Integrative Arts Psychotherapy with Marybeth Haas

 Read the Conscious Arts Blog where I share ideas about connecting more deeply with yourself, others and the earth for greater well being.
Scroll down for further details under each heading
  • What is Integrative Arts Psychotherapy (IAP)?
  • my personal approach
  • What is IAP helpful for?
  • How does it work?
  • Ecotherapy
  • Pandemic arrangements
  • Qualifications
  • Fees
What is Integrative Arts Psychotherapy (IAP)?
In brief, IAP is a psychotherapeutic approach which actively encourages and works with the client's imagination alongside conversation to facilitate change and self understanding.

Psychotherapy literally means to heal the psyche or the soul. The following are all considered to be part of the purpose of psychotherapy: to facilitate the client's self awareness and exploration; to bring unconscious aspects of the client's psyche into consciousness because the more consciousness we have, the more choices become available to us in our behaviour and relationships. Additionally, clients are invited to explore alternative ways of relating to those learned in early life via the professional relationship with the therapist. This relationship, sometimes called the therapeutic relationship, is that co created between client and therapist, and experienced within clear professional boundaries with the overall purpose of serving the client's development and well being. Because I have attended my own personal therapy for over seven years, including throughout my four year training, I have in depth experience of what it is like to be a client. It was my early experience of psychotherapy having 'saved my life' that ultimately led me to want to have the privilege of helping others in similar ways.


I have studied a range of approaches to understanding human psychology, experience and behaviour. For example I have studied the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt Therapy, Attachment Theory,  neuroscience and more recently eco psychology. The purpose of an integrative training is for the therapist to gain an overarching understanding of the wide range of theoretical principles of how the human personality develops and how the psyche evolves and functions. This understanding can then be applied to the specific needs of a client. This means the way of working is adjusted and co-negotiated with the client in psychotherapy. It also means that my theoretical application and understanding is continually developing.
in this context is an all encompassing word whose meaning includes imagination, creativity, metaphor and symbol. This means that in therapy sessions we can work with anything from mark-making media to bodily sensation to mental images to dreams and more. There are unlimited possibilities of ways to explore clients' experience. Simultaneously, I have NO expectations of clients doing anything specific. My clients always choose how they wish to work in our sessions. 
I use imagination and creativity because they are scientifically proven to speak directly with the unconscious, through the right brain; therefore, deep understanding, insight and transformation can occur as a result of dialoguing with these aspects of the self. Through speaking directly with the unconscious in this way we bypass the logical mind which is so dominant in our Western cultures and whose dominance is a source of much suffering both personally and collectively. We can thereby access more quickly the unconscious material behind a client’s concerns or issues. An 'image' can be a mental picture, a dream, a bodily sensation, a scribble, a drawing, an arrangement of objects, a post card or photograph, a piece of music, a memory, a movement, a memory etc.
My personal approach:

Each client will require a unique approach to his or her problems and reasons for coming to therapy. I am led by what the client brings as well as my own theoretical interests; the beauty of an integrative approach is that I continually assess and deepen my awareness of the many ways of understanding humanness in a fluid way which keeps the client at the center of the therapeutic process.

The fundamentals of my practice involve being fully present, paying attention to the client’s process and using all of my senses as instruments to understand both what might be happening for the client and also within the dynamic created between us. The use of creativity, imagination and metaphor, through actual use of the arts and/or through paying attention to how a client describes their experience in terms of symbols and metaphors are also important in supporting the therapeutic process.

I see my role as facilitating and empowering the client in their self awarenesthrough the therapeutic relationship so that clients might experience their own choice process. By becoming aware of their process, clients discover their potential for making healthier choices within their life circumstances.

I believe that a person’s early experience will have a profound effect on their sense of self and on how they relate to others and the world as adults. Most of our beliefs and attitudes are unconscious, having been learned and taken on throughout our childhood without question; they rule our lives, often with painful consequences, without our awareness until we choose to ask ourselves life changing questions like: Who am I really? What is the meaning of my life? How can I feel fulfilled and connected with the world and others? How can I heal my pain? Psychotherapy addresses these and many more questions. 

I also believe there is a natural tendency in all human beings to evolve towards greater awareness and well being and that all human beings have an innate creative capacity. Pyschotherapy helps clients reconnect with their heart and soul, to heal the feeling of disconnection from the mystery and magic of life and the natural world. Our culture prioritises our material needs and desires at the expense of the sacredness and inherent connectedness of all of life. This split between what we are taught should be most important and the deeper longings in our hearts is the source of much pain and can be well attended to in psychotherapy. My recent explorations into the multidisciplinary field of eco psychology have confirmed for me how important a daily connection with nature is for cultivating balance between the demands of 'modern' lifestyles and the needs of our human soul, which is intimately connected with the soul of the world. These and many more ideas are discussed in depth in the work of well known theorists and therapists like Carl Jung, James Hillman, Nick Totton, Mary Jayne Rust, Anne Baring and Shaun McNiff. If we access our innate creativity through active use of symbol, metaphor, dream, image-making, then we can also have access to transformation and healing. If we spend time outdoors in nature and learn to honour and cherish our own animal bodies then we can find ways to heal our traumas and open our hearts to a deeper experience of connectedness with other beings and find ease within ourselves. I have come to understand these things through my own psychological and spiritual journey over the last 30 years and my beliefs and understanding continue to evolve because I am always open to the unknowable and continually unfolding mystery of life.

