Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Experientials Vol. 16

I am really a liar it seems... got another one for you today, actually two! So one more day of class left, one final and I will be done with the first semester of grad school. How exciting is that? It has been an amazing 4 months. All the ladies are awesome in the program and we have had some great experiences together, both in the classroom and outside (can't wait to thursday nights celebration in fact!)

So for these two pieces we were read a poem and asked to respond to it. It was about a transcendental guide and this is what i came up with.

So these are a bit darker than most my pieces. I am sure my mood, which is great but drained, had some to do with it, as did some of the imagery in the poem... but none-the-less they are what they are!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Experientials Vol. 15

Ok so I lied :) We did do an experiential. We were all asked to look at an image or in my case read a poem and to let the images come to us and draw them. [disclaimer to go with this image... I am not nor do I want to be pregnant right now :)] So my poem said something like, "she found her belly in the swirling clockwise sea" and this is the image that came to me. I think that it is directly correlated to the poem, but I think that it could also be symbolic of femininity in general.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Semester 1 Wrap-up

So sadly I won't have very many more fun things to share until maybe January or so. The semester is winding down so we have all of the meat due! We had 3 papers due last week. Another 3 due next week, a couple presentations, and oh yeah don't forget the finals. All in two weeks time!

But I do have this to share with you.It is a project that we were working on called a Self-Box. It is supposed to have symbolism about our personal growth and self... I'll let you all come up with your own symbols on this one though!!

So that is about it for me... wish me luck!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Experientials Vol. 14

So this week has started out long already... again! We had a test today and we have a paper due on Thursday. I did start actual sessions on Monday so that was interesting, again it is just another step to making this all feel more real.

So first I wanted to share some pictures of my big helper, Brody... I think that he thought that it would be fun to lay on one of my pictures! The pictures don't show it quite as well... but it totally looked like I tie-dyed his feet, the other one was red and purple!! What a cutie :)

On this next piece we worked with a partner and worked on restatement. Basically we made a picture talked about it and then our partner was supposed to listen and restate what we said. It is really hard to do without changing the meaning of what they said. My story was something about how a lot of my art this semester has had similar themes and that I thought that it had a lot to do with being away from home and away from everyone I love... It was interesting in the restatement my partner said that it was a physical separation which I really tuned into, because that implies that it is not an emotional separation—which is completely true.

On this one we again worked with partners and we were given emotions to embody and make a piece of art. We were supposed to so this without any verbal communication and our partner was supposed to "listen" to our non-verbals to determine what our emotion was. Mine was boredom. It was really hard to stay in character and not get interested in making art, but my partner got in the ballpark—she used words like sad and withdrawn. I might not have been sad, but withdrawn certainly kind of fits...

And this last one is just something I did after getting done with the test early. It doesn't really have any significant meaning except that I purposefully tried to have my two figures interact and to remove the barrier between them... It didn't feel right doing it though, maybe I haven't completely worked through it yet.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Experientials Vol. 13

So another week down... I still can't believe how this semester is winding down so fast.

So this was kind of a neat experience. We were talking about family assessments and one of the pieces we talked about is called the family scribble. For this piece everyone in the family draws a scribble drawing. As a family you try to see things in the drawings, choose one to work on jointly and then create that piece. Our class was divided into two families and each person was given a role to play in the family. The first picture is just an example of a scribble drawing, the next is the finished scribble drawing my family came up with (which we called Mouse in a Firehouse) and the third is what the other family came up with (which they called Clown Bear).

This next series is also neat. We did these three as a group and the first one represents a child I am working with at Headstart, the second is how I feel in response to that child and the third is just me. In the first one I just feel like the child is walled off, quiet and reserved but has a great personality waiting to come out. In the second one I feel like I can't ever quite reach the child and that I have not connected yet, maybe that there is a barrier between us. And for the third one I had an image in mind and wanted it to be full of life and energy, after drawing it I realized it looks kinda like a footprint. But the purpose in this is to compare the three and see what we can learn about the relationship. I found the exercise very insightful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Experientials Vol. 12

These weeks are going by so fast. I can't believe that it is almost November and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I will be ready for the break...

