Daily Archives: June 19, 2006

Primary school art teacher promotes art therapy techniques to diagnose stress


Primary school art teacher promotes art therapy techniques to diagnose stress
video By Joanne Leow,
Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE:  Many feel that art is good for the soul –  but what about for stress?

One primary school teacher feels, there could be more structured ways
in the school system here to tap into art therapy techniques to help
stressed out students.

“Through the art making process, the children actually reveal their
problems or emotional conflicts through art unconsciously, that is why
I think this is ideal. We want to know what is actually inside them,
the inner child inside them, unconsciously, rather than we actually
confront them directly,” said Teffany Chia, a teacher at Yio Chu Kang
Primary School.

Teffany says it would take a trained practitioner to diagnose their mental state from their art.

What she hopes to see is trained counsellors pairing up with art teachers to practise drawing techniques with the children.

Another technique called “blind contour drawing” where the kids
trace the outline of an object without looking at the paper could also
be used to aid students.

“The pupil has to focus on the line while they are tracing out the
subject, while they are doing that, it’s a conscious effort to train
them to forget all other distractions. This is quite good for them to
go through it and search for themselves, what is happening in the world
inside them, just to create awareness,” said Teffany.

Teffany recently received a post graduate degree in Arts Education and learnt about these techniques in the UK.

Teffany says she hopes to see a move beyond just art production in
primary schools to an approach that includes a therapeutic aspect.

But until then – it looks like these kids are just having fun making art. –
Source: CNA /dt

Get creative and colour your life

Get creative and colour your life

Art therapist Andrea Brand says being creative gives people a sense of their inner world – which is the first part of transformation

June 14, 2006 By Jeanne Viall

How you respond with your crayons or paints to a large piece of white paper may tell you a whole lot about what’s going on in your life.And we’re not talking only about the images that emerge, but also the thoughts and process you go through as you create.Creative therapist Andrea Brand works with people to bring movement to the places we get stuck in, whether they be habitual thoughts or actions.She works in the corporate sector, with groups and teams, and one-on-one with adults and children.For many people it’s daunting to “do art”, but it’s the process that’s significant here, not the outcome.

Brand’s Colour Studio in Rondebosch is a place that invites you to play. “My passion is colour,” she says. “I use colour as a form of energy to get the creative juices flowing.”Colour works at an emotional level, she explains. You feel differently when you work with blues instead of reds, for example.In front of me is a huge piece of white paper, some crayons and some paints. I’m invited to express myself and to observe as I do what thoughts come up, what judgments and where I get stuck.People mistakenly think that in art therapy the therapist “analyses” your imagery.

That’s not how Brand works. Rather, she’s on hand to help me when I get stuck, and is a guide in my process.”Often what you do relates to life directly,” says Brand. “For example a person may be afraid of making a mess, so they can’t get started. Or because it’s the unknown, and they’re afraid something won’t work, they don’t do it.”Our own judgments about ourselves are often fiercer than any other – we all carry our inner judges with us, especially around our creativity. In this process you meet them and can transform them so that they don’t stop you from creating what you want in your life. Continued….

Cape Argus – Get creative and colour your life

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New book captures the voices and art of African child refugees

New book captures the voices and art of African child refugees

16 Jun 2006 12:32:11 GMT
Source: UNHCR

As the young refugee “Jenny” read out the traumatic experiences she had faced in her journey from tribal massacres in Burundi to a new life in South Africa, her voice grew increasingly strained, faltered and then halted.For the audience assembled at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, there could not have been a better demonstration of the emotional power conveyed by the personal stories appearing in a new book, The Suitcase Stories: refugee children reclaim their identities.

The book, a by-product of an innovative programme providing art therapy to refugee children, contains both their stories and the drawings they made of their experiences.”Then my parents died. They just burned the house of my family,” reads the transcript of the story told by Jenny, who like all the participants chose the name used in the book. “All my family was living in that house – my mother, my daddy, my other aunty, my mother’s sister, my brother, my sister.

I don’t know why, still now, why they burned the house. I wish to find out.”Just three years old at the time, she survived only because she was with another aunt during the attack. In the following years she faced life in exile in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. One day when she was 11, she had the sudden realisation that she would never see her mother again.”I asked God: ‘Why did you take my mum away from me?’

And it was like, what can I do next? Let me do some action here that I will never forget in my life,” Jenny related. Taking her younger sister, she made her way south to a country about which she had only the vaguest knowledge.Eventually arriving in South Africa – where they did not speak the language – the two girls lived on the streets of Johannesburg for weeks before they were taken in and given shelter.

Now 20, she sells clothes in an informal market.Jenny was just one of a group of children who Glynis Clacherty, a South African child researcher, saw needed psychological help. The aim – when she first thought of the project in 2001 – was not a book, but to let the children come to terms with their experiences by speaking about and drawing them.Children were given old suitcases and told they could decorate the outsides with paintings about their lives. At the same time, Clacherty recorded long conversations with the children in which she let them tell of their experiences.

Both the artwork and their words are in the book, which was unveiled six days before ceremonies for World Refugee Day are held globally on June 20.”When I first met this group of young people, one of the young women said to me: ‘I want you to help us with a book so people will know why we came here,'” Clacherty said. “And that is what we did. Each one of these children has a remarkable story to tell.”Proceeds from sales of the book will go to fund the continued operation of The Suitcase Project for more refugee children. In addition, T-shirts inspired by the art of the project were unveiled at the book launch.

The profits from the clothing line, designed by Johannesburg-based Frances Andrew, will also go to the project.”They are not just victims, they are survivors. They have overcome difficulties with remarkable courage,” said Clacherty. “They are real human beings, they are not just refugees.”Clacherty started the project with art teacher Diane Welvering, subsequently gaining support from the UN refugee agency and other organisations. It also merged into UNHCR’s study into violence affecting refugee children, which in turn provided insights that will be used in the UN Global Study on Violence

Against Children due out later this year.The children from The Suitcase Project were included in UNHCR workshops using artwork to draw out children’s ideas and experiences on violence. Subsequently five were included in a regional UN meeting in which children not only discussed their experiences as a group, but proposed solutions to protect against further violence.Many who were children when Clacherty launched her project are now young adults and the plan is to draw in a fresh group with the resources from the book and T-shirts.

Many of those who took part joined Clacherty on the stage at the book-launch and their painted suitcases covered the tables.”None of the children want to be labelled as refugees in their present lives, so they have chosen to remain anonymous,” Clacherty wrote in an introduction to the book, “The names they chose to replace their own all have significance for them; they are names of lost parents or special friends from their home countries.”As

I have worked with these stories I have been struck by the sadness, the loss, the displacement that the children have experienced, but also overwhelmingly by their resilience, their ability to make a plan and often to see the funny side of what is happening to them.”

Further information on The Suitcase Project, the book and the T-shirts is available at: http://www.suitcase.org.zaBy Jack ReddenIn Johannesburg, South Africa

Reuters AlertNet – New book captures the voices and art of African child refugees

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