Monthly Archives: July 2006

Without a trace

Without a trace

Their crime was called an act of ‘unparalleled barbarity’. Now the two boys who murdered James Bulger are men, their freedom and identities protected by the courts. So what has become of them?

By David James Smith Without a trace – Sunday Times – Times Online

(snip)He began art therapy, drawing faces with turned-down mouths and marks on the face, apparently re-creating the appearance of his victim. He was haunted by flashbacks of blood coming from James’s mouth. Venables told the art therapist she could sell the paintings for millions and she had to reassure him she would never do such a thing. He was acutely aware of his own notoriety and became hysterical, after the trial, when his and Thompson’s names became public knowledge for the first time. He said he feared becoming a new Myra Hindley, and spoke of his anxiety that people would break into Red Bank to attack him.

Malcolm Stevens saw correspondence from psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists across the world offering their help in treating the two boys, or asking to interview them for their own researches. These requests were refused, and the correspondence from the public – which was evenly split 50-50, between the kind, gift-laden letters and the unpleasant – was ignored. Stevens felt it could be distorting for Thompson and Venables to see any of it, especially the excess religious material reassuring the boys that Jesus loved them and forgave them. He could see how that might undermine their view of the seriousness of the offence.


Art therapy allows troubled clients to express hard-to-articulate feelings

Healing artwork speaks to counselor
Art therapy allows troubled clients to express hard-to-articulate feelings


This story ran on on Monday, July 24, 2006 12:11 AM CDT

 I One colorful collage shows an image of a rifle shooting a bottle of alcohol. One screams out in bold print, “Let’s talk.”

Another shows a car hitting a tree, killing the driver’s girlfriend, followed by images of drugs and booze, then the word “sobriety.”

These crude yet insightful collages — cut out of magazines and pasted together by local residents — are just one form of art therapy. The field is being used more commonly to help people struggling with mental illness, emotional problems, or other traumatic experiences.

“These pictures really do say a thousand words,” said Amanda Wyatt, a licensed mental health counselor with Porter-Starke Services, in between clients.

They are snapshots of where these clients were at a certain point in time,” said Wyatt, one of just 16 board-certified art therapists in the state.

Art psychotherapy emerged as a medical profession in the 1940s, but such forms of visual expression have been used for healing throughout history, according to the American Art Therapy Association.

In the early 20th century, psychiatrists became interested in the artwork created by their patients with mental illness, and also with war veterans who couldn’t express themselves in words and children who turned to art to vocalize their feelings.

Since then, the field has evolved into a distinct yet still fledgling medical discipline, which is still fighting for legislation in many states to be recognized as a valid clinical study, according to one national advocacy group.

“More professionals such as social workers, counselors and school counselors often refer students and children to an art therapist,” said Gayle Sutch, president of the Art Therapy Credentials Board.

Wyatt’s art therapy clients, who wished to remain anonymous, said art therapy is a way of speaking more than 1,000 words without ever opening your mouth.

Art therapy helps me realize all the things that I am when I tend to think of all of the things I’m not,” one client said.

“Art therapy helps me express feelings when I can’t find the right words to express them,” another said.

Wyatt sees between 45 and 60 clients a week in her Valparaiso offices, some who first think it’s a silly notion to create artwork to help solve deep-seated problems. But then they begin to understand the healing aspects of visual expression, Wyatt said

She typically tells clients that she carries two suitcases — her traditional counseling suitcase and her art therapy suitcase, borrowing from each throughout each session.

“Art therapy doesn’t give my client a voice, but let’s their voice be heard,” Wyatt said.


Art therapy professor to work with tsunami survivors

Emporia State University – News and Events Archive

Art therapy professor to work with tsunami survivors

Dr. Gaelynn Wolf Bordonaro is traveling with a team of American professionals to the east coast of India to work with tsunami survivors. Dr. Bordonaro, a second year art therapy professor at Emporia State University, has worked abroad in several countries including: Thailand, Australia, and Jamaica. She plans to work in Berlin in September.

Dr. Bordonaro is looking forward to “the interaction with another culture and country as well as getting to know the team and contributing to their efforts and to the people.”

In India the American team will work on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for two weeks. Professionals include pediatricians, physicians, occupational therapists, a clinical psychologist, a hearing aid specialist and an art therapist.

These remote islands were left with most of their services gone after the tsunami in December, 2004. Sangha an organization founded by Hina Sharma hopes to bring these services back to the islands. The team of professionals will spend their morning’s training and working with the people on the islands getting them back onto their feet. In the afternoons the team will spend time working with the community members and children.

To get this phone call to do what I like to do is tremendously rewarding,” said Dr. Bordonaro.

