Frequently Asked Questions



General Questions


What is the difference between counselling and therapy?

Counselling is generally about addressing issues and conflicts we might have regarding our external world (such as relationships, career , finances, violence), and therapy is generally about addressing conflicts in our internal world (such as ambivalence, insecure identity, depression, unconscious instincts, age-regression into childhood material). Counselling is generally short-term and therapy is generally long-term. Counselling tends to be more directive and can include psycho-educational practices (such as the acquisition of new life skills). Therapy tends to be more non-directive and often works with unconscious matters (such as the changing relationship between client and therapist might be reflective of the client’s other significant relationships). The IDT therapeutic process covers both the behavioural and in-depth poles of psychological work.


IDT & Other Modalities


How does IDT relate to other modalities? How similar or different is IDT from Art Therapy?

IDT differs significantly from traditional art therapy. Although IDT works with ‘pages of imagery’ as a central part of its technique, it is not interested in art-making and does not employ graphic techniques to enhance creativity or self-expression. Several art therapists who have attended IDT courses report that IDT provides a structure that was missing in their earlier training. (see Q5). You might like to read about Allan Schore, an American neuroscience researcher whose findings validate a lot of IDT principles. The IDT therapeutic process follows the client’s natural path from “left-brain processed and surface-level ” issues to “right-brain processed and deeper-level ” issues. Cognitive-behavioural practices tend to suit left-brained, surface- level issues, and psychoanalytic practices tend to suit deeper land work, so the IDT schema can be used alongside many other therapies.


IDT Course Pre-Requisites


Are there any prerequisites to the Foundation course?

Unit One must be completed before Unit Two. These two units can be attended at different venues by different teachers. Enrolment in the IDT Foundation Course presumes participants have a mature level of interpersonal competency, good communication skills, a working understanding of counselling frameworks, and are able to put their own needs and preoccupations aside while they attend supportively to their partner during class exercises. Participants of the IDT Foundation Course include both professional “helpers” and volunteers from a wide range of professions.


I am a teacher and interested in IDT. Is it necessary that one is a Counsellor/Social Worker/Artist for IDT training to be of value?

People attending the IDT Foundation Course come from a wide range of professions including teachers. Other than normal interpersonal competency (see Q 3) there are no formal prerequisites required to attend an IDT Foundation Course. As a teacher, you will already be experienced in communication skills and have an in-depth understanding of the “helping” relationship. As a professional teacher you will ‘fit in’ well with the class participants. The 4-day Foundation Course will give you practical tools for working with students, and our follow-up 2-day Children and Adolescents workshop will guide you to work in a more focused way with each age group. It is quite not uncommon for some participants to feel a degree of uncertainty about their suitability for IDT training. We know from course evaluations that 98% complete IDT training with confidence and enthusiasm for the use of IDT in their work.


I am a qualified Art Therapist working with a variety of clientele – aged care, parents, private psychiatric hospital and with children. I am interested in your Children and Adolescents training course however, I am not sure whether your pre-requisite Foundation Course is necessary and whether my previous training would be beyond what would be covered in the Foundation course.

IDT differs quite markedly from Art Therapy, and we have had quite a few overseas-trained and qualified art therapists do both our IDT Foundation and Advanced Course training, (with some of them now qualified as IDT teachers). (see Q2). IDT has no interest in art-making, aesthetics, design, unstructured emotional expression, meaning-making or psychoanalytic interpretation. Refer to the publication section of this website for more published articles relating to Interactive Drawing Therapy. I am confident you will find your investment in the IDT Foundation Course training will provide you with powerful new tools of excellent value and unique content.


Foundation Course


I would like to enrol in an IDT course. Will I be refunded if I have to cancel close to the course start date due to family or health circumstances?

The policy regarding a cancellation is set out in the IDT Terms & Conditions accessible on the IDT website. Click here to view.


I am unable to attend the first day of the Foundation – Unit One course, but can make it to the second day. Will this be a problem?

You cannot miss any of the training days as this will be disruptive for the other participants each time you pair off for a class exercise – because you will not be able to “work” with them in an IDT-informed manner. In addition, you would miss a large chunk of the basic principles and practice of the IDT modality, and because each topic builds on the previous presentations, you would not be able to use IDT with any sense of competency.


Might IDT consider doing short half days or one day workshops so that there is less time taken off work?

The training days for all IDT courses are from 8:30am to 5pm each day. The courses are packed with information and experiential exercises, and experience has shown it is not suitable to minimise or shorten the workshops.


