So, as I said before, I have my master's degree in art therapy. A lot of people I have met in recent "Mom" years don't necessarily know that. Even more people don't know what that is. Art therapy is a specific therapeutic modality in mental health and behavioral health where a trained therapist introduces different art forms and materials as a way to encourage clients to work toward a specific goal. The thing about this field is that it is WAY diverse. Art therapists work with Veterans, children on the Autism Spectrum, people in substance abuse programs, patients in mental hospitals and pretty much any one who could benefit from this technique for growth and therapy. Art therapists also work in a lot of different settings and, as a result of the title not being "mainstream," a lot of different roles. I used to integrate art therapy into my job in behavioral health when I worked in people's homes and I integrated it into my role as a Therapist in a school I used to work at full time. These days I am working part time as an art instructor and utilizing my art therapy training in a small school program that serves kids with behavioral needs or who are on the Autism spectrum. School is not in session right now, but I couldn't resist sharing one of our last projects we did this year. I am in love with them. They inspire me to take risks as an artist and as an art instructor.
I am sure some of the support staff in the class thought I was pushing it when I said our final project was going to be a self-portrait! I kind of thought I was a little nuts to try it! And yet, try it and SUCCEED we did! Whenever I do projects like this when I want to empower kids to make original art, I try to give them a blanace between structured guidelines and individual choices.
The best option is to START with a structured guideline. I had the kids use a pre-cut tracer shape for the outline of their heads (of which they could choose from three sizes and shapes. Then I walked them step by step through drawing each feature on their faces- we used colored pencils so that they didn't have erasers at their disposal. GASP! Drawing without an eraser?!?! Blasphemy! Well, not, actually, really good training to use mistakes and not get bent out of shape over them. Try it. Let your mistakes stick around and turn them into character. That's life isn't it?! Or maybe you have a big ole Life Eraser I am not aware of?
The support staff were great at helping the kids look into the mirror or talk a little about what their features looked like. Some kids wanted to fantasize about being a superhero or having a beard. We went with it! You probably can't tell from these pictures who doesn't have ability to hold a conversation with you or who can barely keep their butt in a seat during class. But look at their art! It amazes me every time.
I am an eat, play, work at home Mom- a part time new-mom's support facilitator- full time dreamer of clay- an all the time thinker- a trained art therapist- and a home biz empower-er who never has enough minutes in the day, clay in my hands or ideas in my brain to create all the things!
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