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.

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