Sunday, November 23, 2008

AATA Conference

I almost don't know where to start. The AATA conference was so amazing and an experience I will not be able to duplicate. I guess the best way to do it is go through day by day.

We got an early start and were on the road at 6:30. It was cold, but we were armed with our coffee and knitting needles. The trip up was filled with dance parties in the car, a spectacle of towed object and knitting—lots of knitting. We had a blast a documented the trip with pictures. Kristen picked an amazing restaurant [Yats] to eat at in Indy, and gave us the rundown on her city.

We finally arrived in Cleveland at about 5:30, an hour and a half before pre-check-in at the conference closed so we walked the mile from our hotel to the conference hotel. Along the way, we saw theater square, a window full of toys and trolls AND a Christmas Story themed storefront window. It was a cold brisk walk, but we were so excited to finally be there, we didn't complain [too much anyway]. When we got there to pick up our conference materials, we got these amazing bags decorated with wheelchair art, later I would find a buckeye inside [we were in Ohio] and it made me tear up thinking of my Pappy who used to give us buckeyes to keep with us for good luck.

We were all hungry so we headed out to try to find some food. We ran into a public safety officer [Albert] on our way to find food and he recommended the Hairy Buffalo which was amazing, and gave us the opportunity to have a drink and relax a bit. And then we walked back to our hotel and planned our next day.

I got up bright and early to attend a supervision on boundaries. It was nice to hear other professionals and how they approached boundary violations in the therapeutic environment. We did a visualization exercise where we envisioned our boundaries. I envisioned a large velvet blanket type cloak with an opening. I could open it up when needed, and ivite loved ones in it with me, but keep others out if needed.

I then departed the group for my off-site workshop—a trolley art tour of the city along with an afternoon at Zygote Press making monoprints. It was a very invigorating session—the creative energy was so thick in the room, you could fill it emanating from each of us involved. Not only was the creativity high, but the facility was involved in so many inspiring community arts programs—they even have a press on wheels that they take out to the community. I was awe-struck and full of ideas of my own, not to mention inspired in how to integrate printmaking into art therapy techniques.

I met up with the rest of the crew at the student only session by Harriet Wadeson. From there we went on to an Art Therapy gallery opening.

Debbie and I got up bright and early to make it to the Dream Matrix in the morning. It was a powerful experience of sharing nighttime dreams, the images were vivid and full of emotion. Then off to the opening session, where 1,070 fellow art therapists gathered this year. Bruce Perry gave a validating and inspiring talk about childhood trauma and the neuroscience involved in attachment.

Then off to see Shaun McNiff's student session. He is so energetic it is hard not to feel energized and excited about art therapy after his session. Followed by a session with Harriet Wadeson on creative writing and art therapy. We wrote a small segment about a client of ours and got feedback from peers.
She resisted the process. I began to think I wasn't doing my job. I needed to challenge her—to do ART THERAPY—not make doodles. And so I did. And she responded, but not the response I had hoped for. She shut down completely. I had become what she was so resistant against.

It was so interesting to look at a client this way, and really helped to put my feelings about the situation in place.

At lunch Rosemary and I took a short walk over to the Old Stone Church. It was beautiful, and had the most amazing pipe organ and 4 Tiffany windows.

In the afternoon I proctored a session called Restless Creativity. It was about the emerging therapist identity. After a short presentation, we embarked on a journey of creativity and self-exploration. We created a collage:

and then we brain stormed 5 words from the image:
  1. introspective
  2. containment
  3. nurture
  4. warmth
  5. robotic
and then we created a poem using the words:
As I begin my journey
I struggle with the amount of
I struggle to remain warm and human
And not to become robotic in the world around me
It's a constant balance

We then changed images with someone and they brainstormed words for our images. These are what my partner included: old things, goodbye, sort, protected, gone, radiance, radiative energy, logic, orderliness, dream, painfulness and growth, cold, metallic, protective.

It was such a great experience that I would like to include in my journal.

I spent the evening at the artist market with Natalie, and then the SIUe party followed by a night out on the town.

I actually slept in a little and missed a bit of the first session, but was able to see the amazing film SideCars.And then I participated in a round table discussion about using art with countertransferencial issues with clients. It was most beneficial because I was able to meet people who might help my thesis.

We spent the rest of the evening on the town visiting museums. We saw a thought-provoking exhibit called Race at the history museum. My favorite part of the exhibit was part of an artists project looking at multi-racial individuals called The Hapa Project. Displayed are picture of the people along with their handwritten definition of what they are. My favorites were the children's explanations. One said that he didn't tell people he was Danish because they thought he was a pastry. Another drew a drawing of a girl with a bubble that simply said "I'm a person."

Then me and Debbie headed to the art museum and saw the exhibit Artistic Luxury about Tiffany, Fabergé and Lalique. It was beautiful and breathtaking. Their were pieces on loan from the Queen, Joan and Melissa Rivers, and many other socialites/royalty. It was a once in a lifetiem experience as these three designers have not been exhibited together since the 1900 World's Fair in Paris.

