Psychology Lecture Series: Art Therapy and Expressive Art

>> We’re gonna jump
right into it. I wanna introduce
today’s speaker. Today’s speaker is
Andrea Baier Petiet. She is an art therapist–
a practicing therapist– and she’s going to share,
for you, the application, the practice,
the technique, the opportunities in this
particular domain in psychology. She did her undergraduate
work at Grand Valley, and she did her
graduate work at the Center for
Humanistic Studies. So, please welcome
today’s speaker. (applause) >> Well, hello. I’m Andrea,
and welcome. I’m really excited
to be here. I’m really curious how
many people are interested in art and
psychology and– can you raise your
hands– for art? Okay, and then,
psychology? All right!
Okay, great. Any people interested in
puttin’ those two together, for art therapy,
in a career? Okay, great! So, I have some handouts here,
for resources and schools and organizations
for art therapy. And when you’re– after we’re
done, you can pick one up, and I also have
some cards. So… (clearing throat)
it helps me to look. Please bear with me,
’cause I have a little bit of a throat thing
goin’ on, so. Today, I’m gonna be sharing
with you a little bit about my practice
and how I work– how I do art therapy with
clients or expressive arts. I am not a licensed,
registered art therapist. I wanna
clarify that. I have a degree in
Psychology and Social Work, and I am
a artist. So. So, today, what we’re gonna
do is a little exercise, right away, to
get your creat– to get to know yourself,
your creative side. And then, we’re gonna take
a look at the differences and the commonalities
between art therapy and expressive arts. We’re gonna look at the
benefits and objectives. We’ll do a little bit
on– a brief history and a little bit of theory
about art therapy and expressive arts, and we’ll be– like
I said before, we’ll do some
experiential exercises. So, before I get into
the activity for– the creative activity, I
want to talk a little bit about the right brain
and left brain, because, a lot of times,
we’re told– it’s right-brain dominance
or left-brain dominance that we’re– and
creativity is right brain. And that is a myth, and
it started with, probably, a study they did on epilepsy
in the ’60s by Sperry. And so, they kinda
got that notion that there was this right-brain,
left-brain dominance. And in 2013, they kinda
debunked that whole myth. At the University
of Utah, Jeff Anderson studied
7,000 brains, between the ages of 29
and– excuse me– 7 and 29 years of age,
and they found, like, there was a lot of activity
with both sides of the brain, using creativity and
problem-solving. So, we’re gonna get
started, right away, and we’re gonna get right
into doin’ some art therapy. And you notice, you
have some crayons, and so, I’m gonna have
you choose two crayons, and put one in each hand–
I’ll go over here. So, you have your
crayons, up in the air– I’m gonna demonstrate, first,
and then, you’ll– I’ll do it along with you,
the second time, okay? So, you have both
in each hand, and we’re gonna pretend
to draw in the air, and we’re gonna hum,
“Happy Birthday.” You can say it
to yourself. So, it will go–
(humming “Happy Birthday”) (humming “Happy Birthday”) And then, we’re gonna
be drawing and humming, with– on the
blackboard, like this. So, we’re just gonna be
usin’ your right brain and your
left brain. We’re gonna get our
creative juices flowing, for this activity. So, shall
we start? Everybody ready? Okay. Up in the air,
we’re gonna hum. (humming “Happy Birthday”) Okay, now,
on your paper, hum again, to yourself–
I’ll hum for ya. (humming “Happy Birthday”) (audience laughing) Was that fun? (chuckling)
Okay. So, when people do this,
they have all different kinds of
experiences, so I’m wondering what
this was like for you. If anybody would like to
share their experience of just kinda
scribbling and kinda getting into
makin’ some lines and marks. Anybody? Yes?
>> I was just kinda worried there was a right and
a wrong way to do it. >> As you saw, there was
not a right or wrong way, was there?
Yeah. We can really get into that
kind of– a lot of people, when they do art therapy,
they’re very concerned about, “Am I gonna do this
right or wrong?” And you know, it’s
okay to make mistakes and to use your mistakes
to create things. Any other questions?
Any other thoughts on this? Anything you learned
about yourself? Okay. Trying to remember what I did
with the– oh, there it is. (clearing throat) Okay, so what are the
differences, and what– art therapy and expressive
arts have in common? And art therapy
uses art medias, so, like, sculpting and painting
and drawing and pastels, collage– anything that you
could use to create visual arts. That’s what art
therapy uses. Expressive art uses music
and writing and poetry and drama– actually sand play,
movement, play therapy. I actually do
play therapy. And they both have
different histories, and they have
different theories, but they have the same
objectives and benefits. And we’re gonna go over a lot
of the benefits and objectives, as I go through
the presentation. So, first of all, art therapy
is a mental health profession that it integrates counseling
and psychology and art. And we– it’s used
for assessment. I don’t use it in my practice
so much for assessment, but I use it more
for treatment. And it treats all kinds
of different problems that people
come in with– anxiety, depression,
mental illness. You can use it with people who
have physical illnesses– cancer,
infertility. So, I work with lots of people
in lots of different areas. Actually did a– for the
developmentally disabled, did some classes, and it
was very, very interesting to see those young adults
get into the art therapy. We actually painted
to music, one time. And you’re gonna be using
some music today, also, and doing
some art. So, let’s just– so,
it reduces stress, it regulates your emotions,
it manages behavior. It’s really good for
interpersonal skills. If you’re in a group– and I do
a lot of group art therapy. I have, in the past–
I work with Our Hope, which is a substance abuse
program for women in recovery, and I really enjoy doing
those groups with the women. It was a very
rich experience. And to see those women
grow and change and– so, you can use it
with substance abuse, and it’s regulated by the American Art
