The Center For Growth’s Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

The Art Therapy Group at The Center For Growth is designed for those looking to engage their creative sides and connect with others while doing so. We’ll use mark making in unconventional ways to practice letting go, experimentation, following your intuition, and seeing what emerges. Through art therapy, we’ll learn and reap the benefits of using various means of self expression, collaborating and finding inspiration in others, and building a time in our days and weeks to slow down, reflect, process, and experience what is going on for us.

Who Can Join the Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

The Art Therapy Group is open to adults of all ages. There is no definition of the “perfect” client for art therapy. Instead, the group is open to anyone who is interested in exploring the use of art and creative expression as one way of impacting wellbeing. This group is open to individuals who see a talk therapist regularly and are interested in utilizing group art therapy as a supplement to their individual work, individuals who participate in other individual and group therapies, or individuals who are not involved in any other form of therapy but are interested in joining a supportive environment focused on creativity and wellbeing.

When and Where We Will Meet & Fee For Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

The art therapy group meets once every other week on Thursdays evenings. The group meets in person from 6:15 pm to 7:45 pm. Fee is 50$ per session. There is a one time 25$ assessment fee. There is no virtual component to this group. The group will meet at The Center For Growth’s Art Museum Therapy Office Location, in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. The address is 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite #1A2, Philadelphia, PA 19130. There are five steps to enter the hallway leading to our office.


COVID-19 Protocols for Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

In order to participate in this in-person group, members will need to provide proof of vaccination, including a booster shot. Additionally, at least 2 weeks must have passed since the most recent dose. Masks are required in the public areas of the building, including The Center For Growth’s waiting area.

Space and Materials for Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

This space is designed to be an intimate one. As such, space will be limited to five people. Each participant will have access to table and floor space. In addition, various two and three dimensional media and materials will be provided. These include collage, oil pastels, fabric scraps, cardboard, water color, chalk pastels, colored pencils, markers, drawing pens, charcoal, various building materials, and clay. In addition, natural materials such as pigments, soil, leaves, petals, branches, seeds, spices, tea, coffee, and ground spices can be used. Our list of materials is always growing too! If you have special interest in particular materials, you can bring them in as well, as long as you are open to sharing with other group members.

Structure of the Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

At its core, the art therapy group is meant to provide three important offerings: a chance to connect with others, and a chance to connect with yourself, and a chance to connect with the materials. With these three relationships (the one with self, others, and materials/the art) acting as pillars for the purpose of the group, the structure of the group will revolve around each of these three relationships in each activity we do. A typical group may begin with an art-based check-in and sharing of each other’s experiences from that week. Then, as a group, we can decide if there is a salient theme that emerged from check-ins that feels important to create with in mind, or if we want to have a more open space for creating that day. From there, we will spend time immersed in the process of making (likely with music playing too!). Toward the end of the group, we will come back together, have the options to share anything that emerged, and clean up. The nature of this group is collaborative, which means that this structure will not be the exact structure of each group but rather acts as a guide for the sequence that groups will typically follow.

Frequently Asked Questions in Joining the Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

What is Art Therapy and who facilitates this group?

Art Therapy is an integrative mental health profession that utilizes active art-making, the creative process, applied psychological theories, and the human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. An art therapist is a masters level clinician who has specialized interest and training in the use of art in psychotherapy. Art Therapy is used to foster self-esteem and self-awareness, improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. Our art therapist Farhana received her Masters degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University’s Creative Art Therapies Department.

What role does talking play in art therapy?

Talking is just as important as art making in art therapy. Art created holds no meaning until you give it meaning by speaking about your work and what it represents or means to you. That means you as the creator get to dictate its meaning. Alongside that meaning, an art therapist will witness your artwork and offer questions to explore additional or unconscious details of the work. Similar to the way talk therapy works, questions are asked with the intention to help guide clients to a greater sense of understanding and clarity.

Can art therapy be used if I have experienced trauma?

From a neurological perspective, trauma memories are stored in our senses and body. Art therapy is inherently a sensory/body based intervention that allows people to safely express memories that are hard to access with words alone. Art therapy has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels which is your body’s stress hormone that activates “fight or flight”. There are many benefits to art therapy.

I do not have any professional art experience, can I still join?

Absolutely. You do not have to have any experience in order to participate in art therapy, whether it is for this art therapy group, in individual art therapy, or in another group art therapy setting. When participating in art therapy, it is more about the process than the product, which is different from many people’s experiences with art. When making art, many people’s experiences include being critiqued for skill or technique (“make that look more real” or “what is that supposed to be?”). When participating in art therapy, the expectation or goal is never to create the most realistic or “perfect” image. In art therapy, we are using art in service of our emotional experiences, and we celebrate any vulnerability you lean into in order to explore, surface, and share those emotional experiences or thoughts. Our emotional experiences are not concerned with how something looks as if your creation will be displayed in a gallery, and you will not be held to this standard. In addition, many of the ways you will be welcomed to create involve collage, three dimensional, or mixed media which may be abstract.

How do I know if I have discomfort about making art?

You might have some discomfort with creative expression if:

  • When in front of a blank piece of paper, you struggle with where to get started.

  • You frequently engage in creative projects but wouldn’t call yourself an artist.

  • The idea of seeing something you have made brings up feelings of embarrassment or shyness.

  • You constantly criticize or downplay what you have created.

If any of these sound like they could be you, art therapy may be helpful in offering opportunities for you to confront your discomfort. In this confrontation, you’ll have a chance to practice feeling pride, confidence, instinctiveness, and growth/change in non-threatening ways.

I already make art in my day to day, why do I need this group?

Artists face immense pressure to get things just right, often experiencing internal criticism about their work, about creating, or some form of imposter syndrome. Art therapy can be a helpful way for those with a regimented artistic process to reconnect with their explorative, free, mistake-making creators. In the context of art therapy, you are allowed and encouraged to be a “bad” artist, a space that is not often nurtured or found in day-to-day lives. This is a space meant for inspiration and reflection.

How to Join the Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia, PA

If you are interested in joining the Art Therapy Group in Philadelphia or have questions about it, please call Farhana Ferdous, MA at 267-682-6958 or email her at [email protected]. If there is space in the group, potential new clients will be offered the option to schedule an art therapy group screening appointment. If the group is full, you will be asked if you would like to be added to the waitlist and contacted once a space opens up.