Milestones and Transformation

In the time since my last post, I have completed 10 more units toward my degree, traveled to both the UK and Costa Rica for cross-cultural and international service trips, and begun my Practicum traineeship at a K-8 school in the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, I have completed 59 units and have 18 remaining. This week, I began semester 7 of 8 before graduation.

These are fun milestones, but the most transformational experiences were the international learning trips. In Costa Rica, five NDNU students worked with Viva Nicaragua Abroad to provide numerous art therapy workshops to Nicaraguan refugees, as well as medical students and staff of the Universidad Internacional de las Americas (UIA). Once the workshops concluded, our remaining art supplies were donated to Viva Nicaragua Abroad.

I am humbled and so grateful to have participated in this particular project, which allowed me to deepen my cross-cultural experience and understanding, and to practice skills in trauma-informed art therapy, leadership, communication, and group collaboration. I will never forget the heartfelt welcome from these refugees and other individuals, and am touched to have been part of this strengths-based experience with them.

Thesis Completion

The close of this semester carries my thesis completion with it! This was a three-semester deep dive into art therapy research, with an added summer semester between proposal and project to let things percolate. It was intense and stretched me beyond my perceived capacities on several levels. However, it has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring.

In addition to accomplishing this capstone for my degree, I was humbled to receive the Outstanding Thesis Award from the School of Education of Psychology, and participated in the 19th Annual Thesis Interdisciplinary Conference at NDNU.

I also finished my thesis mandala, which is a visual representation of the hours spent writing my thesis. Starting from the center and working outward are color-coded tally marks to show the hours I spent toward Chapter 1, 2, 3, IRB, data collection, 4, 5, and final edits.

Art Directives

Here are some additional art directives that I completed in Advanced Human Development and Law and Ethics II. It was especially beneficial to explore the different ways that these directives can be applied to different stages of development, and to clarify my approach to ethical decision-making and related considerations.

Spring Semester Directives

I am in the final weeks of my thesis completion class, about 5/6 of the way done after starting in January 2018 (who’s counting?). Alongside conducting my research and writing the results and discussion chapters, I have been taking courses in advanced human development. This has provided a great opportunity to look at directives that build rapport while understanding the specific reasons that certain work would only be done with certain age groups, and at certain points in the treatment plan (early, mid, late). Here are a few of my recent additions to my art therapy portfolio:

Rumi Light

There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in.

I've been working with this concept intermittently for a couple of years now and finally found the perfect stone to capture the essence of this quote: golden amber labradorite with dark feathering.

Thesis Mandala

This August, I began my thesis project, which is semester 2 of 3 for the thesis series in my MA-MFT art therapy psychology program.

I began to tally my hours spent writing each week. Each chapter is coded by color to represent my thesis experience. It shows the hours spent writing Chapters 1, 2, 3, and my IRB proposal. Upon completion of my research study, I will add a visual representation of Chapters 4, 5, and my time spent gathering data with participants. So far, I have not documented any class time, but may choose to include it in the margins of the paper when I am done.

The mandala is currently about 18” in diameter and uses paper, tissue paper, and marker on Arches watercolor paper.

Thesis Mandala,  in progress

Thesis Mandala, in progress

Art Therapy Experientials, Summer Edition

I have been immersed in condensed, workshop-style art therapy courses this summer. It has been intense, but also incredibly eye-opening. I have gained a much stronger grasp of cross cultural issues, neurobiological art therapy trauma treatment, art therapy techniques for specific populations, creative arts therapies, and metaphors in psychopathology.

Here is a sampling of some of my own work.

Listed in order:

Cross-Cultural Issues - "Art on a Book" Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Neurobiologically Informed Trauma Art Therapy Treatment for Children - "Initials"

Cross-Cultural Issues - "Culture Puppet"

Metaphors in Child Psychopathy - "You Draw, I Follow" mirroring exercise

Integrating Creative Arts - "Found Poetry"

Cross-Cultural Issues - "Group Mandala"

Cross Cultural Issues - "Native Art"

Mandala/Color Theory - "The Great Round"

Integrating Creative Arts - "Mermaids"