Therapy Association. So, Margaret Naumburg–
she was really the pioneer in art therapy. She was a psychologist,
artist, educator, and she really believed in
symbolic communication, and that is– comes from
the unconscious mind, and we make images from
the unconscious mind. And she was known as the
mother of art therapy. So, this is just a
little bit of history. And from about 1940
to about 1970, all– many of these– right,
there was many more, but Margaret, Edith Kramer,
Elinor Ulman– they were the
first educators, and they had the first degreed
program in art therapy. And this is
just some facts about when all the
different associations were coming
into play. I started out in
1986, practicing, and I have one of
Edith Kramer’s very first books, and I started
working with kids at Lutheran Child
and Family Services, with kids who had a
lot of sexual abuse. I was trained
in sexual abuse. And a lot of the kids
were really struggling with those emotions,
and so I used art, and it was very helpful to help
them express those emotions. ‘Cause a lot of times,
kids don’t talk about what they’re
feeling. They act out
their feelings– they misbehave, or
they get in trouble. So, it was a very powerful
tool, and back in those days, I didn’t know so much
about confidentiality, and I’d have all their
pictures up on the walls, and people would come in,
and they’d comment on ’em. Then, I realized
I had a– those– that was
confidential. All the work you’re
gonna see here, today– I have permission from
my clients to use it and to tell
their story. I don’t
tell names, but I’m gonna generally
tell you their story and about their art,
in a story form. So, what we wanna do,
for objectives, for art therapy or
expressive arts, is we want a
safe environment. We want people to
feel really safe and like they’re
protected. The other objective is you
wanna not have distraction. So, if you’re in a group
session or therapy session, there aren’t many
distractions, unless somebody leaves
their phone on, which happens
once in a while. (chuckling) And what I really like
about art therapy is that it creates
a distance between the client
and the problem. So, we’ll do a
piece of artwork, and then I’ll have
them put the artwork on the other side of
the room or on a chair, and you look at it
from a distance. And whatever was
going on in here– the thoughts and
the emotions– you can take a look at, and you
can get a lot of “ah-ha”s– “Oh, that’s what
was going on.” So, I really
like it. It helps people
feel a lot safer talking about what’s
goin’ on inside o’ here. And it’s very important
for the therapist to be authentic,
to be very empathic, so people feel, like, safe,
and you can develop trust. Really, therapy is really
about the relationship with the therapist
and feeling safe and trusting
the therapists, I have found, over
and over again. You can use all different
kinds of modalities. If you don’– if you are
inauthentic with your client, you’re probably not
gonna get very far, if you’re not
really yourself. So, what I’m
gonna do today is I’m gonna create
some safety for you, and we’re gonna do– this is
what I do with my clients a lot, in sessions– I do
little meditation, and sometimes I have
people draw them. I don’t know
how much time– will I have time for
people to do this? >> (indistinct speaking).
>> Okay. Because– and I’m
having you do this, because some of the
artwork you’re gonna see may be a little
bit disturbing. And I want you to feel
comfortable and safe in here. When we create this, we’re
gonna be creating a safe place, in your
mind’s eye. And the reason I
have people do this and I’m having
you do this is if you feel like you’re
getting disregulated, or something is
emotional for you, you can go back to this safe
place, in your mind’s eye. So, if you start to
feel like, “Ugh, “this is
upsetting me,” you can go into your head
and go back to this place. So it’s a coping skill that
I’m teaching you today. So, I’m gonna have you close
your eyes and just relax. Take some nice,
deep breaths. And kind of imagine
the waves on a ocean, coming in
and going out. Coming in…
and going out. And breathe from
your lower abdomen, up through your
throat and your nose. And now that, hopefully,
you’re relaxed, I’d like you to imagine a place
where you feel totally safe. It could be an ocean,
a beach scene. It could
be a park. It could be
your home. It could be
your bedroom. You could be walking
out in nature. Think about what kinda
weather is outside. Is it snowing?
Is it raining? Is there sun? Who’s in the safe
place with you? Are you alone? Are you
with people? Are there
animals around? Flowers? Trees? So, when you’re ready,
and you have this place in your mind’s eye,
you can open your eyes. And if you’d like to
share your experience and what that
was like– some people really wanna
share their experience. Some of my clients are very
open about their experiences. Other people don’t
wanna share them. So, would you like
to share them? Anybody? Okay, yes? >> (indistinct speaking). >> With tree– the
Grand Canyon with trees. That sounds
very beautiful. Anybody else? Yes? >> Mine is walking through
the woods, in the summer, and it’s shady, with a little
bit of sun (indistinct). >> Robin said walking through
the woods with her dogs. It’s shady–
>> Sunny day, shady in the woods with
a little bit of sun. >> Little bit of
sun comin’ down. I’ve been there,
done that. That’s really
a nice scene. Anyone else?
Yeah? >> Mine is when I’m
at my dance studio, and I’m teaching
all my preschoolers, and they’re all running
around and laughing. >> And your name is?
>> Olivia. >> Olivia said when she’s
teaching preschool, and all her
students are down, and they’re laughing
and having a good time. Yes? >> Remembering
when I was younger, and going to the Tigers
Stadium, in the summer. >> And your name is?
>> Alex. >> Alex said when he
went to Tigers Stadium when he was
younger. Anything else? >> Just how nice it was
outside, usually in the summer. >> How beautiful it
was in the summertime. Thank you! Anyone else? Yes? >> Mine is in a music concert,
like summer festival, in, like, the
summertime. >> A music concert
in the summertime. And your name is?
>> Candice. >> Candice. Thank you,
Candice. Anyone else? Yes? >> (indistinct speaking). >> Oh, I love that. When the beach– and
the sun is setting. Yes, and
your name? >> Ulysses.
