Investigating identity: introduction to art therapy

Burren College of Art Time, Space & Inspiration

Investigating identity: introduction to art therapy

Catherine Phillips with input from Dr Áine Phillips
21st Aug 2017 to 25th Aug 2017


Our identities are developed and defined from many factors and circumstances within our lives, some are chosen and some we are born with. As our life continues the experiences and the choices we make can alter how we define and perceive ourselves .
Over a five day period, we will seek to playfully immerse ourselves in our art-making process to explore and develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and our identity.
Day one will begin with Áine Phillips presenting the work of a variety of  visual artists who have explored and pushed the boundaries of identity in their work. Áine will then lead the group in a series of performative exercises designed to explore how we construct and project our identity. Catherine Phillips will conclude the day with a developmental history of art therapy giving a context for the following four days' work.
The following set of sessions - run over four days - will aim to introduce and immerse the group members into an art therapy process. We will create a supported and safe space, where we can playfully explore and begin to understand ourselves within this group.

No previous art making experience is needed, only the openness to explore.   
Catherine will facilitate the experience of using different art therapy exercises and techniques that would be used by art therapists in a variety of different work settings. The participants will gain personal experience of the potential of their art making process when created within an art therapy framework. The workshop will introduce the principles of art therapy practice to those who are considering future work in this field.

Catherine Phillips BA, PG Dip, MA, IACAT Reg.
Catherine trained in 1994 as an art therapist at the University of Hertfordshire, North London. She originally studied Fine Art painting at NCAD in Dublin where the image making process as opposed to the final painting begin to interest her as a reflection of one’s inner world. She now has over 20 years of experience working as an art therapist in a variety of settings. Her experience includes working with children and families affected by sexual abuse, foster children and their careers, adolescent and adult mental health and children in a variety of educational settings.
Catherine currently works on the Masters Art Therapy training at the Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork, delivering training groups, lectures and supervision.  She also works as the course tutor on the Principles of Art Therapy Certificate training. Catherine’s research and clinical interests lie in understanding the analytical art therapy group process. She has presented at NEAT, The Network of European Art Therapists 2014 and recently presented her work in ‘Common Space 2015’, a Conference in the Czech Republic and at the Art of Mentalizing: Communicating the Unknown, New York  2016.




The accommodation in our self-catering college housing is located within 10 minutes  walk from Burren College of Art. The  bedrooms are en-suite, bright and well appointed. Communal areas include a large living room with an open fire, dining room, TV area, well equipped kitchen, laundry and public washrooms.  A roofed patio area with chimney is an ideal outdoor summer gathering space. The housing has WiFi throughout and is wheelchair accessible.

Single rates are charged at €45 per person per night. Twin-room accommodation is also available for those wishing to share a room - please enquire separately for rates.

Although the availability of the college self-catering housing is limited, alternative options are available in various guesthouses and hotels throughout Ballyvaughan. For further information please go to or contact for our accommodation list.