So in this experiential we were supposed to think of a time when we felt powerful and then have a dialog with a partner about it using open questions. I had a hard time thinking of a time that I felt powerful because it is not a word I usually associate with myself, so I think that it actually has more to do with a time that I felt successful.

This one was a really quick one. We had a piece of paper and then folded it into eighths. Our teacher then prompted us to draw a quick gesture in each square as she read out an emotion. From left to right they are, top row: anger, fear, joy and sadness; bottom row: disgust, acceptance, anticipation and surprise. We were then asked to pick out two that seemed to be at odds with each other and try to create a picture with the two of them. In my combined image I used sadness and acceptance and tried to create a harmony between the two. I think that this could symbolize the needing to be held when you are sad, or also being accepted in spite of your sadness (or being allowed to feel sadness and not always having to be happy). It was an interesting exercise.

So that was my day in a nutshell...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Experientials Vol. 11

So this past week has been a little hectic (again!) but it is over and on to a new one. We had 2 tests last week and then a paper of sorts to turn in on Tuesday, so that means I spent my weekend writing. Fun stuff :)

Here are a few things that I have done so far. This one is a drawing assessment that you give adults that doesn't look at content so much as whether or not they are able to complete the task and can be helpful in distinguishing depression and schizophrenia.

This is one that I did this weekend to take a break from writing the paper! And I wasn't thinking when I did it and my carpet was a bit yellow after. I got it up with a little elbow grease, but I know next time to lay down some newspaper or something.

So this one is a little different because I didn't actually do it myself, but rather I played therapist and directed the experiential and my partner actually did it. We had to videotape a helping session, with another student, and the experiential that I chose to do is called the Johari Window. Basically each panel is a different part of yourself (see diagram) and knowing each of the parts helps you to establish boundaries both personally and professionally. So this is what my mock-client did.

And lastly here is what my partner had me do in my mock session. So this is called a bilateral experiential. She drew the line down the center and asked me to think of a conflict. I had a hard time thinking about one, but finally decided to do mine about being at home versus being here. So she asked me to rate the magnitude of each feeling, being at home and being here, and then asked me if i had to choose a hand which hand being at home would be. I chose right because I am right handed. I then drew this on the right hand side of the page with my right hand. Then I drew being here (away from home) on the left side with my left hand. After completing this she prompted me to outline each drawing with the opposite hand. That is where th black marks come from. So I am not quite as good wiht my left hand and it felt really awkward, but it was a really neat exercise. (and as a bonus if you look close you can see ellie and brody claw marks where they decided to trample the paper this morning before I left!!)

So that is my week (well last week and some this week) thus far.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Experiential Vol. 10

So I had the best weekend ever. My birthday was awesome and I got to spend it with everyone that I love. But today it was back to work (er school). First thing I had a test, but then after that we got to play with CLAY! YAY! How fun.

So on this first experiential we were asked to respond to how we felt after hearing a rather bad helping response. It was pretty negative and just really squashed the client. We were given wire to work on this and in my piece I show three "figures." One is the client, one the therapist and one an unattainable goal. I felt like the helper was contributing to making the goal unattainable, and so is a barrier.

In this one we were read the same scenario but this time the helper was very supportive and helped the client understand the obstacles. On this one the client is in the center and is being held by the therapist on many levels. It is also a very organic looking piece and could be symbolic of the growth that the client was to make.

This piece is not a beauty or real fun to look at but it was a fun activity. We were looking at direct guidance. So we each had a partner and made a maze and then were to guide our partner through the maze while their eyes were shut using only words. It was very challenging, even with a simplistic maze and really made it apparent how clear and concise directions need to be. If you look closely you can see her pencil marks that are strewn all over the page... yeah I don't think that my directions were clear.