>> Ulysses. Thank you…
anyone else? Okay. So, I’m glad to hear you
have your safe places. The next slide is–
you’re gonna see is from a child that I
started workin’ with when he was about
6-and-a-half. And he was acting
out, at school. He was getting in a lot
of fights with his peers, his grades were
not doin’ so well, and he was doing a lot of
arguing with his mother and his
stepfather. And he had been– his
parents were divorced, and his– he would
go on visits, when he was younger, to
see his biological father. And during that time, there
was some abuse that happened. And I work with a lot of
cases where there’s trauma and abuse
and divorce. I work with kids
from as young as 3, all the way up to–
I worked– 60-, 70-year-old
people. And I work
with teens. And so, anyway, this young boy
was havin’ some difficulty, and when he came in– and
we had wondered about– he wouldn’t talk about
the abuse, about– except that his father had
locked him out of the house, and he was,
like, hungry and so we know there was some
neglect, and there was some– a little bit of physical
abuse, but we– I didn’t know
all the details. So, sometimes, when I’m
concerned about a kid who might be sexually abused
or physically abused, I’ll read him a book about
good touch and bad touch. And actually, the–
his first picture is he traced the cover of
the– when I asked him– I read him the book, and
then I asked him about, “Where were you touched in
good way or a bad way?” And he never went
into details. And what the beauty
of art therapy is, you don’t have to
know all the details. It’s just that
they’re expressing what happened
to them. So, this is
his picture. And so, he had traced that
outline of that body, and he just said, “This feels
bad, and this feels good.” Now, because he
was so young, I decided not to ask
him more in detail about any
of this, because it wasn’t
really necessary. So, from there,
I said to him, “Well, what would you have
liked to have happened? “This must of
really hurt you. “You looked– you know,
this didn’t feel so good, “most of the body.” And he said, “I wish I
would’ve said stop.” So, he– I do this a lot with
clients who have been abused. I’ll ask ’em–
because– I ask ’em, you know,
“What would you have liked “to have been
different?” ‘Cause I think it’s
empowering to be assertive, and they, a
lot of times, were in the “fight,
flight, and freeze” mode when we’re
having trauma, and it’s very difficult to be
assertive or to fight back. And he said he wished he
would’ve said “stop.” And you can see, like,
the squiggly lines– I really believe he’s
really depicting the fear, and where he felt that
fear in his body. So, he’s doing a couple of
things in this drawing. He was expressing
his fear, but he was also
being assertive. Shortly after this– maybe
a week or two later– he finally started gettin’
in touch with his anger. I mean, remember, this is
a kid who was acting out and getting in
fights, right? And so, we really
wanted to– I wanted to have him express his
anger in a really positive way. So, one day, we were
talkin’ about anger, and I think we were– I play
“feeling basketball” with kids, and so, I take a
basketball hoop, and I’ll have them
just take a ball, and they’ll pick a
feeling, and they’ll– like, “I feel sad,
because it’s– “my dog passed away,”
or something. And so, we were talkin’
about anger, and I– and he– I said to him,
“If you anger were an animal, “what would
it be?” And he decided to
draw this shark. And this is– I think
it’s a really neat shark for a 7-year-old. And he encased the shark
in this red anger. And what– the
beauty of this is is that it’s a safe way for
him to express that anger. Shortly after this, he
wasn’t acting out so much. Should I– does anybody have
a question at this point? Okay. So, now, we’re gonna
go into the history of expressive
arts, and– about 1970, expressive arts
came into being at the Lesley College of
Graduate School in Cambridge, and Paolo Knill– he formed the
first International Network of Expressive Art
Training Centers. And Natalie Rogers,
in 1984, founded the Person-Centered
Expressive Art Institute, out in California, and a
friend of mine attended her. She’s actually still
alive, Natalie Rogers. She’s the daughter
of Carl Rogers, who is… empathic listening
and client-centered therapy– he’s the founder
of that. And you can actually see
YouTube videos of Natalie practicing expressive arts
therapy, if you go online. So, what are the
expressive arts? Well, they’re
professionals, they’re counselors and
psychologists, like myself– social workers. Some are licensed
expressive art therapists. Some are art
therapists. And again, they just
combine the visual art and also different
modalities of expression– writing, poetry,
drama, music– along with counseling
and psychology. Also, with expressive arts,
they really focus on the process of creation
and imagination. And there’s four
principles– expression, imagination,
active participation, and the mind-body
connection. And when people are
doing expressive arts, they’ll just get this
awareness– “Oh, my gosh! “That’s why
da-da-da.” “That’s how come–” You know, like, for example,
I had a woman who was– she was goin’
through a divorce, and I asked her what she
felt like and, you know– she drew a picture
of herself in the middle of the
page, really tiny.
(chuckling) And I said, “Well, where’s
your support system? “Who’s around you?” And she
went, “Oh. “I don’t have very many
people I share this with.” And so, that was somethin’
we became aware of, she needed to work on, is
to develop that support through– to get through that
issue of being in a divorce. ‘Cause you– we need a
lot of people to heal, to support us when we’re
in a healing process. So, the benefits are– of art
therapy and expressive arts, it helps us recognize
our feelings, our needs, issues,
and conflicts. It helps us
solve problems. We develop
self-understanding, self-love,
security. We take a lot
of risks. I mean,
people are– even when people are
drawing stick figures in my office, they’re
taking a risk. They’re really putting
themselves out there. They’re puttin’ there
emotions out there. So– and we’re also
having limit-setting, because we’re drawing on a–
like, a piece of paper, like you will
be today but there’s boundaries on that
paper, so it makes it safe. So those limits– and
there’s directions. Like, when I’m
working in a group, when I work with the
substance abuse women, I gave them all
directions about how to– what we were
gonna do that day, but also gave ’em
rules for the group, because a lot of times when
you’re doin’ group work, people come in
with agendas. Like, maybe they weren’t gettin’
along with the lady next to ’em, downstairs in the kitchen,
but they come upstairs, and they’re gonna
be doing artwork. Well, I set the rules,
very clearly, that we’re not gonna be
talkin’ about what happened in the kitchen
that day. So, it’s important
to have the rules and the expectations of what’s
gonna happen in the group, when you’re doing
art therapy– or any, really, group
that you do with people. And the other piece I really
like about expressive arts is it’s very helpful
for people who don’t– aren’t very verbal and have difficulty talking
about what happened to them. So, I’m– this is– oh,
probably should go back, here. So, this is– the next piece
of work I’m gonna show you is a woman I’ve
been workin’ with. She’s about 23, and
she’s in my practice ’cause she was
experiencing anxiety, but she’s been going through
a lot of job changes lately. And the reason I’m
bringing her piece up, because it really is about
expressing feelings and resolving
conflicts. How this– her piece
of art therapy worked. So, she came in, and
she was very angry. She had
lost a job. She had just– she’d only been
