Monthly Archives: August 2006

Home Is Where the Art Is – Mental Health – MSN Health & Fitness


Home Is Where the Art Is

A healthy way to work through trauma.


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The film opens with a tight close-up of a freckle-faced girl in studious wire-rimmed glasses. She’s holding the microphone like an old pro and delivering her intro with the punchy timing of a seasoned war correspondent. “Hi. My name is Kalypso. I’m a ten-year-old girl who just happens to live in New Orleans.”

Kalypso Homan, now 11, is a Hurricane Katrina survivor and a budding filmmaker who made a video about the 2005 hurricane. The 12-minute video diary called “Kalypso’s New Orleans” has been viewed more than 4,400 times on and has garnered Homan invitations to screenings and events all over New Orleans. But fame and recognition wasn’t really her motivation. “It’s good to put an opinion out there,” says Homan. “It was six months after Katrina and we weren’t getting very much help, so I made a movie about why we needed help and what’s so special about New Orleans.”

Whether she knew it or not, Homan channeled her feelings into a form of creative expression known as art therapy. It’s a healthy way to work through trauma. And now, at Katrina’s one-year anniversary, people may want to pick up their paintbrushes. “At an anniversary, stress reactions come back,” says Cathy Malchiodi, a licensed art therapist and a director with the American Art Therapy Association. “It’s really important, especially for the children, to have some kind of outlet to express what’s going on and to remember it.”

Art therapy uses creativity to explore suppressed or painful feelings and to improve well-being. Engaging in creative projects, such as drawing, painting, and even movie making, can help people to communicate emotions that are difficult to verbalize. “When you talk about trauma, you’re only accessing those verbal memories,” says Malchiodi. “But when you start to do something sensory like art, you touch the part of the brain that’s been traumatized. Different things emerge in a child’s story when they’re doing art. Art is a safety valve in this way.”  Continued…

Source: Home Is Where the Art Is – Mental Health – MSN Health & Fitness

Art Therapy with Adolescent Clients

Art Therapy with Adolescent Clients – Associated Content

By pfeffaroo
Aug 14 2006 07:30AM

Art therapy is a versatile modality that can be utilized with a wide range of human populations in a variety of settings (Malchiodi, 3). As a therapy, it is particularly suited to adolescents because it requires the active participation of the client to physically create art objects and discuss them (5). Art therapy is useful with clients who have “ordinary” problems, as well as the mentally ill, the sick or disabled, and those affected by trauma (46).

It can take the form of individual therapy, family therapy (Riley, 66), or group therapy with peers (193).

Art therapy is a relatively new field. Although many factors paved the way, from Jung’s ideas about archetypes to an interest in the artwork of the insane (Malchiodi, 24-26), the specific concept of art therapy emerged in the mid-20th century. In the 1940s, psychoanalyst Margaret Naumburg began having her patients draw their dreams as well as talk about them. She believed these images were symbolic forms of communication, and as such, her approach was oriented toward the meaning of the final art product (35).

In the decade following Naumburg’s initial ideas, Edith Kramer became known for her ideas on the power of artmaking to initiate psychological healing. She emphasized the creative process in the act of expressing one’s inner experience (36).
The field of art therapy is still growing today and is practiced by therapists with a wide range of therapeutic orientations. Art therapy, which focuses on the visual arts, is now considered a subset of the genre called creative arts therapies (or expressive arts therapies), which also includes music therapy, drama therapy, poetry therapy, and movement therapy (Malchiodi, 38).

Although art therapy can be useful to a variety of client populations, it is especially well suited for adolescents. Teenagers are in a very creative but ambivalent period of their lives; art therapy can harness this creative energy and show them that “when creativity is introduced into problem solving, the art can provide fresh viewpoints and excitement” (Riley, 38). Art therapy usually succeeds with adolescent clients where other therapies may fail because, although teenagers have a strong desire to express their feelings and opinions, they are wary of talking to adults.

However, they are willing to indirectly express themselves through art images because “the art form is safe and under their control” (21). Furthermore, art therapy doesn’t seem like “real” therapy to adolescents; it is creative play with the help of an adult who is not controlling (65).

Continued here…

Get creative and colour your life

Cape Argus – 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.

“Here a person can take a risk without judgment. We try to relate the creative process to real life. This is another side of us we don’t give space to in our lives.”

It’s sometimes surprising what comes through when you give yourself over to the process – and we’re not talking here about good and bad, right or wrong. Continued here…

Art as therapy and road to the unconscious

Naples Sun Times – Art as therapy and road to the unconscious

Art as therapy and road to the unconscious

By Silvia Casabianca 07/05/2006

How would you feel if your therapist or counselor, instead of asking you about your concerns, your emotions or your dreams, brought out art materials and asked you to put your feelings on the paper? If you haven’t tried it before, you’d probably feel skeptical, right?

And if you are unsure about your painting skills, you’d probably also be reluctant to accept the challenge. But the creative process implicit in the art making has been proven to promote self awareness and change. Your creations can give an art therapist clues about the dynamics of your psyche, and the art-making will provide relief when you’re going through stressful situations.

In 1986, I started a project with adolescents in Colombia, in the hope that I could provide some kids with the experience of a supportive environment. Like everybody else, I had gone through the doldrums when I was a teenager, and thought that I could prevent others from going through the same thing. In many cases, when it came to emotions, these kids found it easier to express themselves through art than with words. The project with youth got increasingly interesting, and in 1988, led me to look for a change of career to serve them better.

One day, while I was looking through the shelves of one of my favorite bookstores in Bogotá, a book fell to the floor. It was Edith Kramer’s book The Use of Art as Therapy. I bought the book and sank into it during the weekend. By Monday, I had decided that I wanted to become an Art Therapist, and I did. I got a master’s degree at Concordia University in Montreal. Back in my country, I created a not-for-profit organization to continue working with youth, and found art therapy very useful to help them in their process of self-discovery. I also opened a studio and started a private practice.

Clients would come to my place for art therapy sessions and work with a variety of media, mostly acrylic paint, pastels, oils and crayons. I had learned that different art materials elicited different responses and offered these materials according to the needs of the client.

Continued here….

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

Northwest Indiana News: Healing artwork speaks to counselor

ART THERAPY: Art therapy allows troubled clients to express hard-to-articulate feelings



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

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.

Source of information HERE