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FINAL PROCESS PAPER

BY JACK

M. FREEDMAN

**TRAINING IN ART THERAPY 1** NCAT 3100A** PROF. CHRISTINE ALESSANDRO**

PARTICIPANT For the first part of the final, I was a participant in an art therapy session. Josh and Maria were the co-leaders of this session. The directive was divided into two parts. The first part involved drawing a dream house. Any perspective of the house would work in this particular e periential. After twenty minutes passed, the participants were instructed to draw a secret room in the dream house! we were given thirty minutes to complete this process. Admittedly, I almost drew a "lank #pun intended$. At first, I didn%t know how to illustrate my dream house. After a few seconds passed, I remem"ered that I recently redecorated my "edroom and "ought a full-si&ed "ed. After sleeping in a twin "ed for most of my youth, adolescent, and adult life, this was a dream unto itself. In my drawing, the "ed was drawn with red sheets, red pillowcases, and a "rown comforter, as these were the sheets I purchased "efore having the "ed delivered. The walls were green and the carpet was "lue-green, as this is how my room is currently decorated. I added a window over the "ed with "lue curtains, as well as a view of the clouds and my front yard. There was a "ookcase against the right wall. 'hen the first part of the session concluded, we were asked to draw the secret room. (efore proceeding with the secret room, I drew a trap door on the floor of my "edroom. The door led to a fireman%s pole with which I could slide down and enter the room. The pole

had a "lack light installed, as my real room currently has a "lack light. Inside, there is also a disco "all that flashes a multitude of colors. Another feature in the secret room is an orange and green portal to heaven. This would "e a place where I could visit my deceased relatives and friends, including my father and my "est friend. The portal glows in the "lack light. I also included an altar with a crystal "all, a candle, and "urning incense. There is also a )en garden with rocks, a fountain, and *eiki sym"ols drawn in the sand. +ver to the left is where I am located. I am meditating while ,amantha, my dog, stands kitty-cornered to me #mi ed metaphor intended.$ ,he is near the garden and I am at the edge of the carpet upon which I am meditating and I am serving as a *eiki channel. This process was enlightening. There are still more elements I would like to add to my art, "ut I felt that it got to the route of what I desire for my personal comfort. I imagined myself seeking peace in a sacred space, so this is what came to mind as I was drawing my own room, as well as my secret room. Josh and Maria picked a great directive, "ecause it encouraged imagination. In most cases, it elicited a positive response in the drawings of other participants. I noticed during the discussion that Josh took the lead. Maria seemed hesitant throughout the e periential. -oticea"ly, Josh had more e perience with group facilitation than Maria. +verall, this directive was effective #rhyme intended.$ In most cases, it encouraged positivity in that people want to have positive dreams, even when negativity looms around them. 'hile this e periential was taking place, I reali&ed the need to have a sacred space for myself. (oth rooms were designed for pleasure and pleasure alone, and pleasure was surely derived from participating in this directive.

CO-LEADER For the second part of the final, I was a co-leader in an art therapy session. -adia and I were the co-leaders of this session. The directive was an e ercise in free association. 'e instructed the participants to write a word on a piece of paper. -e t, we instructed them to take that word and draw or paint a picture directly associated with that word. The group had forty minutes to complete the e periential. The participants .umped right into the process. It appeared that no one was stumped "y the directive and that they had immediate connections with their words. 'hile I was looking around the room, I saw participants deep in thought. For -adia and I, this was pleasing. I "arely intervened, "ut did make a couple of suggestions during the session. The first one was that any medium could "e used. I forgot to mention this at the "eginning of the session, "ut I made it a point to mention it minutes after the fact, in case it wasn%t clear. /nowing that the group came prepared, it seemed as if that prompt was implied. The other prompt involved the possi"ility of finishing early during the forty minute session. I gave the participants the option of creating more than one solution to the directive. ,ome seemed to "e pleased, as it appeared some were finishing early. The room was 0uiet. -adia kept the time for the group and kept a record of how much time elapsed during the session. ,he mentioned the elapsed time in ten minute intervals, which may have "een one of the few interventions made during the group. As mentioned previously, everyone was focused and hardly anyone made a sound. +ne participant, /risten, was humming while she was drawing, which added a nice dynamic to the group%s climate. After forty minutes passed, -adia and I led a discussion on the e periential. The words picked were diverse. ,ome words included1 peace, weather, music, and school. There was one

