Visual Arts and Counseling Art Therapy Links http://www.ntata.org/links.htm Visual Arts Represents reality symbolically through painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and mixed media. Historical contexts Art through the ages has been used to judge the health of a society. Ancient forms of art included cave paintings and hieroglyphics. Plato believed that artists were endowed with a “divine madness,” a concept that persisted for many years. Hans Prinzhorn 1922-1972 German psychiatrist and art historian Collected approximately 5000 pieces of art from European mental patients. Suggested that artistic expression is a basic need for all people. Unfortunately and perhaps inadvertently reinforced link between art and mental illness. William James 1842-1910 Artist before becoming psychologist Viewed art as a creative and productive human experience Published Principles of Psychology in 1890 Associated with the theory of functionalism Five Art Therapy Pioneers Margaret Naumberg Edith Kramer Judith Rubin Hanna Kwiatkowska Elinor Ullman Margaret Naumberg 1890- 1983 “Art as a window to the unconscious.” Insight as essential to artistic process. Treatment dependent on client’s interpretations of his/her own images. Taught at NYU into her eighties. Edith Kramer Wrote Art as Therapy With Children and Child Art Therapy. Worked at Wyltkwick School for boys in NY. Believed that art helped children with managing destructive impulses and conflicting feelings Escaped Nazi Germany to USA in 1930’s. Judith Rubin Worked as child educator Emphasized creative thinking and flexibility as essential to mental health Wrote The Art of Art Therapy and Child Art Therapy. Hanna Kwiatkowska Major contributor in research and family art therapy. Wrote Family Therapy and Evaluation Through Art in 1978 Elinor Ullman Founded The Bulletin Of Art Therapy in 1961 Published a book of collected essays on art therapy that served as one of the first major textbooks in this field. 5 Benefits of Visual Arts Therapy Helps tap into the unconscious mind Symbolizes feelings in a tangible way Encourage personal growth through enhanced self-esteem and self- awareness. Perceived as nonthreatening Can be combined with other creative arts therapies Examples of Some Art Therapy Techniques Use of published pictures Body outline drawings Serial drawings done on a daily basis Working in clay Phototherapy depicting the client and relationships Developmental approach Visual arts therapy can be used with persons of varying ages and stages of the lifespan, by tailoring activities to specific ability levels and issues Children as clients Because children often are limited in verbal expression, art therapy can be viewed as a safe way to discuss problems. Examples: House-Tree-Person technique, serial drawings over 10 sessions, the Rosebush technique, family drawings Adolescents Art therapy has been used with a variety of clients, including the sexually abused, juvenile offenders and blind clients. Career exploration is encouraged by the annual National Career Development Association poster contest. Kahn’s model (1999) Three stages for working with adolescents: entry, exploration and action-taking stages. Entry stage allows teens to introduce themselves. Exploration stage examines feelings. Action-taking stage helps to set and define goals for change. Painting dreams or daydreams Adolescents are encouraged to depict troublesome dreams to gain a mastery of dream content, particularly by spontaneous painting. Painting daydreams can help to make the unconscious conscious. College students Artbreak at GWU as an example of an art therapy program Goals are to help with stress management, develop a sense of community, air concerns, gain self- awareness and encourage creativity. Activities include a group mural, a clay group and individual drawings. Adults Often reluctant to engage with art materials Problems addressed can include those of illness, grief, career counseling and life goals/direction Older adults Developmentally are experiencing much gain and loss Photographs can be used to review memories and enhance self-esteem. Art on Occasions (developed by Frankenfelder,1988) encouraged clients to create greeting cards for others in a day treatment center. Other applications of visual arts therapy Hospitalized clients can reveal fears and feelings. Useful in group therapy settings to help with group formation, goal setting, communication and to track group progress. Family and couples therapy can employ techniques to learn about relationships. Cross-cultural applications The therapist must understand their own cultural heritage and that of the client. Professional readiness is key in understanding the creative process as revealed by client reports and interactions. Counselors Counselors can use drawings to help clients explain their problems as well as to develop their own self- understanding. In combination Visual arts therapy can be used in combination with music, literature, dance and drama. Carl Rogers’ characteristics of effective helpers Empathy Unconditional positive regard Congruency/authenticity/genuineness Ethical principles First do no harm. Benefit the client. Be faithful to the client. Be just (fair) in dealing with clients. Respect the autonomy of the client. FELOR Face the client. Maintain eye contact as appropriate. Lean slightly forward. Use open body language and posture. Relax when talking with the client. Counseling skills Use minimal encouragers. Paraphrase the client’s ideas tentatively. Avoid “yes or no questions”. Avoid asking WHY. Ask open-ended questions. Listen more than you talk. Consult when necessary.