As an art therapist, I have an interest in consistently expanding my knowledge base with CPD (continual professional development). I recently got the chance to participate in CPD in London with a fantastic charity, Gendered Intelligence UK.
The training saw almost 20 therapists come together to explore how we can best work alongside participants who are exploring their gender, transitioning, or who identify as trans, Agender, gender fluid or non-binary. I fully immersed myself in this training by making art and reflecting on my own experience of gender, and continue to do so by writing poetry, making art and sharing my creative experiences with others.
As a LGBTQI+ therapist I have always had an interest in supporting participants from the *queer community who happen to come to art therapy in the various settings I work in. Its important, however, to remember queer folk come to therapy for a whole host of reasons and while being from the LGBTQI+ community is a huge part of our identity it is not a sole reason for accessing therapy. That said many biases still sadly exist in Ireland and other parts of the world and the experiences of not being accepted in wider society is certainly something that can cause upset, fear and strong worries and can alone be a need for a safe space. Add to this the every day stressors all humans experience such as work/school stress, relationship issues, anxiety and what we see in the media and we see how any person could benefit from time spent making art and getting some of these experiences held safely by a therapist and indeed by the art!!
* Note: I use the phrase 'queer' as I feel it best encompasses my experience of the Irish LGBTQI+ community, others may use different language that suits them and I am respectful of this :)