way to share with other people. I looked up arts therapy courses. I wanted to do one that allowed me to use a range of arts modalities (which was a word I didn’t even know then.)

My background is in theatre, but I’ve also studied singing for over ten years. Later in life I went back to study film, and also spend a long time learning dance and movement. I felt at home with all of these things, and didn’t want to choose just one to use in therapy.

In my searching, I discovered MIECAT. At first I knew nothing about the MIECAT method, I just knew that they offered a course in ‘multimodal arts therapy’. (And this was where I learned that term.) It was in Melbourne and I was in Perth, but somehow everything seemed to align, and I knew that I had to study there.

Suffice it to say, this has absolutely become my passion in life. I think that one of the most valuable things that any of us can do is work on our areas of inner stuckness, or inner dissonance – only as we progress towards individuation and wholeness can we make any difference in our own life, and in the life of the planet.

Currently, I’m undertaking a professional doctorate, researching the creative process. It’s ironic that from not being able to be creative, the process of creativity has now become my study, and that is thanks to experiential arts therapy.

Wherever you are, and whatever you are feeling – whatever you value, however you would prefer to be, I hope that you find a way to explore it. Do it. 

You need to be free to live in your preferred way, and we need all of us to move towards making a future for this world.

I would love to be part of that journey and hold a mirror to your hidden creative answers! 

– Written by Cara Phillips

Cara is a MIECAT trained Arts Therapist based in Perth, Western Australia. 

She has worked in theatre and film, specialising in devising shows and films with different groups in the community about things that are of interest them.

Cara has strong values around the intersubjective connection between people.  She lives to dance in this space……….