in the job about two months. And a new person
was hired on, and he had a friend who
he wanted in her position. So, she was eliminated,
very unfairly– wasn’t even– didn’t even have a review
or anything like that. And so, she was very
angry and very upset. And when he gave her
a notice, he said, “I hope you don’t
think I’m a monster.” So that makes it really
hard to even feel angry toward that person,
when they’re saying, “Please don’t be
angry with me.” So– but she was very angry,
but she had to keep her cool. And not only did she
have to keep her cool, she had to train the person
who was taking her position. So she was very,
very angry. So, she came in, and
one of the exercises I had her do was– I said,
“If your anger were a color, “what would it be,”
and she said “red.” Can everybody
see that? Okay. And then, I asked her– and
I went through all the senses. And remember, the senses
are on the right side of the brain and it
helps you get to emotion. So, I work with the
senses, and I said, “What is the smell
of your anger?” And she said, “It smells
like burnt plastic.” And I said, “What does
your anger taste like?” And she said, “It tastes bitter,
and it looks like spikes, “and it sounds like
a whistle blowing, “and my anger
is boiling.” I mean, she
was so angry! And I said, “Where does
this anger come from?” Because I think it’s
really important to understand where our
emotions come from. And she said, “My anger
comes from getting fired “without a
second chance.” So, then I
said to her– ’cause she was, like,
shaking, by this point– I said, “How ’bout we get
some of that anger out?” And I had her scribble
on a piece of paper, and she was at a desk, and
she was just goin’ to town. I thought, “My god, she’s
gonna go through this desk.” She was just scribbling
and scribbling and scribbling. And you can just see the
intensity of the anger, there. So, I don’t wanna leave my
client in an angry state, before they walk
out the door, and there’s also a problem
about how to deal with this boss who fired
her, right? So I said to her, “What
is the opposite of anger? “What feeling– what
emotion would that be?” And she said,
“Calm.” So, we went
through “calm.” And this is a really
good exercise, for you– even for
yourself to do. If you’re havin’
an emotion, you can go to the other
side of the emotion. If it’s a
negative emotion, then you can go
to the other side and go through all
the senses, too. So you can use this as
a coping skill, also. And so, I said,
“What color is calm?” And she said, “It’s a
gree– light green.” And then, she said,
“It smells like vanilla. And it tastes
like mango. And it looks flat. And it sounds
like rainfall. And it feels
like floating. And it comes from knowing
that bad will pass– “This, too,
shall pass.” And she remembered someone
had shared this information with her one time, and it was a
very comforting thing for her to remember
that quote. So, now, she’s
sitting in the chair and she’s really relaxed.
(chuckling) This is where
I got her from. So, then, I said, “Can you draw
me a picture of your calm?” So she drew this
picture of calm. And she spent a lot of
time working on this. You know, it looks very
simple, but, if you notice, there’s blue and green, and
it’s kinda going in the– she tried to get the circle as
perfect as she could get it. And… that
was her calm. So, then, there was still
the issue about the boss and how she was gonna be
leaving the job in two days, and she was startin’ to–
then she started feeling a little bit angry, again,
after she drew the calm. I thought,
“Okay. “We’re gonna need
to problem-solve “about how she can be assertive,
addressing this problem.” And I said, “You know,
let’s brainstorm. “Let’s think about–
would you be comfortable “talking to
this guy?” She goes,
“No, no.” “About your feelings,
and how you’re feeling “kinda like it
was unfair.” I said, “Well, what if you
decided to write a letter?” And she decided that would
be a very good idea, so she was gonna write
him about how she felt it was unfair,
how it went down. And so, she had her voice about
what had happened to her. And now, this was a really
important thing for her, because other issues
in her life, she didn’t
have a voice. So this is really good, in
the process of therapy, because in this situation
that isn’t as tense as some of the stuff that
happened in her past, she now has
a voice. She’s learning how
to use her voice. She’s learning how
to be assertive. So, I felt
like it was– she did some really
good work that day. So, there’s more benefits
of art therapy and expressive arts, and it helps us, you know,
with perceptional abilities, fine motor skills,
self-esteem– it really helps
increase self-esteem. Again, emotions,
conflicts, thoughts. The whole
mind-body thing. And a lot of times,
it promotes hope. You know, like, in the
last slide, we saw– that’s hopeful that she can–
“I can now become assertive. “I now have a voice…
I can heal. “I can start to develop
coping skills.” Any questions? Okay. So, I’m gonna give a–
the next slide– let’s see, here. Okay, gotta
go back. I’m gonna focus, now–
the next client, and– we’re gonna focus more on
the mind and the body, and how I work with the mind
and the body in art therapy. And I’ve been doin’
this exercise for probably
10 years, now. A lot of times, people
come in– this is a girl who was about
13 years old, and she was having
difficulty in school. Her grades
had dropped. She was a
real smart kid. But her grades
were droppin’, her parents were goin’
through a divorce. I did– again, I don’t know if
there’s abuse goin’ on or not. But I know she’s
acting out, and– she’s fighting a
lot with her family. And so, I
asked her to– I do a little meditation
with this– I have a, you know, this
little gingerbread guy, and I ask people to
focus on their head, in relationship
to the issue. Like, so, “You’re goin’
through this divorce, “and what feelings
and what emotions “do you think are
in your head area? “And if those
are a feeling, “what color would
that feeling be? “What shape
would that be?” So, I go through
the whole body, and then they come
up with an images, and… on the
next slide, we will see what
she came up with. And so, she was–
she mostly had color, some shapes. And “sad,”
“mad,” “hurt,” “stop,” “black”–
depression, I would imagine– “no,” “fear.” Now, I don’t know what
any of this means. And I’m not– when
I work with a person, I don’t interpret
their art. I let them interpret
it themselves, because then I’m putting
what’s on inside of me– how– what’s getting
stirred up in me, then I’m putting onto them,
and I don’t wanna do that, so I want them to speak
from what’s goin’ on for them. So, then I asked her to do
some writing about the feelings. Oh! Before I did that, again, I had
her scribble out those feelings, ’cause they were pretty
intense feelings. And she used all the
different colors of all the
different feelings. And then, I asked her
if she would write out what she had those feelings
about, and she said, “I feel sad that my mom–
what my mom is going through.” And her mom was going
through this custody battle. “I’m worried about
school and my grades.” So she actually started to–
then we– ’cause before that, she wasn’t talkin’
about her grades and how worried
she was, and so we couldn’t do any
problem-solving around that, or–
(clearing throat) and she’s “worried about what
other people think of me.” Remember, she’s 13 and
she’s in middle school, and that’s a common
developmental task– you know, our
self-esteem and what other people
think about us, but also with the
added thing of divorce. “Well, what are people
gonna think of my family “and it’s
breaking up?” She lived in a very small
town, and so it was– a lot of people knew
everybody else’s business. And, “I’m scared
about my future. What’s gonna happen?
