Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coping Skills Box for Baby Art Therapists

This year’s internship is 95 parts group to five parts something else. I am working with adults. Last year’s internship was 20 parts group to 80 parts individual work and I was working with teens. When I started this “new” (not so new anymore) internship, sometimes my supervisor would say something like, “Hey, do you want to lead an art therapy group later today (or in half an hour)” and somewhere inside I would begin to hyperventilate psychologically, because although my favorite population is of the grown up world, figuring out what to do and how to keep this population engaged scared me.

I am still trying to figure out what art therapy means to me personally and where it fits into helping patients/clients/the entire world, but one thing I have noticed in my own corner of art making is that I use art to create what is missing. What was missing when my supervisor used to say, “Wanna lead this one?” was 1. A plan and 2. Familiar tools. Therefore, I made this…

The Art Therapy Coping Skills Box
(So that I can cope with pulling a group out of my back pocket at a moment’s notice)
This is the outside. In time, I hope to completely engulf it in art, but for now I've only done the lid. The quote is from No More Secondhand Art by Peter London. "The artistic process is more than a collection of crafted things, it is more than the process of creating those things. It is the chance to encounter dimensions of our inner being and to discover deep, rewarding patterns of meaning."

The inside looks like this...
I have supplies in here for cards, flags, worry people, mindfulness beads, seed packets, masks, body scans, collage and a stress ball.

Most importantly, I have this!
This is my group notebook. I take this with me to my internship everyday and keep it with me pretty much all of the time. (What is that Marine rhyme? "This is my rifle..." It's like that.) I spend time researching possible group themes and activities and write down everything I think I need to know to run it like I know what I'm talking about. I write down the groups that I watch others do in case I need to repeat them. This makes me feel safe. The spiral binding is additionally awesome, because I can fold the cover over nice and just have this small thing in my hand while I am doing a group. It's like a blanky or binky or thumb sucking for A.T. rookies.

So, anyone need a group leader? Bring it on!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Postcards

I've been running over plans for this blog for a few weeks now, organizing my thoughts and writing entries in my mind. I've got a lot coming... in theory. However, since I am starting to send the postcards for the Art Therapy Without Borders Postcard Exchange and added this new blog address right on the front of the cards I better get this blog started.

So without further ado, postcard one for ATWB...

Postcard two is for a classmate from my supervision group last year who happens to be on my postcard exchange list. I have a list of people from all over the world: France, Japan, Australia and one of my favorite grad students from my own school! Mazel tov!

These guys are assembled from my scanned artwork as gel medium transfers on watercolor paper (thanks Maddie) scrapbook paper and stamps glued and machine stitched together.

For more info. on transfers go here
For more on the postcard exchange go here

On a side note I got a mood ring from the biofeedback presentation I went to at the AATA conference in Sacramento which I coincidentally wore as I made these. It was all black before I started, because I was freezing as usual and it was gold when I finished. Also, I felt warm, happy and full of Csíkszentmihályi flow by the time I had to put the supplies away. Evidence that art is good stuff.