Art Therapy

Earlier this year at school we started discussing the idea of getting some support for our counselling service in school.  Just to recap – in our school we have two people who do counselling – a guidance counsellor and me as chaplain.

So, in our search for more resources we came across the MA in Art Therapy as offered by the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. This MA programme takes mature students and works with their natural ability in art with their desire to help others,

Students of this programme must maintain their own art portfolio and each week spend time in studio. Along with this they learn about different aspects of psychology and how to integrate this knowledge with art in order to work with people who could do with therapy.

Two weeks ago I had the great chance to go to the teaching area for the course.  It was a great day, and I came away very optimistic about what this programme can offer our students.

From the start of the day, things looked good.  The other people present worked with various psychiatric services, addiction services, nursing services.  They all have trainees from the programme working with them, and had come along to tune themselves better into what can be expected, and how Art Therapy actually works.

For the first part of the day we learned about the structure of the course and what was expected of the students.

Next we went to a studio to experiment for ourselves.  We were given a task of producing something that expressed how we were.  To be honest we were supposed to produce something that expressed how we felt about different aspects of a student of the programme working with us.  And me being me, I forgot most of the instruction.  Anyway, we were given 20 minutes.

Anyway, I chose clay, and made this:

IMG_0664

Interestingly, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do when I started.  I had vague ideas of doing  a head or something.  The point is, once you relax, it was possible to do things that you didn’t expect.

What’s this one about?  Moving from left to right, from tears (via a broken and repaired heart) to the rays of sunshine.  Many people who work to help others do so out of knowing what it’s like to be hurt themselves.

The last part of the day was the question and answer part.  This is where we got through the nitty gritty of how the placement system worked, and how we could adapt it to our own institution’s needs.

And so it begins.  In January we will have someone working in our school who is training on this programme.  I’m looking forward to it.  Some students may benefit very highly from something like this rather than just talking.  There is a lot of potential, and I reckon our students will stand to benefit from it.

Will there be more updates on this?  Nope.  State secrets at that point!

But, if you are interested in Art Therapy, here’s a link for you:  http://www.artincontext.eu/

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