Art Therapy, the Creative Process and the Unconscious


COURSE DATES: Tuesdays, 2nd July – 20th August 2024

TUTOR: Matteo Merla


TIMES: 6:00pm – 9:00pm


FEE: £280

LOCATION: Mermaid Court Campus, 165A Mermaid Court, SE1 1HR

This module will provide an introduction on the topic of “Art Psychotherapy” exploring the main theoretical frameworks and concepts through which art psychotherapy is understood and practiced in UK. The course will also introduce the professional context in which Art Psychotherapy is practiced within different clinical settings by using clinical case studies, presentations and group discussions. The program will also offer an overview of Art Psychotherapy training and career pathways currently available in the UK.

This course offers an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Art Psychotherapy with experiential and creative workshops with particular emphasis on the central role of the images and art making as a holder of client’s emotional experience and as form of non-verbal and unconscious communication between client and therapist.

Using a wide range of art materials, the facilitator will support participants with integrating a creative aspect to theories learnt on the course. No previous experience of art making is required but the workshops will include group discussions and reflective conversations. Therefore, it is important to be prepared to contribute while taking part in these workshops.

Please note that although the workshops have a strong experiential component and an element of self-reflection they are not intended to provide ‘Art Psychotherapy’ as such to the participants. As Art Psychotherapy is a specialised and regulated form of Psychotherapy and it is largely underpinned by Psychoanalytical theories. These series of lectures and workshops will be facilitated by a qualified and experienced state-registered art psychotherapist currently practicing in a variety of settings in the NHS.

We stress that completion of the “Introduction to Art Psychotherapy” course does not imply that you can practice Art Psychotherapy nor does successful completion of the Foundation Course guarantee a place on any qualifying Master Degree.

Recommend booking by: June 18, 2024

All Levels

All attendees must be aged 18 and over.

This course is suitable for all levels. Students can move at their own pace depending on their experience, with as much support from the Tutor as they wish. This means an student from the following experience levels can join this course:


Choose a Beginners course if you are looking for a broad introduction to the medium you are studying. Our Beginner courses are suitable for students with no prior experience.

Beginner +

Choose a Beginner + course if you are looking to hone your skills, focus on a specific subject area and build your confidence. These courses are suitable for those with some basic skills in and knowledge of the taught medium.


Our Intermediate courses are suitable for students who have considerable prior knowledge of the taught medium or have completed a Beginners/Beginners + course with the Art Academy.


Choose our Advanced courses if you have considerable knowledge in the taught medium. You are expected to be able to work independently and have critical discussions around your work.

All materials are provided. You are welcome to bring your own sketchbook, if you would like to take notes.

Please find below a reading list recommended by the tutor. This is not required reading.

  • Edwards, D. (2014) Art Therapy: Creative Therapies in Practice. 2nd Edition. Sage: London
  • Jung, C.G. (1963) Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Fontana.
  • Jung, C.G. and von Franz, M.-L. et al. (eds) (1964) Man and His Symbols. London: Aldus.
  • Schaverien, J. (1999) The Revealing Image: Analytical in Art Psychotherapy Theory and Practice.   Jessica Kingsley        Publishers. London.
  • MLA. Estés, Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run with the Wolves : Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. New York :Ballantine Books, 1992.
  • Peter Hobson: The Cradle of Thought: Exploring the Origins of Thinking


This module will be delivered by Matteo Merla who is a practicing Art Psychotherapist Since his degree in fine art, Matteo has been working as a social artist with the aim to recover a concept of creativity as a therapeutic intervention within communities. Such projects have taken place in many countries such as UK, Italy, Israel Palestine and Greece. Since qualified in Art Psychotherapy Matteo has been working in various NHS settings earning the ability to work creatively with people suffering mental health difficulties using a number of evidence based clinical methodologies that help to create a safe and healthy environment and to empower patients to use art as a therapeutic tool. Matteo has also contributed to deliver various creative wellbeing workshops for NHS staff and teams. As well as working as a clinician, Mateo has a strong interest in teaching and contributes to delivering art therapy summer schools and foundation courses with various institutes and educational providers in the UK.

Mermaid Court

165A Borough High Street London SE1 1HR tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

Nearest Tube/ Rail: London Bridge or Borough (both a 5 minute walk).

Please note that London Bridge has two exits, the most direct route is to follow signs to “Borough High Street”.

We cannot store your bikes at the Academy, however there is on-street bike parking near our Mermaid Court site.

Students are welcome to use our Common Room during break times, where you can prepare hot drinks and/or food.

You are also welcome to make tea or coffee.

Terms and Conditions

  • By booking onto one of our courses you agree to our Short Courses Terms and Conditions.
  • You will need to have paid in full before the first session of your class. Your place is not guaranteed until we have received full payment. Please book early in order to guarantee your place on the course.

Materials & Equipment

  • If you purchased a pack online this will be given to you on the first session of your course upon your arrival. Packs can be booked on our Materials Page or on this page when you book the course
  • Please don’t wear your best clothes as there is always a chance you will get messy. If possible bring an apron or overalls.
  • All artwork at the Academy MUST be taken home at the end of each session where possible, with the exception of oil paintings and sculpture works.
  • We cannot store materials at the Academy, so please take these to and from your sessions.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or is on silent during the class.
  • Health and Safety Guidelines will be provided to you a week before the start of your course.

Concessions and Discounts

We offer a number of concessions and discounts, please find more information on what we offer here.

Gift Vouchers

If you would like to purchase a gift voucher to be used on our courses then you can purchase these here.