Kirsty's Experience of an Online Art Therapy Group Hi, I'm Kirsty and I'm the Art Therapy Programme Manager at Teapot Trust. We've recently been piloting online art therapy groups, which have been successful at providing peer support and a safe online space for young people to express themselves. Currently, we are partnering with North Edinburgh Arts to support some of their young people who are living with chronic conditions. I recently attended the group to show my support and experience it for myself. To ensure the safety of the young people, it's important to have two PVG checked adults in the group. Shelley, one of Teapot Trust’s art therapists, is facilitating this particular group for six weeks throughout September and October, with a rota of Teapot Trust staff supporting each week. This is great for us as a team, as it allows us to experience an art therapy group which helps support the work we do. Part of my role is to organise the logistics of the groups, so this was also a great opportunity to meet the wonderful young people we support. Whilst they were initially quite quiet as it was their first week as a new group, I could already see the peer support beginning to emerge, through the use of thumbs up emojis and positive feedback each child gave in reaction to others' artwork. I felt it was important to join in with the group as appropriate, to ensure they felt more relaxed and less like they were being ‘observed’ or ‘watched’. When the conversation turned to dogs, Teapot Trust mascot Lily even joined in the fun, and some of the young people showed their pets on screen too! As an icebreaker, Shelley asked us to draw where we would go if we had a magic carpet, with some 'visiting' exotic countries, and others exploring places from their imaginations. I joined in by drawing my holiday to Disneyworld, which was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic - the children's use of colour and different materials made their drawings much more exciting and experimental than mine! There was a wide range of art styles from the young people, from those using limited colour pallets, to others using lots of bright colours. Some of the young people commented that they liked seeing everybody’s drawings and unique styles, which was highlighted by Shelley. This was an important message for the young people to take away from the session – everyone is different, with something unique and special to contribute. If you would like to hear more about the online art therapy groups, or would like to discuss an online group to support young people you know with long-term conditions, please contact me at [email protected] I'd love to hear from you!