Professional Practice Report
Animation Therapy, System Building and Art therapy
In order to delve deeper into my Professional Practice, I have further investigated my research into animation therapy from my previous essay and in doing so, I’ve been able to explore areas such as ‘setting up a workshop system’. Alongside this I have also widened my knowledge base in Art therapy
by attending a weeklong foundation course in Art Therapy.
Art therapy Foundation Course
I attended a weeklong art therapy foundation course in order to gain a deeper understanding about how art therapy works, and in particular to learn about the current systems. The lectures were focused on the history of art therapy and featured practical help around the theme of how art therapists from different settings deal with difficult challenges in their daily practice.
Throughout the course I studied specific techniques, such as;
• Imparting a clear understanding of how the sessions will run to the patient in the initial meeting.
• Keeping anything made, be that a detailed sketch of a brain, a black painted page or sharpening’s from a pencil, to safeguard all progress a patient may be making.
• Take care with boundaries such as time, environment, materials.
• Keeping consistency wherever possible.
• Be aware of Transference (when the patient transfers the emotions to the
therapist) and counter-transference (the therapist transfers emotions to the patient).
• Conducting the work under strict confidentiality - the content of the sessions should remain confidential unless; the client discloses suicidal content, a minor discloses that they have self-harmed, a minor discloses information indicating they are or may be victims of sexual, emotional or physical abuse or if a patient discloses that they are perpetrators of abuse. These rules must be interpreted and applied in a professional manner and cannot
be rigid but rather depend on the situation at hand. For example, if a patient were in danger or expressing suicidal thoughts, this would demand extra time. There are many different ways one can start therapy; through GP’s, Educational staff, Police, Social services and self-referral. The course was inspiring and has also changed my mind on what I think the next step for my professional practice should be. Although doing an animation PHD to research the vast possibilities within animation therapy is still very much a part of my overall plan, a master in animation therapy, which is a more
specific course, seems to be a logical, progression along the path. In the last session were given advice on what to do next to help us follow a career in art therapy, or to integrate features of art therapy into our work.
I have started researching different art therapy courses at Masters level and have reviewed some of the options for volunteering. The presenters emphasized the need for candidates to exhibit a level of maturity and life experience that would prepare them for the challenges associated with this challenging field. I was already planning to do a variety of volunteering next year as I also need this type of support for the counselling course that I am taking and the associated counselling that I plan to do.
My research highlighted several other potential career avenues such as a route to using art but not art therapy - ARTS IN HEALTH (Website - London Arts and Health Forum(Isn’t just London))
- They do big arty projects with all sorts of ages and mental health groups.
Another route to using art but not art therapy might be an Art Degree/
Psychology Degree/ Related Degree. A pre-requisite for this would be :-
Portfolio of Art work - 20-50 pieces showing you know what good and bad art feels like. (can be digital)
Work experience - (not essential but highly recommended) 1 Year of care related work- e.g. volunteering.
I will obviously need to think carefully about where to go and I intend to research into all places, and visit where ever possible. I will ask when
university attendance days are, when placement days are (for each year). I will explore what the art facilities are like. I will check what the writing
requirements vs practical contents are as some of the final output is art work some is written work.
I will also look into the research possibilities to determine whether or not I could include some research into animation therapy. This aspect remains
important to be and would be a very positive feature of any MA.
I would like to attend as many interviews as possible as this gives good insight into the courses and allows a discussion around not just the content of a course but also the culture and approach applied.
The art therapy presents gave some useful advice on how to interact at the interview. They advised us on ways to operate effectively when interviewed by groups . To show our readiness to train, and suggested that we speak to everyone, and always try to be open.
For individual interviews they suggested that when we discuss our personal art that we don’t just talk about details of our life – but focus on about how it made us feel.
They also suggested that should we not be successful in an interview that we must be sure to ask for feedback.
In conclusion, I will continue to expand and extend my research into art therapy as I am sure this would offer the potential for be a fruitful and interesting career.
I am looking at the possibility of doing an MA in art therapy because this provides a recognised qualification which allows someone to practice arty
therapy in a professional setting. Many organisations such as hospitals, schools, prisons employ art therapists. I am also keen to continue doing research into animation therapy and this may be via PhD or I may be also be able to find an MA that incorporates research in the curriculum. The latter would be a good stepping stone and would have the added advantage that I could gain employment as an art therapist, specialising in animation techniques and then do a part time PhD afterwards or depending on the MA course I may even be able to incorporate animation with in the art therapy.
Discussions with the course presenters indicated that I would be able to gain a place on an art therapy MA even though I am younger that applicants
traditionally used to be. This would be in-line with a trend to allow younger applicants as long as they have a mature outlook and have gained some life skills / experience from volunteering.
I think that the course was very intense, covered a wealth of topics that were very useful to me. The benefit that I had not expected was that it has re-directed my career path to encompass an MA and I gained so much practical insight into how art therapists work. I found the course and its presenters to be inspirational.
I can also see how animation can be used to complement and supplement the techniques that are used with models – creating an extended dimension to the work. One avenue might be to work alongside experienced art therapists – to learn from them and also to teach them how to use animation. My hope is that this will extend the therapy and improve their sense of wellbeing.
Once I have consolidated my knowledge I would plan to start my PhD and explore ways of improving the potency of the process and then I would also like to teach workshops in animation therapy. However I would also be gaining skills and researching Animation therapy all the while. Testing workshops, teaching methods, and more to find what the most successful processes are. I enjoy teaching others and it is important to extend this knowledge so that more people can gain from it.