Friday, September 26, 2014

FAQ About Art Therapy

I am starting a new series of blogs answering questions that I get asked about Art Therapy and counseling. The first in the series is about education. I hope you enjoy the series.

Hello. I am wondering if it is enough to have an Art Therapy diploma or degree or do I need to add more to be a good Art Therapist?

I believe that in this area of work, one should always be exploring new ways of practicing. This could mean going back to university for more degrees, taking weekend workshops, or doing online courses.

There are two important areas to be updating oneself in. One is in the world of counseling where there are always new methods and ways of working and the other is in the world of expressive arts. I often take online and weekend art workshops to keep myself updated and inspired. Some clients enjoy dance, puppetry, drama, music and other visual art. It is impossible to be good at all the arts, but it is important to keep exposing and challenging oneself to learn.

In order to keep learning and improve my therapy practice I have taken Somatic Experiencing which provides an excellent education for working with and understanding trauma, EMDR and Brain Spotting which have proven to be invaluable tools to use with clients for trauma resolution and reframing. I studied with and continue to study with Russell Delman. I completed his three year mentorship program “The Embodied Life” which focused on Zen meditation, Feldenkrais Method, and Focusing. I am a Focusing teacher and worked with Ann Cornell to learn Focusing. All these courses and ways of working have augmented and enriched my Art Therapy practice. I also returned to university a few years back to get a Masters. I think it is important to be a lifelong learner and read as much as possible.

As an Art Therapist, I find that I am constantly drawing on tools, information, techniques and ideas from a variety of different kinds of therapies and disciplines. Each client I see has a different set of needs and I find it helpful to have lots of ideas and ways of working at my disposal.

Having said this, I am first and foremost an Art Therapist. Most of what I learn, I adapt into the framework of Art Therapy. It is fun and creative to draw on many sources and beliefs to keep my practice alive and vital.

One of the art activities that we have been doing in the studio lately is string art. Children learn how to problem solve, think creatively, observe, and analyze when they are engaged in creating art. They express feelings through their art, develop critical-thinking skills, and learn that there is more then one right answer or way of creating something. Art making builds confidence and helps children feel happy.


Ms. said...

Well, well, nice to see you again. It's been a while. I will be looking in in future.

Karen Wallace said...

Thanks for the comment. I am glad that I feel inspired to write the blog again!!! Warmly, Karen

nacherluver said...

Missed you! Wondered where you have been and how you have been doing. Happy to see your post! Thank you for sharing as I always enjoy your posts.

Karen Wallace said...

Nice to hear from you. I was taking a break. Thanks for reading.

Unknown said...

Nice to have you back Karen Wallace! You are on of the most brilliant therapists I have yet come across, and your blog posts are alway so appreciated. May your inspiration continue !!!

Karen Wallace said...

Thank you for your kind words Debra.


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