We met up with the group and had an amazing Mediterranean dinner at Falafel and then back to the hotel to transform ourselves into rockstars for the dance. After the makeup and the hairspray we crowded into a car, and were off. We entered in true rockstar form as an entourage. We enjoyed dancing the night away with our professors [and my supervisor was there too!] Mama G (as Gussie was affectionately nicknamed on the trip) enjoyed finding the authors of our textbooks s that we could take advantage of the Kodak moment. It was truly a night to remember. Again the pictures are here.

After a tremendously fun weekend we checked out of the hotel, and got back on the road, returning to our everyday routines back in St Louis. I still have a week vacation to enjoy [if you can call writing papers, journals and a treatment notebook that] at home with the fam.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Journal Part 7

I only have 4 weeks left at my site... 8 days, and only a handful of pages left in my journal. What an amazing journey... Next semester I will start a new journal, for a new practicum which will be for my thesis...







Sunday, November 9, 2008

Experientials Vol. 45

We did this image last week in ethics when we were talking about the idea of displaying client artwork. I drew the artwork as becoming bigger than the client, with the focus being on the art and not the client. Although the art is supremely helpful, and why I am going to be an art therapist, I still feel that the focus should be on the client. So as Valorie would say, displaying client art is a sticky wicket and puts the focus on something else... the product and not the process.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Experientials Vol. 44

In this experiential we were supposed to draw a dream. I drew an animal that has been in dreams recently and is coming to me a lot just as a visual image—the peacock. I looked up the meaning for the peacock and it says that it could mean Vision, Wisdom, Beauty, and/or Guardianship.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Journal Part 6









Friday, October 24, 2008

Experientials Vol. 43

Today we did a guided imagery experience where we were supposed to think about different emotional states (anger, happiness and fear) and then pay attention to our body sensation after--did our temperature change, did our posture change, did our facial expression change, heartrate, etc... It was interesting and I did feel a change with anger where my body temperature did rise. With happiness it was more about feeling safe for me. And after being in this state of safety it was really difficult to go to a state where I did not feel safe, where I felt afraid.

Here are the images of the emotions we did afterwards.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Experientials Vol. 42

Today we were talking about multicultural issues in ethics and one of the comments was that is art really a universal language across cultures. Symbolism can be different, colors hold different meaning etc... Well I did my artpiece on the fact that although it may not be a universal language, it can bring us together, and help bridge gaps.

And this is just a cute little guy that I did in a session with a client.

And incidentally this blog does not contain the answer to life, the universe and everything. ;)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Experientials Vol. 41

This is another piece from my Ethics class. We were talking about boundaries with clients, and things like what do you do if you see a client out in the grocery, or if you are a restaurant and your server comes up and its your client. The phrase "You'd be in a pickle" (or some derivative) kept coming up. And then one of my classmates said "but we are all in the pickle jar together!" This was such a comforting thought for me to know that yeah, these are all tough situations, but we are all gonna have them and I am not alone. So my piece is the nine of us—all pickles—in a pickle jar... together.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Experientials Vol. 40

This was a really cool experiential that we did about the preset moment. We were in pairs, and one person got to be the client and the other the therapist. The client got to draw a picture and the therapist focused in on a 10-second moment (an action or something in the piece) to talk about more in-depth and gain insight. My piece overall was about containing excitement about a lot of things going on in my life right now, and my moment was when I ran my fingers over the three arcs calmly to blend them. It had a lot of meaning to me and was in itself very calming. It was a neat experience that seems to be an appropriate intervention with adults.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Journal Part 5









Thursday, September 25, 2008

Experientials Vol. 39

Today we had a really neat experience of meeting with some consumers from Chestnut Lodge. It is a clubhouse model rehabilitation center for the mentally ill. It was an amazing experience to hear their perspective on living with a mental illness. As part of the experience we worked on a group piece together. Our group decided to each draw a planet in the solar system. And this is what it looked like.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Experientials Vol. 38

Here is a piece that I did today in Ethics class just about how overwhelming the concepts are.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Experientials Vol. 37

Another week down, and what an exciting week. I am all set to submit my thesis proposal, and if all goes well graduate in May. And I have decided to stay in St Louis in lieu of moving home. And there are some other things in the works that are just as exciting!!

These two are just really small pieces, but we did them in Ethics to reflect on "Why did you choose to become and art therapist?" and "What unresolved conflicts do you have that might hinder your work as a therapist?" It is always nice to think about your intentions on these sorts of questions, and to become as self-aware as possible. And beyond that, I got to use glitter!!

Journal Part 4

I started working at the children's psychiatric hospital for my second semester, and here are the journal entries thus far. Fraggle Rock makes an appearance in the last one!






Monday, September 1, 2008

Experiential Vol. 36

So the new school year is here, and this year is sure to offer as many exciting challenges as the last. I am in Ethics, Adult Art Therapy, Printmaking and am continuing to work at the Children's Psychiatric Hospital.

On the first day of Ethics we were to do a piece about what we thought about ethics. Mine was about how a seemingly small problem can escalate in to bigger problems, and hoping that I will have the foresight to contain them while they are small.

On the first day of Adult we were to create a portrait of the class. Mine just illustrates the anticipation and excitement of not knowing what the class will offer.

We also started working on a group experiential which is the game of life. The concept of the game board is lily pads, and that there is not a single path to make it through life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Journal Part 3

I finished up the first half of the internship at the Children's Psychiatric Hospital. Will start the second half on August 25... I am sure it will prove to be just as exciting as this semester!








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