Does the Foundation Course contain practicum – such as working with children/adolescents?

All IDT courses/workshops have hands-on assignments. The Foundation Course assignments are generic and therefore not targeted at specific clients. Foundation Course graduates are welcome to enroll in the two-day Specialty Application workshops such as “Using IDT with Children and Adolescents”.


Personal & Physical Expectations


If, during IDT training, personal issues come up for me, how will I be supported?

It is up to each applicant to assess their readiness and suitability for IDT training. IDT training contains both didactic and experiential components and you will regularly be pairing up to practice (in both client and counsellor roles) the topic at hand. When in the client role you will be doing real ‘work’, so we encourage all IDT trainees to engage in extra therapy and/or supervision sessions to assist you prepare and process matters that the course might bring up. Although IDT courses are carefully structured and designed to maximise your learning in a safe and supportive way, there is always the possibility that a participant is not ready for experiential training that might touch on traumatic matters, or access disturbing unconscious material. Please read the two 2006 articles by Russell Withers on IDT (see website) and discuss your concerns with your counsellor and supervisor before enrolling if you suspect you might have difficulties.

In class, we rely on you to take care of your own safety by simply saying “pass” or “No thanks” if the class is having a sharing round or you are invited to participate in a role play. The IDT Unit One contains effective tools for helping a client if they become overwhelmed, and we will be teaching these as part of the curriculum. IDT training is essentially educational, and does not offer opportunity for individuals who are currently looking for sustained therapeutic support. Because the teacher has to look after the whole class and move ahead with the programme, they usually do not have the time to give ongoing personal attention to distressed class members. Please speak to the teacher in the breaks if you are finding the course too much at this time.


I have a back problem which prevents me from sitting for long periods of time, so will need to stand up, stretch, and perhaps move a little from time to time (probably every 1 or 2 hours). Will I be able to do this without disturbing the other participants?

Chairs are usually padded stacking chairs without arm rests. Seating is arranged in a U shape facing the teacher and whiteboard. As the course is experiential, there are frequent times throughout the training day where everyone breaks from sitting in the whole group, to move into pairs to work together. These will give you periodic short opportunities to move, but because you might need to stand, stretch and move during the seated “teacher” times, please select a chair near the back of the room so you can easily get up and move to the back to stretch and move around, without distracting the class. Please advise the teacher when you arrive so they can give you an easy-access seat. A brief comment to the class at the beginning of the day will help reduce any surprise.


The course is scheduled to take place during my 6-week post surgery rehabilitation period. Is it possible to attend IDT training during this time?

Participants are generally seated for the duration of each day – in the whole group, pairs and small groups (see previous question above). A degree of stretching could be incurred when moving your chair, or holding up the client’s drawing. Please discuss the situation, in confidence, with the IDT Office




Does the Foundation Course contain practicum – such as working with children/adolescents?

Could you please clarify what the IDT assignments are: practicum (observe & practice with coach/peers) or homework?

All IDT courses and workshops have hands-on post-course assignments. These contain simple experiential activities, designed to help you build confidence and some success in working with IDT at your current level of training. The Foundation Course assignments are generic and not targeted at specific or particular needs clients. Participants are free to ‘do’ their assignments alone or in groups. Foundation Course graduates are encouraged to join or form a local IDT Peer Support Group where they can meet and develop their IDT skills.

Assignments are not marked or commented upon. We simply want you to give them a go.

‘Using IDT when working with Children and Adolescents’ is a special two-day workshop for Foundation Course graduates. It also contains a few simple assignments.


Approximately how much time do I need to allow for the “homework” assignments, with self and with clients, for each unit?

The IDT Foundation Course has a section on one-to-one client sessions (4x 30minute sessions) with a brief comment on each. Secondly, there is a self-therapy session (4x 30minute sessions) with a brief comment on each section. On this basis, allow approximately 6 hours. Note that you are able to complete the assignments within your own time frame. Some participants elect to complete assignments immediately, and others take much longer. Assignments are done post-course, and we have allowed four hours all-up per unit for this additional time.


Do I need to have completed the Foundation Course assignments before enrolling in further IDT training?

You need to have participated in the full four-day Foundation Course, but it is not necessary for you to have completed the assignments in order to enrol in subsequent courses. Whilst the assignments aim to help consolidate your learning, they are not mandatory for enrolling in subsequent courses, – except for the Teacher training Programme which requires all assignments to be completed.


Professional Training Recognition


Does IDT issue a certificate of attendance with the number of professional points?

