About Us

Key Aspects

  • A unique page based way of working with words, images and feelings to access different parts of the psyche.
  • The Page becomes a mirror that enables clients to see themselves more objectively from new perspectives.
  • Uses right-brain drawing and writing techniques to complement and extend the more common left-brain talking and cognitive processes.
  • A client-centred process of disclosure and discovery.
  • Accesses wise and resourceful parts of the unconscious.
  • Provides new tools for understanding and working with the clients therapeutic process.
  • A process directed method that follows the natural path of the psyche as it seeks to resolve issues and move on.

How It Works

  • The page is used as a therapeutic tool to mediate relationships between self and other, and one part of the client and other parts.
  • As clients layer from surface-level matters to deeper level issues, they naturally move their perception from literal and pragmatic talk about their external world, to symbolic and metaphoric image description of their internal world.
  • Through perception of self onto the page, clients are able to reframe, normalise, modify and re-write their beliefs and scripts.
  • Systematically alternates between left-brain and right-brain functions.
  • A client-centred, process directed therapy that allows the client to attend to their work whilst the counsellor operates from a more strategic and meta-level framework

Who It's For

  • IDT is used in a large number of applications by a wide range of helping professionals.
  • Can be used with individuals, couples and groups.
  • Helpful in short term crisis work and long term developmental work.
  • Particularly useful with clients who may not be verbally or conceptually fluent.
  • Can be used in simple reflective ways or more intensely at greater depth.
  • An easily learnt, user-friendly therapy that can stand alone or be used in conjunction with other modalities.
  • Since 1992, IDT has had over 8000 two day course enrolments in New Zealand and Australia.

In-house Training

As well as advertised courses, IDT also deliver in-house courses.

  • A set fee is paid, plus expenses.
  • The agency or networker select the course participants.
  • A cost effective way of providing in-house training.
  • Gives control of when and where course is, and who is on it.

For more information, please contact the office at Info@InteractiveDrawingTherapy.co.nz and information will be sent to you.


  • Healing the past
  • Futures work
  • Transitions
  • Projection and transference
  • Cognitive problem-solving
  • Planning
  • Decision-making
  • Exploring
  • Link
  • Self esteem
  • Clarifying attachment and motivation
  • Celebration
  • Strengthening
  • Grief
  • Existential crisis
  • Resistance
  • Trauma work
  • Overwhelm
  • Deprivation


Course Participants 

  • Counsellors
  • Social workers
  • Psychotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Youth workers
  • Spiritual directors
  • Supervisors
  • Coaches
  • Mentors
  • Nurses
  • Special needs educationalists
  • Hospice professionals
  • Managers
  • Mental-health teams
  • Addiction services
  • Alcohol and drug professionals
  • Teachers
  • Prison workers
  • Group facilitators
  • Mediators
  • Careers advisors
  • Support workers

Agency Course Participants

  • Problem Gambling Foundation of NZ
  • Stopping Violence Services, Wairarapa
  • Family Works Presbyterian Support, East Coast
  • N.Z.A.C. (Wanganui, Northland, Canterbury)
  • Birthright, Hawkes Bay
  • Churches Education Commission
  • Westside Counselling Services
  • Auckland District Health Board
  • Tu Tama Wahine O Taranaki
  • Te Kupenga Hauora, Ahuriri
  • National Association for Loss and Grief, Gisborne
  • UNITEC, Auckland
  • Youth One-Stop-Shop, Palmerston North
  • Porirua Youth Workers
  • Outward Bound, Anakiwa
  • Te Wananga O Aotearoa, Porirua
  • Child Adolescent and Family Mental Health Service (Hutt Valley, Rotorua)
  • Safe Places New Zealand
  • Northland D.H.B Mental Health Services
  • Christian City Counselling Company, Auckland
  • Presbyterian Support Services Hospices of Auckland
  • Waitakere Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre

History & Publications

Russell Withers


The IDT modality was developed by New Zealander, Russell Withers, whose counselling training consisted of Transactional Analysis, Gestalt therapy, REM therapy, CBT, Primal and Cathartic therapies, Psychodrama, and a substantive amount of Co-Counselling training (John Heron) as well as several years of individual psychotherapy (both Freudian and Jungian), and complemented by a high amount of group and individual therapy. Prior to Russell’s counselling career he was an award winning architect for over 20 years. Trained to diagram and make notes on the same page (as a device for clarifying the client’s needs, recording site conditions, exploring ideas, etc), it was natural for Russell to use pages when working with clients in a counselling context. Russell noticed clients would keep changing the drawing until they were satisfied that it was an accurate representation of both their situation and their needs.

Originally used in a more left-brained cognitive focus, the IDT method progressively revealed the symbolic inner-world condition of the client, and the power of alternating between left and right brain functions. Through rigorous recording and analysis of hundreds of client sessions it could be seen that the client’s words, images and behaviours change in patterned and predictable ways as they progress through the stages of their therapy. The IDT map of the therapeutic process is unique and a significant contribution to clinical practice. The theory-in-practice of IDT developed from the detailed collation and analysis of clients drawings in session. IDT has thereby grown out of the phenomenology of working with clients and remains a developing modality.

IDT is used by both professional and voluntary helpers across a wide spectrum of psychological and social services, and has been acclaimed as an innovative and inspiring resource that readily adapts to the differing needs of different client groups. To date, IDT training courses have attracted thousands of enrolments from around the world and from many different professions. IDT is widely recognised as a valuable, effective and proven way of helping clients and informing professional practice. Many agencies now incorporate IDT into their professional tool kit, and it has become an approved professional option for various training and accrediting institutions.

Academic Publications

Articles in the following publications are reprinted with kind permission of the Editors : New Zealand Journal of Counselling:

2006 Volume 26 Number 4
2009 Volume 29 Number 2

New Zealand Association of Counsellors, PO Box 165, Hamilton, New Zealand

The Withers R. Interactive Drawing Therapy Working with Therapeutic Imagery NZJC 26-4 2006 pp1

Everts H. & Withers R. A Practitioner Survey of Interactive Drawing Therapy as Used in New Zealand NZJC 26-4 2006 pp15

Stone. C & Everts H. The Therapeutic Use of Metaphor in Interactive Drawing Therapy NZJC 26-4 2006 pp31

Withers R. The Therapeutic Process of Interactive Drawing Therapy NZJC 29-2 2009

Withers, R. (2008). The use of imagery and metaphor when working cross-culturally. 2008 International Asia Pacific Rim Counselling Conference Presentations Disc: 4-9.

Everts, H. & Zhang, W. (2012). Interactive Drawing Therapy and Chinese Migrants with Gambling Problems. Online First, SpringerLink