Dr. Bordonaro is the only art therapist on the team and hopes to use the art to assess the drama associated with the tsunami in children. She says that art is a normal activity for a child which makes it easier for them to express their emotions.

For more information on Sangha please visit


Art fights Alzheimer’s Assisted-living center uses painting to stir imaginations of dementia patients

Art fights Alzheimer’s –

Newsday Staff Writer

July 16, 2006

Norman Davidson’s memories are like the scenic watercolors he creates: moments frozen in the instant, imbued with the color of his sentimental interpretation.

The Bronx native learned to paint as a boy. Now, the gentle, 81-year-old man is caught in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease, incurable and devastating, and he slowly loses his memories.

Nothing has slowed his decline. But to cope with the fits of frustration that are part of the condition’s terrain,

Davidson has returned to his painting, this time as a form of therapy.

“It brings me back to my teenage years, when I used to do sculptures and stuff like that,” Davidson said recently outside his apartment at Bristal Assisted Living in North Woodmere. “My father also was an artist; we had a good relationship. But I taught myself.” Continued here

Qld flying doctor recruits art therapist for outback communities

Qld flying doctor recruits art therapist for outback communities. 17/07/2006. ABC News Online

Last Update: Monday, July 17, 2006. 1:00pm (AEST)Queensland’s Royal Flying Doctor Service is using an innovative technique to help improve the emotional well-being of rural and remote communities.

The service has employed its first ever art therapist to work with men, women, adolescents and children.

Sue Sweeney has taken up a job with the service’s mental health team in Longreach after working with the United Nations and in Sydney hospitals supporting cancer sufferers.

She says art therapy has a range of benefits.

“Art therapy is a very gentle way of working.

“The pressure is off people to have to talk so I think it enables them to explore how they are feeling and what’s going on, and being able to bring it out in a different way which perhaps isn’t as confronting as having to sit down and talk about how you’re feeling.”


Art therapy helps child abuse victims

Moneycontrol India > News > Art therapy helps child abuse victims > >

Art therapy helps child abuse victims

2006-07-06 16:15

New Delhi:

Child abuse victims often find it hard to express their feelings. But something as simple as drawing a picture can be healing now. Researchers in Hong Kong have taken Art Therapy a step further by combining it with Virtual Reality.

An eleven-year-old boy was a victim of alleged physical and emotional abuse by relatives. He had become so aggressive that it became too much for his parents to handle him.

They ultimately turned to Art Therapist Julia Byrne for help. “He was very closed. Closed up both in body and emotion,” Byrne says.

Instead of traditional therapy, she’s treating him in the Virtual World. This form of therapy is called Smart Ambience Therapy, which is a high-tech program that blends Art Therapy and technology. “We have two cameras, one at the top and one at the side by. With these two cameras, we are able to calculate the three dimensional position of the human; his speed and his acceleration and his gesture,” Professor, City University of Hong Kong, Horace Ip says.

In this kind of
treatment a child is brought into an interactive, 3D environment, where
movements are transformed into colours on the screen

The activity may feel like a video game to
the child, but it’s a really safe place to express emotions. The
program is still in an experimental stage at City University of Hong
Kong but social workers say that it is promising.

“Through the play they can express
themselves. So this is really a good way to help them relax and engage,
and then start working on the problem,” HK Family Welfare Society,
social worker, Shirlay Tang says.

Experts also believe that this high tech approach to Art Therapy could also be used to treat trauma and phobias.

Amrita Tripathi


Children channeling emotions through HeartSpeak art therapy

Chidren channeling emotions through HeartSpeak art therapy

Elise Rambaud

Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Midland Reporter-Telegram

In situations of violence and trauma, children are said to suffer the most.

But they suffer in silence because many children feel they have no voice.

A group of Midland children were recently given the tools to channel their emotions into forms of artistic self-espression in hopes that they could find their own voice.

Centers for Children and Families hosted HeartSpeak, an art therapy program for children who have experienced trauma, June 12-16. Kids ages 7 through 14 met at the Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum to bring forth beauty and hope out of crisis and emotional pain.

About 15 area kids collaborated with mental health professionals including Pam Smith, a therapist at Centers, and Fort Worth artist Jo Dufo to create “kid art from the heart,” Smith said.

“Many children here have been touched by violence. Our goal is help them find symbols that can help them express their reaction in a healing direction toward hope,” Smith said. “Often times children who have had experiences so traumatic, words as symbols are inadequate to express their response. What we’ve done is expose them to many different symbols as we taught the basics on how to create art to help them center themselves and find a calm, peaceful place within themselves. Continued…