Are the IDT courses approved for PD points in Australia or New Zealand?

An IDT Certificate acknowledging completion of the Unit is issued on receipt of your assignment. The assignments can be completed in your own time. i.e., there is no specific time frame that we expect to receive them at the IDT office. The certificate identifies the number of course hours and post course assignment hours. The IDT Certificate also includes the logo of various professional associations that acknowledge the value of IDT training and the award of PD points.

IDT is informally recognized by the NZAC (New Zealand Association of Counsellors).

IDT is endorsed by the following Australian associations for professional development points:

    • ACA (Australian Counsellors Association)
    • OT Australia (Occupational Therapists Australia)
    • AASW (Australian Association of Social Workers)

You are able to attend IDT training and nominate to the APS (Australian Psychological Society) that you wish for this to be recognized as professional development. See the explanation provided by APS on their website as follows:

“APS Members can accrue Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours by participating in CPD activities that they determine to be relevant to their individual professional skills, learning plans, and goals. These may be self-initiated. CPD activities do not need to be endorsed by the APS”.


How many PD points will the Foundation Course Unit 1 attract as approved by the Australian Counseling Association (ACA)?

In terms of professional development points with ACA, each IDT 2-day unit equates to 21 hours of training. 2 points are allocated for every hour of training; therefore one IDT Foundation Course unit would earn 42 points. However, please check with ACA for confirmation as we understand members can only claim a maximum of 20 points per year for course work.


Ongoing Professional Development


In order to get a handle on IDT quickly and efficiently, do you suggest an advanced course OR professional development?

The best training sequence is that you start with the Foundation Course, then do the Intermediate and Advanced Courses, and then selected Specialty Application workshops. It is also helpful join a local peer support group for regular IDT get-togethers.


Is there a ‘refresher’ course on offer?

Yes. All courses are available as a ‘refresher’, and we have reduced the fees as an incentive.

Foundation Course refresher fees are currently $550 (for Early-bird registration) or $625 (for standard registration time). (NB. To secure the Early Bird rate, enrolments must be paid for at least 6 weeks in advance of the course start date). A single unit at the refresher fee is $325. All rates quoted (as of 1 January 2013) are inclusive of GST.


Career Pathway


Can you tell me whether once trained in this therapy, are there jobs?

Interactive Drawing Therapy Ltd provides training in the IDT modality to a whole range of professionals employed in the “helping” field. Participants to IDT training are learning about the modality and how to use it to add to their existing knowledge and for use in their own work with clients. IDT is an effective tool to add to the skills you already have and in this way you may find it invaluable in your work. Attending and completing IDT courses does not guarantee you employment but will complement your existing skill set. IDT does not offer a basic training in counselling skills, but supplementary tools to add to your repertoire. Different market sectors need different sorts of training.


Could you please advise us of the process of starting IDT through to becoming a teacher of IDT?

    • IDT training begins with the Foundation course made up of two consecutive 2-day units (total 4 days). Unit One covers the basic method and principles that can be used immediately with clients. Unit Two puts that in a wider context and shows how to change the use of IDT at each stage of the client’s progress.
    • Further-on IDT training includes the Intermediate and Advanced courses (each three days long).
    • Next is enrolment in the” IDT-based Supervision” two-day workshop
    • Then the Teacher-training Programme commences.
    • Further optional training may then be completed in the professional development courses, such as Children & Adolescents, Group Work, Couples and Family Work.

Besides participation in the above courses and workshops, applicants must have:

      • Completed at least twelve calendar months of regularly using IDT with clients.
      • Hold full membership in an appropriate professional association.
      • Have good communication skills with a minimum of General IELTS or equivalent of 5 in English.
      • Completion of appropriate training in interpersonal and counselling skills.
      • Have current clients and use IDT as one of your your primary modality.
      • Have had a minimum of one year’s regular (monthly or more often) 1:1 supervision with a professionally recognised supervisor, and have an on-going current supervision contract.
      • Have good leadership qualities, and have experience in facilitating groups of adults.
      • Can demonstrate good self-reflection, objectivity and awareness of own responses.
      • Have the professional readiness, organizational and financial resources to do well in the Teacher-training programme.
      • Applicants must be mature and appropriately motivated.
      • Applicants must have ready access to therapeutic support as part of their learning and use of IDT, as well as for processing personal matters that may get brought up during course training exercises or assignments.

To discuss IDT training, contact us by email at or phone the office on (+64) 9 376 4789.

Last updated 23 April 2013