Where am I gonna live? Who am I gonna
be living with? My mom?
My dad? “I’m worried
about my dad.” And, “I’m scared
for my siblings.” So, this is how we got from
what was going on in her mind and her body, and she
could start to identify– then we could start workin’
through some of these issues for her,
more directly. So, we’re gonna talk
about more benefits. And so, as you just
saw on that last slide, it allows the unconscious
to become conscious. She probably wasn’t even
aware of she was afraid for her siblings. It was just jumbled up
inside her head, like all those
scribbles on the paper. So, she became clearer on
what was goin’ on for her. It was also comforting
and soothing just to know what was
happening in her life, just knowin’ what
we needed to work on. It told
a story. And the other benefits
of art therapy is that it uses the
whole brain in trauma, which includes the
right brain and left brain, includes other
parts of the brain, but I’m not
a scientist, and I’m not gonna get into
all those parts of the brain. But trauma can
be physical or it can be
psychological. So, you can have somebody
who’s in a accident and be traumatized. Or maybe
they’re not. It depends on how difficult
that accident was. If they saw things that
were very atrocious or not– war, illness,
loss, bullying, and any other type of abuse
can be traumatic for a person. So, what’s wonderful about
art therapy is it treats the whole brain– the
right brain and the left brain. And what happens during
a traumatic incident is that the left brain
goes totally out to lunch. It stops
functioning. You have the
amygdala– it’s, you know, going into
“fight, flight, or freeze.” And the left brain shuts down,
and the right brain records, in little bits
and pieces, what is happening,
through the senses. So, you know, when people
come in and they have PTSD, they might be
having a dream, and they might be seeing
the same thing over and over, like the same car circling down,
or they may hear a song, and it reminds them of
some other kind of abuse. Or– so, different
things are triggered in that right brain,
with PTSD. So, according to
Cathy Malchiodi– she has written
a lot of articles and presents nationwide
on art therapy in children and trauma
and violence. She’s a
remarkable lady. And she says, “Art
therapy is healing “because it increases
the communication “between the
two hemispheres.” And it grows
new neurons, and it can change the
maladaptive behaviors that we have, and we can create new
pathways in the brain. So, for example,
instead of freezing, like my client, you know,
with the calm and the anger– you know, a new pathway would
be developing assertion skills. And that would create a
new pathway in the brain. And there’s been a
ton of research done in the last
20 years. It’s very
impressive. Neuroscientists have
really confirmed that new– um, the brain has
the biologically innate capacity to grow new
neurons, and that’s just kind of a
repeat of what I just said. And then, Cathy says,
“Neurobiology “and current
research on trauma “have redefined
our understanding “of children’s
experiences–” she works mostly
with kids– “through recent findings
on art and the brain “and explains why art therapy
is a game-changer “in trauma
intervention.” And it’s really
exciting to– when you see a person work
through a piece of trauma, or something bad
that happened to ’em, and come out hopeful
and healed, and it’s– I think that’s
why I keep doin’ therapy, is because I can see people
and the changes that they make. Okay, before I get into
this, this is, uh– so, talkin’ about trauma, the
next slide you’re gonna see of the art therapy is from
another 13-year-old I work with. Was in school,
was being teased. And her mother and father
weren’t real involved at first. You know, they were just
kinda listening to her, and the school wasn’t really
kinda listening to her about being
teased and stuff. But then, finally,
they did hear her, ’cause she was having
a lot of PTS– um, traumatic
experiences, and she was afraid, like,
to walk into buildings, or afraid to go
to church, or– she was afraid
to go places. And so, they brought
her into counseling. And I asked her– she was being
teased by a group of kids, not just one kid. It was a
group of kids. And I asked her if she could
draw what she was feeling when she was
being teased. So, you can see that it’s
pretty constricted in a circle, and I think there’re feelings
of depression and sadness, she said. And one of the things
you’re gonna notice in this piece
of work is that there’s little
dots all around, and that’s throughout all
the different pieces of art that she did
in the sessions. And I believe they
represent the people who were
teasing her. There was at least five or
six kids who were teasing her, at the same time. And the next session,
she came in, and she– again, it’s more
constricted. She was, you know,
drawing some feelings about her experience–
more depression, more sadness,
some anger. And then, the third
session, she came in, and she
painted this! And as you– there’s a
change happening here. It went from
very restricted, to a circle,
to a square. Now, we’ve got all
this movement going on, just by expressing the
feelings about what it was– the experience
of being teased. And again, you see
those little– you can actually–
they have faces, now. (chuckling)
The kids. Then, one day,
she came in– I didn’t know she
was gonna do this. And this is
a paper bag– you know, one of those you
get at the grocery store. And she came in, and she had
painted this bag all in red. And it almost looks like
there’s a little face. It’s like a
blue and– you know, and then,
there’s a squiggly line and two dots
up there. And sure looks like
an angry face to me. And she described
it as her anger. So this was a huge
piece of work for her, because, up to this point, she
could not say she was angry, and she kept blaming herself
that it was her fault that she was
being teased. And she was an
overachiever, this girl. She had won awards, and–
I don’t know why these– these kids were
just picking on her. And… so, she came