Psychotherapy, for me, is not only for individual healing, which is important and valuable in itself, but also benefits the collective because the more aware and pain free an individual becomes, the more open hearted they can be in their relationships and in the face of the world's challenges; because their pain is healed there is that much less pain being projected out into the wider world. Human consciousness is evolving and it is my privilege to be part of this evolution through my psychotherapeutic work.  

What is IAP helpful for?
Clients come for psychotherapy for any number of reasons including the following:
anger •  anxiety   bereavement  body image problems   childhood trauma   depression  
Low self-esteem   parenting and family concerns   Personal relationship problems
  sexual, physical or emotional abuse   stress  • spiritual crisis 

In addition, many clients simply wish to explore who they are more deeply, find more meaning and purpose in their lives, understand their own behaviour and relationship patterns, all without having any specific crisis to address.
How does it work?
Sessions are usually weekly at an agreed regular time and are 50 minutes long. We start with an initial session which usually takes place indoors in my usual therapy space where there is access to a variety of creative and expressive media like post cards, objects, paper and mark making materials. The initial session serves as a space for us to explore what your psychotherapeutic needs and wishes are and how we might work together. If we decide to work together we usually agree a block of 6 to 8 weekly sessions with the intention to check in about how the work is going after that. We will then agree to either continue or stop working together; we can also discuss any changes in how we are working together if that is relevant. We can, of course, check in at any time and I encourage clients to raise any questions they may have about our work as and when they arise because ultimately it is the client's therapy.

The length of time we decide to work together will depend on your reasons for seeking therapeutic support and what you hope to gain from the process. Significant explorations, insights and changes can happen within a limited time frame and with a goal orientated focus, usually 6 to 12 sessions. I have much experience of working this way especially within organisational settings. I have also found that the longer the engagement with the therapy process, the deeper and more sustainable the changes are for the client. Every client is different so if you decide to work with me, we will find a way that suits you and your current circumstances.

Actual sessions may include talking, image making, movement, silence, stillness or a combination of these and more. The process is led by you, with my guidance and support. 

We may talk about your history if this feels relevant to your reasons for attending therapy, but it is not compulsive nor is it necessary for me to know your life history in order for you to benefit from therapeutic support. I trust that if something from the past is relevant and important to your present experience, it will make itself known in the course of the therapeutic process. 

There are many different approaches to ecotherapy or working therapeutically in natural environments. The focus of outdoor work assumes that the issues you bring to therapy for exploration are experienced within the context of living within planet earth which is itself in a period of change and apparent multiple crises. This knowledge and our being part of the ecosystems in which we live impacts our feeling of well being and sense of agency. My primary motivation for working outdoors is to facilitate your healing relationship with the environment, whatever that means for you, within awareness of the wider perspective that includes earth. In sessions we actively explore your relationship with nature through paying attention to what is happening as we sit or walk somewhere outdoors. Time spent in nature is known to have many benefits and with a supportive facilitator, it is possible to dive more deeply into knowing yourself as part of nature. You may also find personal fulfilment simply by becoming more aware of your personal connection with nature. 
Outdoor work is weather dependent: we agree a time or times based on a good weather forecast and rearrange if the weather turns inclement. We agree a suitably quiet location around Hastings. It is important that we can maintain our privacy and that we are physically comfortable and safe. Sessions can be either 50 or 80 minutes if we are working outdoors.
We always have our first meeting via online video to discuss your needs and establish the best locations for our work.

Pandemic working arrangements:

During this time of the covid-19 pandemic, I am meeting most clients virtually through web based video conferencing. It is important that we assess your needs fully before starting work together because online  working is not necessarily suitable for everyone. 
It remains possible to work with imagination and creativity while working online.

If online working is not right for you, we may be able to meet in person at the Wellington Centre in Wellington Square, Hastings. There is a clear Covid safety protocol for in person working.

I currently have space for new clients. 

  • MA Integrative Arts Psychotherapy from the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education, 2010 (IATE: for further info regarding this training visit 
  • Certificate in Child Psychotherapeutic Skills using the Arts from IATE, 2011
  • UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) accredited since 2014. 
  • I follow UKCP codes of ethics for professional practice. 
  • I have regular Clinical Supervision with a senior UKCP registered Integrative Arts Psychotherapist.
Usual Fees: this area is currently being updated, please check back soon or contact for further info

Sliding scale for those with financial limitations :
With awareness of the financial challenges for some, particularly as a result of the pandemic, I offer a sliding scale for those who would otherwise be unable to afford regular therapy and who are able to commit to blocks of at least 6 sessions at a time. Please get in touch to discuss these options.
Please get in touch for a NO OBLIGATION discussion of your needs and whether I may be able to help you. 

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