that stuck out to me the most, and that was ,imone%s choice. ,he picked the word carousel. 2er picture featured a white horse that was shaded with different tones of gray. A"ove the horse was a foray of green leaves drawn in what appeared to "e soft pastels. The green and white accents were vivid and it especially drew me in. It seemed as if ,imone thought fondly of the memories spent in 3alifornia riding a carousel in her youth. Another selection of drawings that captured my attention were from 2arriet. ,he picked three words during the span of the session. Those words were crisp, copyleft, and color. The first word showed that she has a flair for organi&ation and neatness. The second word denoted a penchant for wanting to share. The third word displayed a desire for hope. -adia and I "oth picked up on the fact that each of these words "egan with the letter 3. The group discussion was insightful. -adia and I "oth offered commentary on what the people in the group created, and we offered feed"ack on the feelings these drawings evoked. I felt like I slipped into the role of the leader effectively, as I worked as a counselor at ,outh (each 4sychiatric 3enter for nearly five years. In this time, I facilitated self-help groups and lead poetry workshops every month. -adia and I agreed that I might have felt a little more natural leading the group, "ut I en.oyed working with her. 'e put our heads together on a num"er of occasions. 'e had three ideas for directives, "ut eventually picked the aforementioned directive used during this session. I wanted to see -adia step up on some occasions and was glad she did. I know that I can "e the type of person who can take charge, "ut I didn%t want to "e domineering in this pro.ect, so I wanted us to share the responsi"ilities. I felt that this was surely achieved. In summary, this was a successful group. -adia and I worked well together. The participants en.oyed the directive, and it was good to see all of the vivid solutions in this

e periential. ,ome say a picture is worth a thousand words, "ut sometimes it takes .ust a solitary word to start the process of creation.

OBSERVER For the third part of the final, I was an o"server in an art therapy session. 2arriet and ,imone were the co-leaders of this session. The directive involved thinking of an event that occurred in the past week. After giving thought to the events, participants were directed to "uild a 5-6 collage. The co-leaders provided supplies. These supplies included a "rown paper "ag, one "lack sheet of paper, one white sheet of paper, a glue stick, scissors, and a stick of chalk. There were also supplies in the middle of the ta"le arrangement, including feathers, ri""ons, and paper "eads crafted "y 2arriet. The only medium re0uired was a set of oil pastels. The group had forty-five minutes to complete the e periential. 2arriet and ,imone added a few elements that were different from the previous groups. +ne of them incorporated the use of music. ,imone "rought her laptop and played slow and soft elevator music while the participants were hard at work. (oth co-leaders provided assistance to those who needed more supplies and and needed to dispose of scraps of paper left from cutting with the scissors. This proved to "e useful, as there was a lot of interaction "etween the co-leaders and the participants. This was also the noisier of the three groups, as paper crumpled throughout the duration of the session. Another element to the e periential was the e0ual division of responsi"ilities. As an o"server, I could tell that the two co-leaders worked well together. They "oth asked engaging 0uestions after the e periential concluded. There were a num"er of common themes in the art pieces, many of which involved Thanksgiving weekend.

The participants "egan working on their pro.ects immediately. They were not shy a"out asking for any kind of assistance from the co-leaders. In the prior groups, this did not occur. This was primarily due to the fact that the other pro.ects were 7-6 and re0uired less assistance. As a result, previous groups were less talkative. The 5-6 most emphatic collage was created "y Joe. 2e had a lot of emotional connections to Thanksgiving and sculpted a ta"le where a Thanksgiving feast often commenced. 2e was especially connected to the dining room ta"le, as it was an integral part of his youth. 2e made place settings for his relatives, as well as a shrine for relatives who passed away, including his parents and his "est friend from college. +ne could tell he had strong ties, as he talked at length a"out his e periences and needed the release. For many of the participants, it was their first Thanksgiving in America. Inga, a woman of 8uropean descent, spent her Thanksgiving eating a regular meal on the holiday, as she was not familiar with the traditions. ,he focused on 3hristmas, as she made a "eautiful sculpture including a wrapped present and an angel. 3hristal, a 3anadian woman whose Thanksgiving takes place in +cto"er, created a collage featuring fireworks using curled ri""ons. It depicted a strong sense of vi"rant sentiments. 2aylee, a native of Mississippi, made a scupture of a plane flying home for the holidays. +ther collages included ,arah%s (oston terrier and nest made from the paper "ag, Maria%s heart and "ou0uet for a future lover, *oshni%s feathered mask and flowing a"stract design, and 9loria%s chaotic collage from which she gained clarity. 'hile the participants felt rela ed "y the music, I felt it to "e a distraction. In a few instances, I felt sleepy during the e periential. I was also distracted "y the crumpling of paper. 'hile some found this to "e rela ing, to me it felt like a cacophony against the music. 4erhaps, had I "een participating in the session, I may have felt differently. ,ince I am highly sensitive

to sound, I felt somewhat an ious. Aside from this, I felt the group was effective. (oth 2arriet and ,imone were active in the facilitation of the session and that made for an entertaining and imaginative e periential. +verall, it was a great process. :--The entire e perience of participating in the three sessions in three different capacities was enlightening. It gave me insight into "oth how to lead an art therapy group and to understand what the participants in such a group would e perience. I look forward to learning more a"out the art therapy process in the ne t semester.

-FI--