Here follow some reviews from people who have taken part in SA&T projects, as practitioners and clients. These statements have been given regarding Lee's Social Art & Therapy work in varied contexts. Lee is developing SA&T Ltd.
A private client (2017) attending the SA&T clinic, Woolwich, volunteered the following comment
In the summer of 2015, I suffered a life shattering emotional breakdown. I suffered from a severe depression combined with bouts of anxiety and insomnia for a long period of time. I decided to consult someone to help me understand what was happening to me. It literally was the best decision I made for me but also for my family.
Therapy has really been a lifesaver for me. The clinic I got support from, was a Social Art and Therapy space, a place completely different than anything you would imagine when you think of “therapy”.
It was a brightly lit environment with high ceiling and felt very peaceful. The studio was filled with paintings hanging on the walls, musical instruments lying in a corner, painting brushes, empty canvasses, crayons and everything you could possibly need to express yourself through art. Since I was never artistically inclined, I was initially weary being able to express my emotions or deal with my issues through art. But during our numerous sessions, we would either talk about things, draw/paint something or have an EMDR session. Combining these 3 methods over the course of my therapy helped me open up so much about my feelings, past traumas or phobias I had developed through my the past.
I went to therapy for about a year and a half once every week and it changed me tremendously. My therapist helped me to draw connections with between my current issues and previous experiences in my life and childhood, which had a negative impact on me today. This allowed me to, not just focus on how to prevent the issues affecting me but to fully understand them, making the acceptance and the recovery much more manageable.
It was a long journey, and digging in the past is a very painful and unpleasant journey to take to but it is the only way to cope with your emotions on a long-term basis. There were some evenings where I felt really good about myself after a session and some evenings where events from the past I had blocked for years resurfaced and hit me back right in the face, making me feel horrible.
My childhood had never been an easy journey. I have developed trust and abandonment issues. However, facing my past with the support of a professional was reassuring as I had the right guidance this time and it gave me the courage to have a voice and tell the people around me how I was doing instead of holding it all in. The therapists created some tailor made tools and mental tricks in collaboration with me to help me deal with day-to-day issues that may arise.
I cannot state how much important for me it was to fully understand my problems. Therapy simply made me realise that I was not crazy, but I needed to understand why I felt that way or behaved in a certain manner. I am glad I got the opportunity to thank my therapist as she literally changed everything and gave me my life back.
For me, the most important factor to have a successful therapy is to have an open mind about it and set up some goals you need to reach. But most important is to find the right therapist. I picked a female therapist, as I knew I could have never been comfortable and understood by a male therapist due to my past, and if you are not fully comfortable, you won’t be able to be yourself and talk freely. Also, one of the most important things for me from the start of my therapy was that I didn’t want to be on medication, as I wanted to face my emotions head on. Dealing with emotions and past traumas is extremely nerve-wracking, but I needed to do it to help with my depression and anxiety.
Today, I can state that my life has considerably improved. The way I deal with situations or people post therapy using the tools I learned with my therapist is the opposite of how I would have dealt pre therapy. I am a better person, wife and mother for my kid and I can never be more grateful to my therapist and husband for their support.