in with this bag, and inside of the bag
were all of the things that these kids
were telling her. So, these are the
messages she was getting over and over
and over again. And at one point, they–
there were two boys, and they said to her that
they were gonna rape her. And that’s when, finally,
the family pressed charges, and she was out
of school by then. And so, it was– you know,
she’s walking around with all– interjecting all
of these messages. So you can imagine what this
girl’s self-esteem was like. And then, she started
talking about the feelings that she had in relationship
to those messages. And she wrote down
she was scared. “Will I ever
get over this?” “Is it me?” She really questioned
if it was herself. And then, she
said “pissed.” “I’m really angry!” And she also still
felt a bit depressed. “Am I the things
that I was called?” So she still has that
questioning if it was her fault. So then, I asked her
to do some writing about those feelings,
and she goes, “I’m having a very hard time”
not blaming herself. I told her over and over again,
“This is not your fault. “You know, these– you
didn’t do anything “to cause
this teasing.” And then, she says,
“Is it my fault “I got bullied and
threatened to be raped?” So she was still questioning
that at that point, and I believe we did
some more artwork, and she finally did resolve
that it wasn’t her fault, but it took a little
while after this session. We did some
other artwork, and I don’t have those
pieces of artwork with me. But I did have
permission to use these. So, this is a
very ending here, and what I’m gonna be havin’ ya
do is listening to some music, and you’re gonna be
drawing to the music. And so, you have
your art supplies. Is– we have
enough time to– yeah. And so, I’m gonna have
you close your eyes and just listen
to the music. And pay attention to what
you’re feeling in your body. You know, are there any
awarenesses in your body? How’s your
stomach feeling? How is your
head feeling? Your arms
and your leg? Is this music makin’
you feel antsy, or is it making you
feeling relaxed and calm? And then, I’m
gonna have you– once you’ve done
your drawing, I’ll have you just write
down a few sentences. You can title
your drawing. It’s really good when people
title their drawings. It says a lot about what
was goin’ on for you. And then, at the end,
then we’ll ask questions. So, everybody have their
paper and crayons out? Okay. And I press on… Go forward?
>> Yup. Right here. >> This?
>> Mmm-hmm. >> Oh. (gentle piano music) Thank you.
(gentle piano music) (gentle piano music) Can everybody hear that?
(gentle piano music) (gentle piano music) So, just draw to the music.
(gentle piano music) Whatever comes up for you.
(gentle piano music) Lines, shapes.
(gentle piano music) It doesn’t have to be realistic.
(gentle piano music) It can be abstract.
(gentle piano music) Use the sides of your crayon.
(gentle piano music) Use the tip of your crayon.
(gentle piano music) (gentle piano music) Thanks. Well, it was really
fun to watch you draw, and it seemed like
you all were into it. Was kind of exciting
to see you. So, what I’m gonna
have you do now is just right down on
the back of your paper with your crayon
or pencil… just a few sentences that
explains your drawing. Title it. And then, also, what
it was like for you to do this
exercise, what colors, and–
did you notice– that related to
your feelings. Did you notice that you
used more yellow or red? Did it portray any
thoughts or images that are in your mind
on a daily basis? And what did you
learn about yourself? So, you can just read
those and do some writing. (whispering)
Should I go ahead? >> (Dr. Conner whispering)
I learned from Sue
many years ago to have the courage
to go beyond what you think
is long enough. >> (Andrea whispering)
Okay. (both quietly chuckling) Okay, thanks. I like her, too. She’s a
good person. >> (Dr. Conner whispering)
I think the energy is done. >> (Andrea whispering)
I think so. (normal volume)
Okay, it looks like a lot
of you have wrapped this up. So, I thought we could
discuss what it was like for you to do
this exercise. Any– would ya– did you
learn anything about yourself? Anybody like to volunteer
or show their picture? Yes? >> For me, it’s kind of
difficult to listen to something and draw how I’m feeling,
because I don’t really connect, I guess, with physical
representations of art, so I didn’t really know
what I was doing, I guess. >> So you felt a little
bit unsure of yourself. >> Yeah, I
suppose, yeah. >> So you went out
of your comfort zone. That’s a
good thing! Thanks for
doin’ it. It’s really
positive. Yes? >> (indistinct speaking). >> You went
into what? >> (indistinct speaking). >> You went into
your comfort zone. Wow. So, it– ’cause everything’s
so crazy around you, and it gave you a
chance to relax. Wonderful! Yes? >> I felt that it
was hard to pinpoint exactly what I was
feeling when it started. And so, I really had to close
my eyes and focus on the music and kind of just forget
the people around me. I dunno, it was just really
hard to do at first– be able to express
yourself through art. It’s so abstract
to where I’m (indistinct). >> So you took a risk, and
you actually got to focus, and you did it. Great! That’s a hard thing,
but you did it. Yeah. Yes? >> (indistinct speaking).
>> (chuckling). You enjoy
Beethoven. >> (indistinct speaking).
>> Oh! (all laughing) Thanks. >> (indistinct speaking). >> You found you got lost
in the music and drawing? Cool. So you just really got into a
creative, meditative state. Into the
zone, huh? The flow of
creativity. That’s neat! Yes? >> I found that my mind
was just wandering a lot, so it was actually kind
of hard for me to draw, ’cause I started thinking
about other stuff. >> And that happens,
sometimes, when we’re in– ’cause art is like
a meditative state, and sometimes it’s
really hard to focus. When we’re meditating
or doing art, our mind does
drift off. How’d you find– how’d
you get back in to do it? >> I just was
doing stuff. I just kept making sure
that I was doing something the whole time, that–
my pictures shows it, I think.
