Living. Learning. Illumination

By Whitney Maclin

The first week at Banyan has come to a close. I am in awe of the richness of our experience. As I sit reflecting on my last five days, I see the mentally ill, stigmatized, rejected and broken women of the streets. I question my ability to hold the weight of their despairs. Yet today I feel strong and encouraged. The outside labels have fallen away and I know only my personal experience; the mingling of Tamil and Hindi being spoken in the same room, the various hands aching to be held, and the smiles buried just below the surface. Chia-hua, Jackie, Beth, and I have had the pleasure of working with 16 women who have resided at the Banyan for five or more years. Each woman was hand chosen to join our art therapy group with the hope that working together would provide a necessary push. However, I must admit that I had different plans. Together my peers and I have encouraged self-expression and social interaction over task completion. The language barrier in many cases has allowed the art to do the talking and facilitated the client-to-client interactions.

Yesterday we traveled to the tiny town of Kovalam, we saw for ourselves the goal that our clients will someday reach. Kovalam serves as a protective community that fosters independence and vocational training. For the women of the Banyan, Kovalam represents great strides. I was amazed at the beauty and precision of the woodblock printed saris and papers, the intricate nature of the woven bags, and the pride shown on the faces of every woman we saw. We ventured further down the cow strewn road and entered the oasis that served as the independent living compound. Each cottage housed 6 women who created wonderful works to be sold, or engaged in agricultural work to financially support themselves. I was struck by the sense of ownership as I watched a young woman sweeping her front door step; I wanted this for my clients.

I woke up this morning feeling inspired and renewed. Kovalam provided illumination and I hope that our presence brings light to the life of our clients. I am anxiously awaiting the surprises next week will bring.

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Living. Learning. Illumination

By Whitney Maclin

The first week at Banyan has come to a close. I am in awe of the richness of our experience. As I sit reflecting on my last five days, I see the mentally ill, stigmatized, rejected and broken women of the streets. I question my ability to hold the weight of their despairs. Yet today I feel strong and encouraged. The outside labels have fallen away and I know only my personal experience; the mingling of Tamil and Hindi being spoken in the same room, the various hands aching to be held, and the smiles buried just below the surface. Chia-hua, Jackie, Beth, and I have had the pleasure of working with 16 women who have resided at the Banyan for five or more years. Each woman was hand chosen to join our art therapy group with the hope that working together would provide a necessary push. However, I must admit that I had different plans. Together my peers and I have encouraged self-expression and social interaction over task completion. The language barrier in many cases has allowed the art to do the talking and facilitated the client-to-client interactions.

Yesterday we traveled to the tiny town of Kovalam, we saw for ourselves the goal that our clients will someday reach. Kovalam serves as a protective community that fosters independence and vocational training. For the women of the Banyan, Kovalam represents great strides. I was amazed at the beauty and precision of the woodblock printed saris and papers, the intricate nature of the woven bags, and the pride shown on the faces of every woman we saw. We ventured further down the cow strewn road and entered the oasis that served as the independent living compound. Each cottage housed 6 women who created wonderful works to be sold, or engaged in agricultural work to financially support themselves. I was struck by the sense of ownership as I watched a young woman sweeping her front door step; I wanted this for my clients.

I woke up this morning feeling inspired and renewed. Kovalam provided illumination and I hope that our presence brings light to the life of our clients. I am anxiously awaiting the surprises next week will bring.

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GLOBAL IMPRESSIONS: ART THERAPISTS TRAVEL THE WORLD

Click here to see the current exhibit at the GW Art Therapy Gallery!

Addis Ababa Sidestreet by Tracy Councill

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ARPILLERAS: COMMUNITY ACTION AND EMPOWERMENT THROUGH NARRATIVE TEXTILE ART

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Exhibit March 6-April 6, 2012,  413 John Carlyle Ave., 2nd Floor; Hours M-F 9am-8pm Workshop Lecture and art making experiential Saturday, March 31, 2012, 2-5pm $25.oo materials fee; $10.00 for students.  CEUs available. Co-facilitators: Rachel Cohen, PhD and Lisa Raye … Continue reading

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RECIPROCITY: BUILDING BRIDGES IN A WAR-AFFECTED COMMUNITY

This interactive workshop offering two continuation credits will afford participants unique access to art as therapy through the eyes of an American and Ugandan practitioner in war-affected northern Uganda.  Andrew E. Briggs and Peter Odoch will frame the macro to micro socio-economic, health, and cultural factors that define the pursuit of health in this region.  The multi-faceted Freedom in Creation approach utilizes art as therapy to meet  psychological, educational and economic needs.  With such insight, art therapists will be better prepared for cross culture practice.

Friday, January 20, 2012 9am-5pm    Cost: $20 for Professionals

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GW Art Therapy in Puerto Rico!

Rachel Albert, Maricel Ocasio and Donna Betts

During the weekend of October 1-2, 2011, the Puerto Rico Department of Education sponsored a conference for special education public school personnel at the Sheraton hotel in San Juan.  On Saturday, GW professor Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC, presented “The use of Art Activities and Strategies with Students on the Autism Spectrum.”  On Sunday, GW adjunct professor Rachel Albert presented “Strategies to Manage Autism Spectrum Disorders in a School Setting.”  The conference was organized by GW Art Therapy alumna Maricel Ocasio.  We were delighted to promote art therapy in this context to an enthusiastic audience of 500 social workers, psychologists, teachers, and other personnel!

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GW Art Therapy in South Africa

This summer GW Art Therapy traveled to South Africa for the Social & Cultural Diversity course. The trip was three weeks and we visited Cape Town, Johannesburg, and then worked for two weeks in Winterveld, a tiny town in the north, at a youth center, Bokamoso, and with children in a day care center. The trip then ended with a weekend safari in Pilanesburg. The landscape is breathtaking, the people are some of the friendliest I have ever met, and the art therapy was warmly welcomed by everyone.

Quote from student: “After this trip, I am much more self-aware! Of both my biases and my own cultural identity. I have worked with clients from a culture different than my own and know better how to be adaptable and flexible.  I made amazing connections within the community that have guided my understanding of being a culturally competent therapist.” 

Cape of Good Hope, the most South-Western point of the African continent–
it is winter in South Africa, so it was chilly!

Working with the children in the Day Care Center, which was also our home for two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

Working with the youth at the center. Every day began with prayer, singing, and dancing–and, yes, we all had to dance!

 

 

 

 

 

The Safari was amazing for all of us! We saw every animal you can imagine–elephants, giraffe, zebra, lions, a leopard, wildebeests, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs . . .

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CHECK OUT THIS LINK!

To see lots of pictures, taken by GW alumna Lindsey Vance, of the AATA conference and the GW Alumni party, click here!

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GW ART THERAPY CELEBRATES 40 YEARS!

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Many thanks to all of you who were able to attend the Art Therapy Program’s anniversary party on July 8, 2011.   The celebration was not only for 40 years of art therapy training; it was truly a celebration of the incredible work you all do to make this a better world.  We are fortunate to be affiliated with such strong, amazing and creative art therapists.  Let’s continue to take every opportunity to re-connect, and stay connected–to each other and to the program.

All photos by Chris Garlock

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Art Therapist’s Art in Response to Trauma

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The current exhibit at the GW Art Therapy Program gallery includes work by art therapy faculty and a collection of artwork by Shirley Mason, also known as “Sybil.”  Most people know of Sybil through the movie staring Sally Field, or … Continue reading

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