Featuring Professional Member: Ka Yan

Our professional member Ka Yan will be sharing her journey as an art therapy with us in the interview below. She is a UK Trained Art therapist who is currently serving children and youths in Hong Kong to support their emotional needs and personal growth. 

  1. What made you choose art therapy as your profession?

Art therapy is not a popular profession in Hong Kong back to ten years ago. I was lucky to meet a graduate student who shared there is a profession which is helping others by using art and psychology. It sounds interesting to me as I was always wanted to work in NGO to serve people in need and also believe the power of art would heal people's hearts.

  1. How much does your art therapy training program form your way of being an art therapist?

The postgraduate study plays a crucial part in my way of being a responsible art therapist. Not only the practice knowledge but also the sharing from different art therapists (professors, speakers and ex-students) and the interaction, learning from other students (their practice, thinking and behaviours). All those experiences plus placement learning enrich my understanding of how to be an art therapist with a caring attitude and led my way to a registered art therapist (HCPC, UK).

  1. What is your practice theory in your practice?

The person-centred, psychodynamic approach is used in my therapy work. The person-centred approach believes that people do best when they experience empathy and are not judged. It promotes empathy, non-directivity, self-expression and creativity in the therapeutic use of arts.

  1. What target group(s) do(se) you serve most?

I am serving the children and youth groups most recently. I mostly work in school and sometimes work in day centres to help students with special educational needs in group therapy to solve their emotional needs and personal growth as well. In the future, I would like to serve older adults as they are the group with fewer resources and less focus from society. 

  1. What materials do you use the most in your practice? Or What are your favorite materials to use in your practice?

Due to the limitation of some venues, the double-sided marker pen is the material I use most in my practice as it is easy to carry with different sizes and colours. The participant is easy to handle when using it on a different surface (paper/plastic/aluminium).

On the other hand, clay is my favourite material to use in my practice. It would be suitable for all ages. It is a natural material so it can relate to the earth/starting/humans. It may also allow the participant to release their emotion by punching, throwing or even stepping on it. It can be messy but also soothing and playful to play like a toddler. At the same time, it is formless, it can be anything. Most people enjoy the time playing with clay and so do I.

  1. What kinds of metaphor(s) or symbol(s) that you can use to describe art therapy? Please explain

Art therapy is like a seed. It may allow the participant to grow into different forms of flowers/trees/fruit with the assistance of an art therapist. We made use of water, soil and sunshine (art material, art making and safe space) to pamper the plant to grow.

Artwork Sharing: Snowflake The colourful tone implies a kind of good start happened in the therapeutic relationship. I sewed to imitate a mother trait, to represent the maternal holding environment I created for clients. By doing so, I attune their feelings.


  1. When do you join HKAAT? What is the reason for joining?

In 2021, I joined HKAAT after graduating with a MA master course in the UK because I want to get familiar with the art therapy field in HK. The HKAAT leads me into the working field and once I represented HKAAT to promote our association to the public at a local art event.  I appreciate the help of HKAAT and other professional members in leading me growth steadily over these years.

  1. What do you think of the development and prospect of art therapy in Hong Kong?

The future of art therapy is positive and rising. Society becomes more understanding of it and needs art therapy in helping various groups. It can be told by the growing request from schools, social services associations and private cases.

Artwork Sharing: Let It Flow Pandemic emerges in each century. In HK, we are not only busy with fighting the virus, but also tackling the economic recession which drifted by the disaster. Human seems sailing over its economic system, to survive with full spirit. No matter what, as a human being, we could only follow the flow.


  1. What do you think HKAAT can offer to support or to further develop the field of art therapy in Hong Kong?

It would be better to get recognition from the authority, like in the UK, USA and Australia, it needs to register under a government body before practising art therapy. The public would then have more trust in art therapy in helping them. In so,  the development would be more prosperous in the coming future.

  1. What do you think you can offer to develop the growth of art therapy in Hong Kong?

It is my honour to join the EXCO team in 2022. We assist in the running of introduction courses, study groups and master classes which bring up-to-day art therapy knowledge to the public and professional members.

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