Melissa McCracken

Melissa McCracken

TESSA Therapist

Antrim/Ballymena area

I am registered/accredited with:
I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and a full member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT).

Code of ethics observed:
My work is underpinned by the fundamental principles, standards and guidelines for good practice as detailed in:

· HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics

· HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Arts Therapists

· BAAT Code of Ethics and supporting Principles of Professional Practice and Guidelines.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW Hons) Queen’s University Belfast (Graduated 2015)

Masters of Art Psychotherapy (MSc) Ulster University (Graduated 2022)

Special interest/experience
Owing to my background in Social Work and experience of working with children and young people who have experienced the care system, my areas of specific interest include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), attachment ruptures and cumulative/complex trauma. Within my practice, I apply principles rooted in neuroscience to aid the healing process through sensory and somatic intervention approaches. I am able to offer sessions tailored to children and young people who have been adopted or who are currently in out-of-home care (kinship/foster care/residential placements).

Additional information:
Art therapy is the process of making art with the guidance and support of a professional art therapist. It is a form of psychotherapy in which the art is the main mode of communication, giving the client an alternative means of expression.

Through art therapy clients are able to explore their inner world, express and interpret their thoughts, feelings and emotions, develop greater self-awareness and gain tools to enable them to better cope with stress and anxiety.

Art Therapy can provide assistance and support to individuals facing a range of difficulties, disabilities, and conditions. These include emotional and behavioural issues, mental health concerns, learning and physical disabilities, life-limiting and neurological conditions, as well as physical illnesses.

Some issues that can be worked through in Art Therapy include; Anxiety, Bullying, Relationship difficulties (family/peers), Identity, Self-esteem, Pain-based/Self-harming behaviours, Stress, Suicidal thoughts, Transitions (primary to post-primary/youth to adult) and Traumatic experiences. For many clients the art process is simply helpful for soothing and self-regulating.

In my art therapy sessions, I strive to create a warm and confidential environment where clients can feel safe and nurtured. It’s a space where the client can freely explore a wide variety of art materials and express their emotions, whether through words or non-verbal means. My approach is centred around the client, taking into account their unique needs and preferences.

I work with clients of all ages, from children to older adults, and my therapeutic style is pluralistic and trauma-informed. Don’t worry if you don’t have any prior art experience – it’s not a requirement at all. Each art therapy session is personalised to suit the client’s individual needs, ensuring they feel comfortable and supported throughout the process.

I work with:
Although I am able to work with clients of all ages and stages, most of my work currently is with children and young people.

Lizzie Devlin

Lizzie Devlin

TESSA Therapist

Belfast/Greater Belfast County Antrim and Down.

I am registered/accredited with:
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
British Association for Art Therapist (BAAT), Member and approved by/registered with BAAT for Private Practice.

Code of ethics observed

MSc Art Psychotherapy with Merit (University of East London /Belfast Health and Social Care Trust) 2007-2010
Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Admin (UCD) 1992-1993
BA Honours in Fine Art (Painting, print-making/Art History (Leeds University) 1984-1988
BSL Stage 1, TEFL,Cert Com Dev 1988-1998
Ongoing CPD : Including Art Therapy and Treatment of Attachment Trauma, Level 2 Children Accelerated Trauma treatment and Intercultural Competency.

Special interest/experience
Art Therapy

Additional information
I am a HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) registered Art Psychotherapist experienced in working with children, young people and adults on a one to one and group basis.(MSc Art Psychotherapy, Centre for Psychotherapy Belfast and University of East London, 2011 ). I  have a background in Community Arts and my approach in Art Psychotherapy is Psychodynamic and Integrated.

Using art, play and creative expression is a natural language for children enabling them to communicate difficult and painful feelings.  Art Therapy can be particularly beneficial for children who have experienced early/developmental trauma and attachment difficulties. Art Therapy communicates when words simply cannot.

My experience of working with children includes: Looked After children, Adoption, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD and children impacted by Meningitis.

Specialist areas of clinical practice include early developmental trauma, Troubles related psychological and trans-generational trauma and PTSD.

I work with children and their Care-givers/Parents individually and jointly and with groups in many different settings both in schools and in the community.

Specialist training in trauma and attachment includes:

ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Train the Trainer Course (ACES Level 1 and 2) with the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.

Dyadic Art Therapy training with the British Association of Art Therapists , a joint art therapy approach involving children and their Caregivers/Parents which offers creative and playful activities, which can facilitate communication, discussion and benefit the relationship.

Children’s Accelerated Trauma Technique, Level 2, a child-centred technique for treating traumatic experiences and PTSD  developed in partnership with children and based on children’s rights principles.

CPCAB Level 6 Creative Supervision Across the Ages.

I see: Children, adults and groups