Creative Expression Centre for Arts Therapy (CECAT)

Creative Arts Therapy (CAT) is an experiential psychotherapeutic approach that utilises various creative modalities within a therapeutic relationship. It is process oriented - purely expressive utilising creative processes to help consumers explore and express unconscious material often difficult to articulate in words.

CECAT is a state-wide arts therapy, community public mental health service located on the Graylands Hospital Campus. The primary focus at CECAT is increasing resilience, by improving the consumer’s self-understanding of thoughts, feelings and emotions through symbolic expression during the therapeutic process, guided by a trained Arts Therapist. Therapy is based on body awareness and therefore addresses trauma, emotional and physical dysregulation effectively.

CECAT staff work with consumers individually and/or in groups, using a range of creative mediums (visual arts – 2 and 3 dimensional, music and audio recording, creative writing, sand play and clay therapy) and processes to assist in the recovery of adults with a primary diagnosis of mental illness. Targeted therapeutic interventions are provided while developing creative problem solving, self-acceptance, self-understanding and emotional resilience.


Who is Eligible?

Consumers who:

  • have a major psychiatric diagnosis and will have ongoing involvement with public (and private) mental health services for the duration of their engagement with CECAT. Other referrals will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • are aged 16 - 65 years.
  • have their mental health management and care coordinated by a Psychiatrist and a treating team
  • are willing to make a commitment to engage and participate in the arts therapy process (individual and/or group programmes).
  • can function safely within an open studio environment and can handle equipment and materials with minimal supervision.
  • consent to an ongoing two-way exchange of information between CECAT, treating Psychiatrist, clinicians of the treating team and significant others.

CECAT Eligibility Criteria (PDF)


What does CECAT Offer?

Creative Arts as Therapy

Provided primarily through a ‘group therapy programme’. These sessions are aimed at exploration and self-expression through creativity, stimulating imagination and a sense of play, assisting consumers gain insight, self-knowledge and acceptance of their individuality. The creative process is more important than the outcome or artwork that is produced.

Creative Arts Psychotherapy

This is targeted therapy undertaken in a safe and supportive environment, either individually or in a group setting. Sessions focus on:

  • exploration and expression of unconscious material difficult to articulate in words.
  • exploration of and attention to embodied trauma responses aimed at increasing body awareness and physical and emotional regulation.
  • expression of feelings symbolically, improving self-understanding and resilience, developing new perspectives of self and the world.

Music and Audio Recording Program

This modality uniquely focuses on enabling access and participation for consumers to develop mastery in musical expression, supporting mental health recovery and enhancing Quality of Life. The Program provides individual and groups therapy sessions. Focus is on:

  • consumers accessing a range of instruments (including the Voice), song writing and recording of original and cover songs to explore engagement and self-expression.
  • providing a platform to capture the healing process and therapeutic progress, creating a tangible end product through the audio recording component of the program.

Exhibitions and Events

CECAT holds regular exhibitions and encourages social inclusion through community-based projects and live performances. However, the psychotherapeutic creative work undertaken by consumers is not generally exhibited or seen publicly.



CECAT accepts referrals from psychiatrists and mental health professionals for consumers under the care f public and private health services. Case management, care coordination and consent from the consumer to share information with CECAT is necessary. Referrals from other sources will be assessed on a case by case basis.

All referrals are screened to assess for eligibility and suitability for Arts Therapy. As we are a community service with no emergency back-up or immediate medical, nursing or allied health support, some referrals may not be suitable. This will be discussed with the referral source and information regarding alternative services will be provided where possible.

CECAT Referral Form (Word)

Last Updated: 19/06/2024