Art Psychotherapist (HCPC, BAAT) & EMDR Practitioner (EMDR UK)
Hello, thank you for taking the time to read my profile.
I am Matteo Merla, an art psychotherapist with eight years of experience in both NHS and private practice settings. I’m passionate about aiding individuals facing various mental health and social challenges, promoting a safe and nurturing environment, and fostering creativity to facilitate personal growth.
My professional journey began in 2015 within the NHS, where I have had the privilege of working across diverse clinical contexts, including acute wards, forensic inpatient units, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and, most recently, Community and Wellbeing Services.
I have worked extensively with individuals affected by a range of mental health difficulties, encompassing personality disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia, self-harm, and relational issues.
In 2018, my specialization evolved towards assisting individuals in their recovery from traumatic experiences. My contributions include participation in the development of an NHS service dedicated to aiding victims of a disaster, spanning individuals, families, and local communities struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Between 2020 and 2022, I undertook advanced training in evidence-based therapeutic modalities focused on children and young people such as Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) and Children Accelerated Trauma Technique (CATT). These approaches complement my art therapy practice or can function as standalone interventions. I have also cultivated an awareness of the broader impact of therapeutic interventions on clients’ systems, which includes family, friends, school, and the local community.
More recently, in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic and other global events, I have diversified my skill set. In 2022, I completed training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), with a focus on aiding young individuals to understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. My approach incorporates various therapeutic techniques, such as talk therapy, art, drama, music, play, mindfulness, and the integration of modern technologies, including photography, computers, and Virtual Reality. This method aims to create a secure space for individuals to explore their emotions and their influence on choices and behaviour.
When working one-on-one with children and young people, I maintain confidentiality. However, I acknowledge the importance of engaging the entire family and, when necessary, collaborating with schools and local authorities to ensure that all stakeholders are informed about the therapeutic process and its progress.
Before my NHS tenure, I gained invaluable experience by working for several years with UK organizations focused on individuals with special needs, including those with diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning difficulties, and challenging behaviour.
My therapy sessions are tailored to suit individual needs, offering short, medium, or long-term options, either on a one-on-one or small group basis. I conduct up to three initial assessment sessions to explore concerns and issues collaboratively and establish a treatment plan, prioritizing the safety and well-being of both clients and the therapist.
Throughout my practice, I uphold professionalism, adhering to the guidelines set by esteemed organizations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC), and the British Association of Art Therapy (BAAT). Moreover, I am fully insured and possess an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.
I look forward to discussing your specific needs and addressing any inquiries you may have.
Additionally, some of my other interests include:
- Educational Commitment: Beyond my clinical practice, I have been offering art therapy summer schools and foundation courses at renowned institutions in the UK, including Roehampton University, Brunel University, and Art Academy London since 2017.
- Team and Well-being Enhancement: Since 2019, I have been a part of the NHS CARE Project, dedicated to assisting healthcare teams and organizations in recovering from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. My contributions include facilitating team-building and well-being workshops for NHS staff, corporate entities, and educational institutions.
- International Outreach: My journey as an art therapist extends globally, involving humanitarian projects in the UK, Italy, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Greece. My mission is to uncover the therapeutic potential of creativity within diverse communities, including refugees, orphans, war survivors, and individuals with chronic physical illnesses.
***If you are in need of more information and guidance about therapy, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page.***