Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patientDoctor and patientDoctor and patient


In this section, you can find the following information:

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses creative processes to improve a person's physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It also involves therapeutic conversations between client and therapist.

The creative process of drawing, painting, using clay, collage or the many other mediums available, helps the person to use the images to express and communicate matters that are known, unknown or not able to be spoken about.  The process assists to find a voice when words are difficult to be spoken, connecting us with deeper parts of our selves, giving voice to what our conscious thoughts often want to ignore. 

Expressing creatively supports the mind-body connections and assists in developing stronger self awareness.  The images and symbols expressed can lead to faster understanding of the issue or concern and provide a safe container for continued processing and integration to occur. Greater self-awareness reduces the impact of stress and helps us function more effectively.

The Art Therapy process is very life affirming and aimed at improving health and wellbeing.  Art Therapy is not about being an artist and no prior art experience is necessary. It differs from traditional art in that the emphasis is on the process rather than the end product, although many finished creative art works add to the enriched experience. 

Our specialist Art Therapists work with: Stress, PTSD, Trauma, Anxiety, Disability, Depression, Bereavement, Carer Issues, Relationship issues, Chroinic illness/conditions, ABI - Acquired Brain Injury, Grief, Loss and major life change.


 “My drawing helps me to express my frustration. It’s so good to get it out and I feel so much better afterwards.  Being supported and understood by the art therapist also helps me to be calm and focus on manageable goals”.

“Art Therapy helped me to express much that I have been holding within for many years.  I feel like me again.”

Art Therapy in Rehabilitation

Art Therapy in Rehabilitation

The Royal Talbot Art Therapy Service was established in 2001 and has provided individual and group therapy to in-patient and out-patient clients of Austin Health.  The service supports people undertaking rehabilitation who have a chronic health condition or who have experienced trauma or disability via injury or illness including: Stroke, Acquired Brain Injury, Spinal Injury, Neurological Conditions, Amputee/Orthopaedic Conditions and Brain Disorders. Art Therapy for rehabilitation patients can differ greatly depending upon the conditions we are working with. 

Examples of patient experiences include but are not limited to:  

  • Improved Communication - gain a 'voice' via the creative art work
  • Memory difficulties - the more a patient participates in art therapy we have noticed that memory improves around the 'art work'. Good memories of life events also surface in the art work and bring joy in sharing those special times. Another patient remembered where she sat at the table and told us she still had some of the art she created when she was in the studio, stating that "getting it out on the paper" the emotional pain of her experience at the time, had really helped her in her recovery and that she never forgot how this had a huge positive impact on her.
  • Improved focus, attention and concentration for longer periods
  • Improved awareness when there is a sight deficit.  Helping to adjust and include the deficit area as the art therapy session progress.
  • Relaxation by 'doing' the art work and forgetting the emotional and physical pain.  Many patients stating that "oh I feel so much better now and I really enjoyed that.  I didn't think I was creative at all but now I can see it's so good for everyone."
  • Express grief and loss, gain understanding and slowly integrate the experiences to reach improved health and well being. 
  • Express anxiety and feel more relaxed.  There are many different art therapy techniques we use that will assist this work.  
  • Express depression via the creative work, helping to find new ways to better manage depression and gain relief.  Many participants have stated that "art therapy was the only thing that helped their depression and they wished that everyone has access to the program".    
  • Art therapy group work provides an accepted social space and improves community connectedness, no matter what their injury or illness is.  Helps to realise they are not alone."It's so good to be with other people who have had similar experiences and I don't feel I'm alone anymore.  I really feel heard and understood."
  • Functional help. Learning to use hands and fine motor skills again.  Clay work helps to focus on hand movements when modelling with the clay. 
  • Assists to focus on physical rehabilitation goals "The relief I felt by expressing creatively took many of my fears away and I was then able to understand why I had to keep going with my physical therapies.  It cleared my head of the bad thoughts"
  • Helps with pain and symptom management "all my pain disappeared while I was focused on my painting"
  • To have fun

Grief, Loss and Bereavement

Grief, loss and bereavement experiences for some people are very difficult to navigate and can be exhausting and debilitating.  The pain of loss when a loved one dies can be unbearable and overwhelming.  Feelings of isolation, loneliness, sadness, confusion, uncertainty, anger and fear may become regular unwanted companions.


Creatively expressing is safe, gentle, supportive, understanding and provides a secure environment for the person to slowly express and process the emotional pain of the loss.  Too often we are told to 'move on' when what is needed is to be heard and understood. When we are heard, validated and supported our capacity to support other's increases and compassion fatigue decreases. 


After my husband died I had to go back to work, I struggled to do my job, always in tears.  I was threatened that I might lose my job unless I move on and get over it.”  This lady used clay to make a container for her grief to be 'cared' for at home and made personal symbols of strength, that were helpful to take to work. 

Metropolitan and Regional Art Therapy Services

We are able to provide Art Therapy services across the Melbourne Metropolitan and Regional areas of Victoria.  Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Acknowledgement flags

Austin Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
We celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.