(laughing) >> Well, this
isn’t about art. You know, it’s about the
process and about creativity. So, the fact that you took
the risk and did it– that’s great! Yes? >> I kinda thought it, like,
reminded me of everyday life, like how, you know, the music
was just kind of like– it all, like, plays into
each other, you know? And I think a lot of us have,
like, really fast-paced lives. You know, a lot of us are
working and going to school. So, I dunno. That’s– I called it–
I called mine “Going Through
the Motions.” >> “Going Through
the Motions.” ‘Cause it– this is– you
have such a chaotic life, and this helped
you really kinda– >> And something–
okay, I swear to god, like, I didn’t even think
about this till afterwards– but I had all these Xs,
like, on my drawing. >> Yeah.
>> And like, right now, my boyfriend is
in boot camp, and I’ve been waiting
for him to come home, and I started thinking about it,
and I was like, “You know what? “It’s kinda like
the calendar days, “like marking them down.”
>> Oh! >> You know? >> So, she has
Xs on her paper? >> Yeah!
>> Can everybody hear her? Yeah, okay, so I don’t
have to repeat it. >> Yeah.
>> Thank you. That’s– thank you,
for sharing that, yeah! So, when’s he come back?
>> May 1st. >> May 1st, okay. Yes? >> I feel like, in high school,
I was in a lot of art classes, because it was so easy to just,
like, let all the stress away. And like, this is my
second year of college, so it’s like everything here’s
one way to do everything, and it has to be
done the right way, and on time, and
everything like that. And like, I’ve learned
that I have anxiety, and I got diagnosed
with anxiety. So, like, refreshing,
like– when you said, “Do you feel butterflies” when
you asked, to, like start it– and I didn’t know what to
do, because everybody said, you know, “Here’s the
direction– do it this way.” And then you said, “Just
do whatever you want.” And I was like, “Well,
that doesn’t feel right,” because I’m in a
college setting, doing something where, you know,
there’s no right way to do one thing.
>> Mmm-hmm. So, it felt a
little bit freeing? >> Yeah, it felt like I was
back in, just, art class in high school, not
caring too much– so– about what, you know,
the specific assignment. >> Well, I’m glad you got
some peace in this class, and I think college
is very stressful, and there are so
many requirements and so many resources that
you– and time restrictions– so, I’m glad you had
some inner peace. And you can use this
activity any time! You know, you can play
music and just draw, and you can use some of the
other things that were on here, like the– you know,
the feeling, and then going to the
other side of the feeling. So, anybody else
wanna share? Yes? >> I was just kind of
swaying to the music, listen to the music,
the rhythm. It’d slow down, then faster,
something’s gettin’ wavy. >> Uh-huh.
>> Googling around, based on the music,
that rhythm, you know. >> Uh-huh.
>> Moving faster. I even imagined, that–
in my head, it feels like there was a person
that’s dancing along with the music.
>> Oh, cool! >> That was kind of, like,
just relaxing, you know. >> Uh-huh.
>> I dunno. I feel like it’s–
you could– by listening to this
music, we can feel it and just put everything
else that bothers you, just kinda leave it out,
and just feel true. >> Uh-huh.
>> Focus in on this. Just relax,
I guess. >> It was very relaxing,
and you even imagined people dancing and flowing
and– how cool is that! So you had
some imagery. >> Yeah.
>> Yeah. Thank you. Anybody else?
Yes. >> Just kinda along
with this row, but… it was very
peaceful. I liked it, because there–
like, being in college kid and stuff,
and working, and it’s very
chaotic and stuff, but just knowing
that that peace– kinda how you first had
us go into that, like, that safe place. And along with
the music, just knowing that the peace
and safety comes from within. >> Yes.
>> And often we’re looking on outside– our friends,
and our schools, and our families to provide
that safety and that peace. But in reality, it comes
from within us, first. And so, just that reminder–
and I drew a picture, and I titled it “Light
Comes From Within,” just knowing that,
so– it was– this– I liked that,
(indistinct). >> Oh, neat. Her picture was peace
coming from within, and how much, you know,
that we have that peace within us,
all the time. Just– and we keep looking
for outside sources, but it’s really
in here. Thank you for
sharing that, yeah. Anybody else? Yes? >> I had to stay
within the parameters, even though there were none.
>> Okay. >> There were circles, which
turned into (indistinct). (indistinct) everything
adds up to nothing. Always look for the next
thing that’s real important, I have to put all
my energy into it, and then, it’s
the next thing. And it’s just–
(indistinct)– because we’re always–
I don’t know if we are, but we’re always looking
for that next thing and working really hard,
you know, crazy at it, and then, there’s the next
thing, and then the next thing. And just keep goin’
at next thing. >> So is that what the music
kinda represented to you– going to the next thing
and the next thing? >> Right, everything
adds up to nothing. ‘Cause it feels
so important, but in the end,
it’s not, really. >> So, at the end, it’s
really not all that important. Like, “What will it be
like from 100 years, “if I make this
mistake today?” What’s it gonna matter, right?
>> Right. >> “So what if I
make a mistake?” And I think that’s what
art therapy is about– if we make a mistake, or
what we think is a mistake, it doesn’t
really matter. We can use that, and
change it, and problem-solve. Thank you for sharing–
anybody else? Yes? >> I just found that I was
drawing something abstract, but I really quickly started
to assign literal meanings to everything
I was drawing. And then, kind of working
with those meanings but drawing more
abstract things. So, I was, like, analyzing
it the whole time. >> Okay, you gotta–
>> Reading those names out and then adding to
the composition. >> So did that help
you find out things about yourself you
didn’t realize, or…? Or what was goin’ on
for you today, or…? >> Illustration of what’s
on my mind, right now. >> Cool! Yeah. Thanks, for
sharing that. I think we have to–
do we need to wrap it up? Okay.