In this one we were given a card (the first image) and asked to respond to it using the materials (clay). I felt that the person in the card felt overwhelmed and unsheltered. And so I created a symbol of this feeling.

That has pretty much been my day in a nutshell. Tomorrow off to Headstart and Thursday another test and Friday the pumpkin patch with Headstart. Next week we have a paper due, and I am not even trying to think about how long it is going to be til I get to come home again... but at least then it will be for 11 days!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Experientials Vol. 9

So today we worked on some more helping skills. The first one is about immediacy and owning our feelings at the moment. We talked about how stressful the last couple weeks have been and that it is easy to question whether we are where we are supposed to be or not. And then we talked about how each of us knows in some part of our being that we are supposed to be here at this place at this time (meaning graduate school). And we were asked to draw where in our being we felt this, or knew this. It is a very crude drawing (we were only given a couple minutes) but this is what mine looked like.

And then we were asked to expand this feeling and how it felt. I felt like mine resonated outward, almost like a spiraling ripple effect and that ultimately it became all-encompassing.

And lastly we worked on Challenge. And this is where you would challenge a client to see things differently, usually in a discrepancy in their thinking, like when they say one thing but act another way. So on this one we were given a sheet with the overlapping circles and were supposed to think about a problem. On the left we were supposed to draw what we had control over, on the right what we could not control and in the middle what was negotiable. Mine ended up being more like on the left is how the problem feels, on the right is the problem and in the middle is the solution. This is a perfect example of how art can lead you to a conclusion, or to greater insight! It really is amazing :)

One more test this week and then I get to come home to celebrate my birthday with everyone I love. I am so excited :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Puppet Workshop

So today was the Lani Gerity puppet workshop, the lecture was last night, and we made paper puppets. It was a lot of fun and relatively easy to do. The applications of this workshop are enormous, she has worked with groups varying from Hurricane Katrina victims to multi-generational groups of grandchildren and grandparents. It really is amazing what you can do with them, and the stories that come out of these characters.

First I will share with you her 14 secrets to a Happy Artist Life, although I think that they are really just 14 Secrets for a Happy Life, artist or not :)

1. Find 3 good things every day. Use them in art.
2. Make everything special. Embellish your life.
3. Look for fairy godmothers and angel.
4. Play more often.
5. Look for smiling faces.
6. Wish everyone a happy life.
7. Find something to love where you are every day.
8. Make art every day.
9. Create time.
10. Honor thy grandmothers as much as possible.
11. Play with the grandchildren more often.
12. Create beauty with what you have at hand.
13. Join art round robins. Make art with friends. Make art as gifts.
14. Create secrets for a happy life and pass it on.

She had us create a story with our puppets and the basis is a happy spot, a problem, a gift or power that leads to resolution, and a new happy spot. Mine went something like this.

There once was an owl queen who lived in a very old forest. Her family had lived there for generations and they loved their home very much. One day the evil humans came in and began to log the forest to build a factory and the owl queen and her family lost their home. They searched and searched for a new one but found nothing. One day the owl queen met the lizard king and she began to tell him of how her family's home got destroyed. The lizard king sympathized with the owl queen and invited her to live in the new forest with him. So the owl queen and her family joined the lizard king in his kingdom and lived happily ever after.

(Not quite grimm's fairy tale material, but it will work!)

I loved the glittery wings of the owl!! :) It is my favorite part.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Experientials Vol. 8

Well this week went by fast, but I have the Fall Art Therapy Conference here this weekend, and the guest speaker is Lani Gerity (http://lanipuppetmaker.com/) and on Saturday I am going to get to make a puppet!! I will surely post pictures from this weekend. I am sad though because I am missing my favorite guy's birthday :(

But anyway, today we learned about the DDS which is just another drawing series you can ask your clients to do. It consists of a Free Drawing, a Draw a Tree and a Draw how you are Feeling. So here are my images.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Experientials Vol. 7

Man I have a lot of catching up to do. I have had 3 tests in the last 2 weeks, and did very well on all of them, so that is good. I had a paper and two presentations. With all that, we didn't have as much time to do artwork (well until today, and that sufficiently made up for it!).

