Art Therapy

The meeting of art, forest and health

Rita Nunes da Ponte is one of Forest Therapy Hub’s professors. Her masterclasses on Expressive Arts are one of a kind. Not only for her experience but for her profound approach to art, people and nature. 

“It is as a member of SPAT’s training team that I am happy to coordinate our contribution to Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy with FTHub.

The Portuguese Art Therapy Society (SPAT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to training, research, and clinical application of Art Therapy. Having developed its own Art Therapy theoretical body, SPAT relies on almost 25 years of experience in the field.

Having formally studied Chemistry, I have always kept my interest in Arts, studying the cello in the Lisbon Music Conservatory, Ceramics in ARCO and exploring my own way in other fields of Visual Arts. It was in the search of helping others through my experience of creativity that I came across SPAT, 18 years ago… and it has been my inspiration ever since. 

In addition to training, I am also an Art therapy tutor, Art therapist and Art-psychotherapist, giving online Portuguese and English sessions. 

I would say the link between Art therapy and Forest Bathing & Forest Therapy is the self… self-awareness, self-expression, self-care, self-esteem… In general, self- improvement. Or in other words, the link between the two is their ultimate goal: promoting health and wellbeing. 

If humans are sensitive beings inhabiting a natural world, two things are essential in order to keep in contact with our humanity: a means of expression of feelings and Nature. The relationship with a trained specialized professional enhances the therapeutic potentials of either art or nature, enabling a profound, changing and integrative experience. 

Art therapy can enrich and inspire Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy with its specific knowledge about art mediums and their therapeutic potentials, enhancing contact with the inner self as well as with the outer one, nature around us.

When it comes to Art Therapy benefits, to make long stories short, I have witnessed children finding a safe way to express themselves, growing towards the sunlight with sound internal structure. Young adults getting in touch with their inner creative child, forgiving their hurtful past and moving on with satisfying relationships. Adults finding resilience within themselves. And elderly people finding joy and a reason to be. In all cases, I would say I have had the privilege of seeing people find the creative joy hidden within”.  

Rita Nunes da Ponte

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