>> We have plenty of time. >> We have plenty
of time for– >> For questions about
the presentation, about art therapy,
being an art therapist, career opportunities,
educational pathways, the– more insight
into the clients that were shared,
so, yep. We’ve got a
good 15 minutes. >> Yes? >> (indistinct speaking). >> The occupational
handbook…? I– you know, I
didn’t look that up. I’m really sorry, but you
can probably find out in the occupational
handbook, and I do have a list of
schools and organizations that could probably tell
you what the future is for that
occupation. It’s a pretty
new field. So. And I think they use a
lotta art therapists in hospitals and,
now, with the aging, and substance abuse
is a mental illness. Yep. Yes? >> Is art therapy used
other places in the world? >> Yes, it’s
actually– if you– there’s a lot of neat
YouTube videos online, and you can actually
see where they’ve gone into other
countries. They work with people–
I was thinking of showing some of those videos, but
would take too much time. But they have gone into
torn– war countries, and they work with
the children. These kids can’t
speak English, but they put their
experiences on paper, and drew them, and it was,
like, very relieving for them. So, yes, they use it
all over the world. There’s a international art
therapy organization, also. Yes?
>> Have you ever done any work with the music
therapy part of it? >> I don’t play
any instruments. I just had musicians
in my family. But I use
the music. I have played music
and have people draw, like I’ve had
you to do, today. Are you interested
in music therapy? >> A little bit, yeah.
>> Okay. Are– you’re a
musician, then. >> I’m not, actually.
>> Oh, okay. >> I’m not, no. But I really do love music,
and I found for myself that it’s one thing that
has always helped me, when I’ve actually had issues
with anxiety, as well. And I find that music
helps keep me calm, a lot of times, and helps me
kind of sort through my thoughts when I’m feeling that way, so
I’m just generally interested. >> Yeah, there’s a
music therapy program at the Franciscan
Center, and there’s some music
therapy professionals that will work
with you. I know two of ’em, and– so,
if you could just go online and look up the
Franciscan Center. And they have some
wonderful concerts there. They do a lot of music
and a lotta art, there. Yes? >> I’m just wondering–
like, is this art therapy therapy? And how would you
determine that– the accuracy of what
the people thinking by what they
have drawn? >> How accurate is
what they’re thinking to what they’re drawing?
>> Yeah. By what they’re
drawing. >> (indistinct speaking). >> Yeah, like, you know,
just based on a picture, really, can tell how–
what I was thinking? (indistinct). >> I don’t– you know,
some people use– like I said earlier
in the presentation, some people use art therapy
for an assessment. I don’t– I very
rarely do that. I might have a kid
draw their family, and it kinda
gives me an idea. But I don’t
interpret that. I have the child
interpret it for me. Because they might have,
like, the father, the kid– the two kids and the
father over here and the mother over
here, but, really, they’re closer
to the mother. And so, I can’t really– and if
I just looked at the drawing, I would interpret
it from what I see. So–
>> Okay. Maybe I can ask
another way. >> Okay.
>> I was trying to… ask about what if they don’t
even know what they’re drawing, like they can’t
explain their drawing? They were just doing this.
>> I’ve had that happen. >> Yeah. >> And so, we just–
we don’t talk about it. You know, it’s okay
not to talk about it. >> (indistinct speaking). >> Well, whatever it was,
they got that out on paper. So, if it was some kind of
an emotion– I’ve had– especially this one young
girl I work with– about– I worked with her
from 11 to 13. And she hardly
spoke, at all. But she did a whole lotta
painting in the session. And she wouldn’t
talk about– finally, I could get her to
write about her drawings, but she didn’t
communicate very much. I mean, she could talk,
but she didn’t wanna talk about what was
goin’ on inside. So– but her behavior
started to change. And she started to make– ’cause
she was very introverted, and she started
to make friends, she started to connect
to other people, just by getting out
whatever emotion– her family was goin’
through a custody battle, so whatever was going
on inside o’ her, she could
get out. And we didn’t even
have to talk about it. That’s the beau– that’s what
I really like about art therapy. You don’t always
have to talk. So, did that help
answer your question? Okay, anybody else? Yes? >> (indistinct speaking). >> Hmm. I think I would– I think
you would go online, and check and see what
the requirements are. I– I’m sure a psychology
background, for sure, or– and you have to take
a number of art classes. So, if you have a– you know,
if you have a Art major or a Psychology major, you’re
most likely to get into– accepted to an
art therapy program. So, having a background
in art and psychology, or one or the other,
would be helpful, I would think– to have a portfolio, too,
of your drawings. Yes? >> Are there certain
areas where art therapy works better than
other therapies? >> Hmm. Yeah.
(chuckling) I think it works better
than talk therapy, a lot of
the time. You know, I use a lot of
different frames of reference when I’m doin’
art therapy. I do a lot of
client-centered therapy. I do a lot of
empathic listening when I’m workin’
with someone. I reflect their
feelings a lot, when they’re
talking to me. Sometimes, I do cognitive
behavioral therapy along with the
art therapy. Does that help? Yeah– does it–
yes? >> Did you say where
you’re working right now? >> I work for Psychology
Associates of Grand Rapids, and I’ve been there
about eight years. I work for probably three
or four different agencies, a couple different– three
different private practices. So. I been at this
present place– I have some cards up here,
if you’re interested, if you wanna contact me or
have any other questions. I’ve actually had students
come in and talk to me, if they wanted to pursue
a career in art therapy, so I’d be glad to talk with you
and spend some time with you, if you’d like,
individually. >> (indistinct speaking).
>> Oh, thank you. Anything else? Well, you were a
fun group of people and very interested in
what I was sharing, so it was very
pleasurable to be here. Thank you. (applause)


  1. thanks for posting it on youtube! She has mentioned a few ways to know more about our inner self which is very helpful. I am impressed with what she has said : we don't need too much talking in art therapy.

  2. She should absolutely not be using the term 'art therapy' considering she is not a trained and credentialed art therapist and the initial directive had nothing to do with art therapy what so ever.

  3. Anybody in the mental health field can use art therapy if they have researched and received training. Just as we can use any other therapies. The only thing is that you can not advertise that you are an art therapist. The person in the video made it clear that she is not certified, but she uses art therapy in her practice. For more info refer to the ACA code of ethics.

  4. Can someone help me out with the name of the psychologist giving the lecture? Her name wasn't audible in the start.

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