This first piece is one that we did after talking about Jung. He believed in dream exploration and visually painting dreams. So, we listened to some chant type music and stared at images for a while to put us into a dreamlike state while we were awake. We were then to paint any images that came to mind. We were directed to use watercolor because of its dream-like properties.

This is a really neat piece that we did today. We were talking about interpretations and interpreting other people's feelings. So we were all given a sheet of paper and then everyone went around the room and wrote on an accompanying paper what they thought we were feeling (without knowing who did what piece) and this formed a sort of poem. I will put that after the piece, but it was neat to see how right they were, and how sometimes opposing views were both accurate. It was also interesting to see how certain things that I was not aware of came up in the piece, but that are very relevant—art is really amazing!!


balanced, suspended
mother & baby = protector & something special
back and forth, to and from
light, beauty, alike & disconnected
you are my sunshine, my only sunshine
something heavy in mind
domination, release
shift in energy

This one is one that I actually presented in class to discuss self disclosure in a helping relationship, basically what you would and wouldn't tell people. This was a learning exercise. We took a piece of paper and folded it in thirds and then on the outside drew what others know about us, on the middle we drew what we would share with people and then on the most external what we would not share with people. Mine became more of how I want people to see me on the outside, what I am open to people about and will share in the middle, and what I try to keep people from seeing or how I don't want them to see me.





And this last one was also a really neat experience. We had a guest Jungian art therapist and this is her directive that she gave us. Again it is about the unconscious mind. So for this one we had a black sheet of paper in front of us and we had to close our eyes for the whole thing. She then gave us each of the objects and we had to arrange them with our eyes closed. It was a real lesson in the senses for me and how much we rely on our eyesight, especially as artists. But it was really neat to see how different things looked than what we perceived them to look.

So that is my week in a nutshell (well I guess like a week and a half really). This weekend we have a conference here on campus with an art therapist from canada and we are going to make puppets. That should be fun. and then I have 2 tests again next week and a paper. But after that hard week, I will have another long weekend at home! YAY!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Experientials Vol. 6

Well test number 2 is done for the week, and I found out that I got an A on my test from Tuesday so that was awesome. I am gonna take tonight off and then it is off to Headstart tomorrow, and studying will commence again. I have yet another test on Tuesday and then a paper and presentation due on Thursday. What a life I lead :) I am kinda excited about the paper and presentation though, because it is very much a real life experience. We have to write a staffing report, and give the staffing report, on an actual case study. We were given the artwork to analyze from actual clients and have to write up the report on them. It is going to be challenging, but at the same time it is exciting to be doing doing something that is 100% relevant.

I did feel relieved after talking about Headstart today. It seems that I really only need to concentrate on my first site, and will continue to do so until they feel they need me at the other site, if that ever happens. Which is great because I was feeling a little overwhelmed trying to figure out how I was going to balance both of them.

Again I got done with my test a little early today and so I did another quick watercolor.

And then in class we were talking about the difference between sex and gender. With sex being the biological context and gender being the social context. It is really interesting when you start thinking about it. We were asked to make a drawing about how we define ourselves in regard to sex and then in regard to gender. At first when I was thinking about this I was coming up with about the same thing.

So I drew a figural drawing.

But then when I started to think about it more abstractly I thought about what I thought it meant to be female and a woman, and how I felt in comparison to this. So basically my next pieces were more about the idealized woman and then myself, and of course they are very abstract thoughts.

So that is today in a nutshell. I think I will go take the pups to the park and relax the rest of the night. I am gonna observe my last classroom tomorrow, and then at some point I will start developing a case load. I am nervous about that, but excited too...
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