Expressive Arts Curriculum Design Professional Development
3-Credit Humanities Practicum with Professor Kathryn Kirby
COURSE DESCRIPTION This supervised practicum will focus on the on the use of foundational Expressive Arts activities and outcomes in group and individual settings. Foundational Expressive Arts approaches will focus on a range of modalities, including creative writing, visual journaling, collage, painting, and dramatic narrative expressions. This practicum will occur in a professional clinical recovery and rehabilitation setting that will support working knowledge of co and independent expressive art facilitation in adult group and individual populations. COURSE OBJECTIVES 1)Examine various Expressive Art activities and assessment of application based on group and individual needs 2)Create expressive art specific lesson planning 3)Research productive creative techniques/methods that can transfer to workshop a healing environment 4)Develop professional skill-sets in working a working environment 5)Build cohesive supervision and co-worker relationships 6)Document and synthesize experiential goal outcomes
Summary of Practicum Activities
This supervised practicum occurred at Viewpoint Dual Recovery Clinic in downtown Prescott, Arizona. My direct supervisor was therapist, director, and owner, Amy Frackell. My co-facilitator was Roberta Sulls, who also completed a practicum at this facility and now is a part-time hire. This supervised practicum focused on the on the use of foundational Expressive Arts activities and outcomes in-group settings that ranged from 16-19 individuals. Three- hour sessions were held on Mondays and Fridays, along with non-client supervision and staffing/itern sessions of three-hours each Tuesday.
Viewpoint Dual recovery clients are diagnosed with or display clear signs of one of the following mental illnesses, in addition to a potential or established substance abuse problem.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety or Panic Disorders
Expressive arts can be described and as a tool that utilizes expressive creative modalities to increase a client’s psychological functioning and improved sense of self. Though this internship was in a clinical setting, my internship was based on non-clinical healing modalities, that were nonetheless based on traditional art therapy frameworks. From the unique, life-expanding art therapy field a facilitator can enhance the careful use of non-clinical variations of artistic exercises and directives. Malchiodi (2013), succinctly describes art therapy as such: “Art therapy is the application of the visual arts and the creative process within a therapeutic relationship, to support, maintain, and improve the psychosocial, physical, cognitive and spiritual health of individuals of all ages” (para. 12). Art is used as a mechanism to give voice to human processes that may be difficult to share or confront. In a supportive, safe therapeutic environment, the art manifested through the expressive arts process can become the voice of trauma, cognitive disorders and other emotional and physical ailments.
Expressive arts are a valid field that is increasingly utilized in the healing realm and can be successfully implemented to ease a variety of mental and physical health ailments such as child and adult trauma, chronic and mental illnesses such as PTSD, dementia, cancer, and many other disabilities, and in a variety of clinical and non-clinical environments. ‘Current and emerging research in mind-body medicine, allied health and integrative healthcare demonstrates that art therapy is an effective, health-enhancing intervention and form of treatment (Malchiodi, 2012).
Expressive art modalities provide an abundance of benefits for substance abuse clients including, increased cognitive flexibility, a connectedness to their life history before their addiction, during, and currently; it enhances the brain in motor planning, provides a visually-based method of communication, improves concentration, organizational skills, and encourages social bonding, whether within a group. The information gathered by facilitating, observing, and detailed note-taking, the client information attained from facilitating these twice-weekly sessions was very helpful to the on-staff therapists at Viewpoint Dual Recovery in assessing the client’s mood, progress, ability to follow directives, function in a group setting and gage effort levels.
Foundational expressive arts approaches and directives focused on a range of modalities, including creative writing, visual journaling, collage, music, painting, and dialogue / narrative expressions.
Here are a few of the simplistic arts directives
Expressive self-portrait from photos
Thank you cards to one person that has supported the client’s recovery
Collage cards that illustrate what client’s recovery means to them
Open expression of emotions with oil pastel
Illustrating a favorite season
Multi-media sculpture: Illustrating client’s life as amusement park
Vision boarding with pictures of current, sober self
Multi-media illustration of self-esteem as a result of sobriety
Multi-media sculpture: Illustrating client’s life as house
Illustrating quotes / music / songs
This internship allowed me the unique opportunity to work in a clinical setting with a diverse population group. My learning outcomes resulted in the following:
· Ability to creative efficient directives
· Learned to gage mood, manipulative tactics, drives for hierarchy
· Learned to negotiate with and encourage clients
· Was able to assist clients in reframing negativity
· Was able to promote positive, open sharing during dialogue sessions
· Learned to work in a co-facilitation environment
· Learned to exist within a professional clinical environment
In conclusion, my internship hours proved to be a valuable assets to supporting my professional skills for future work in the expressive arts fields. Further, it allowed me to re-frame my educational and career goals to include the desire for credentialing as a professional licensed counselor, so that I may educate myself in a manner that will allow me to be a professional helper that can work with a wide variety of populations.
Additionally, I was offered a permanent position with this clinic, however, due to my upcoming state relocation, I was unable to accept the position.
Malchiodi, C. (Ed.). (2012). Handbook of art therapy. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Naumberg, M. (1987). Dynamically oriented art therapy. Chicago: Magnolia Publishers. Psychology Today. (2013) Defining art in the 21st century. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-healing-arts/201304/defining-art-therapy-in-the-21st-century.