Thesis StatementI am reaching out to help children learn how to express there feelings through art, in particular color.
Personal RelevanceThe reasoning behind me choosing Art Therapy for my senior graduation project is because I have always had such an interest in art. I believe it came from my father’s side of the family because all my aunts and even my grandfather painted. If it’s just me doodling on a piece of paper a teacher hands out or an actual assignment I’ve always had a passion for it. When I decided to take on art as my project I thought that it would just be to simple so I decided to find a way to mix together two topics, see if there was any way art could be some type of emotional release for people. When I came along art therapy I new that is was the perfect topic for me to do. Painting and drawing as a way to just express yourself whether it be your emotions or just as a stress reliever is a great way to relax. As I started looking at statistics and just the history on art therapy I found that it started in the 1940’s and throughout that time period it was such a help to doctors and they were able to get on a better communication level with there patients.
Art Therapy HistoryIn the 1800’s was when the connection between art and mental health was recognized. The 1940’s was when artists that were working in psychiatric hospitals started noticing that painting, drawing, and other forms of art could possibly be therapeutic for patients and for the relationships between patients and therapists. Using art therapy they found that it was a revealing for secret feelings and emotions that they weren’t able to express through words. This gave the therapists a better understanding of there patients and gave them a medium for communication. During the 20th century psychiatrists started becoming interested in the works of art that there patients with mental illnesses were drawing and painting. At the same time psychiatrists were becoming interested with this educators were soon finding out that children’s art was reflected on there growth, emotional and cognitive.
Art Therapy History Cont’dBy the time mid century rolled around clinics, hospitals, and even rehabilitation centers were beginning to include art programs into there traditional therapy sessions. They found that with the patients creating works of art this was helping them with there process of recovery, and overall wellness. Art therapy then began to become effective and important in the lives of patients for communication, assessment, and treatment with children and adults. Art therapy has been given a lot of attention lately because it has been held in facilities throughout the U.S.
Where Art Therapists WorkHospitals and clinics, medical and psychiatricOut patient mental health agencies and day treatment facilitiesResidential treatment centersHalfway housesDomestic violence and homeless sheltersCommunity agencies and nonprofit settingsSheltered workshopsSchools, colleges, and universitiesCorrectional facilitiesElder care facilitiesArt studiosPrivate practices
The Basis of Art TherapyArt, for many years has always been a release for emotions and ideas that just cannot be expressed through words. Art became a therapeutic tool for surviving soldiers after World War 2. Hospitals started using art in rehabilitation centers to help the soldiers overcome the traumas they’ve experienced over the harsh war. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy where therapists, doctors, etc. let there patients use art to express themselves in a safe way. The images that the patients draw are some times suppressed emotions or conflicts that they are facing and aren’t able to verbally express them.
Basis of Art Therapy cont’dArt Therapy has two main approaches, the first one is that the patient is able to understand his/hers own conflicts with out having to interpret there words verbally to there therapists. The other approach is that the therapist has to identify the patients work and interpret there issues. Usually art therapy is used for people with psychological disorders, and it is also a great way to develop personal growth and to help identify the patients problem areas and make the negatives into positives.
Involvement with Art TherapyThe people that are involved with art therapy usually have the skills to paint, draw, sculpt, and any other type of art work. Examples of how therapists use art therapy with patients is that is a patient had cancer the therapist would ask them to draw a picture of them with cancer and then explain there feelings about it through a picture. Other forms of art therapy is looking at a picture and the patient will tell the therapist what they see in this photograph and if it has any type of relevance to there lives.
PromotionArt therapists believe that by creating this works of art this influences brain wave patterns along with the chemicals released in the brain. Art therapy is a way to also distract patients that are dealing with painful illnesses. Art therapy is used with patients who have had bone marrow transplants, people with eating disorders, emotionally impaired, disabled people, chronically ill, chemically addictive, sexually abused, and others. The creation of these artworks are also put in to well use when it comes to diagnostic tools for children who have been painfully abused because they express themselves a lot more through art then when speaking.
EvidenceArt therapy has been tested to reduce anxiety levels, improve patients recovery times, decrease hospital stays, improve communication social function, and control pain. Studies have showed that art therapy has helped people with all types of problems and has benefited patients with emotional and physical illnesses.
Art Therapy for the BrainBesides art therapy helping with emotions and expressions it is also used to reconnect neuromuscular connections that could have been damaged or severely weakened. Using creative activity stimulates connections in the brain and can possibly improve memory and increase coherency. Manipulating clay, or even taking photographs signals off neurons and renews vital connections.
How Art HealsScience studies show that art helps patients because It changes a person’s attitude and physiology. Art affects every cell in the body rapidly and creates a healing physiology that changes the blood flow and immune system to all of the organs. Art also changes a person’s perspective, attitude, and emotional state. Art pretty much changes a person’s whole outlook on life. Art takes people into there on worlds of imagery and feelings. Neurophysiologists have studied that art comes from the same source in the body, and along with art music plays a part in the brains wave patterns.
Childhood AnxietyAnxiety is often caused by underlying fears of that the anxious person is unaware of. Art therapy can help them discover and define their fears so that they may then be dealt with. Creating art can also help them to find out what it is that they love or enjoy, boost self-esteem, and cultivate a sense of self-worth, all of which may reduce the effects of anxiety.
DepressionDepression and art therapy mix well together because there is said to be an effective type of treatment for depression. Usually an artist is known to take all there inspiration from there emotions to create there paintings or drawings. Even though you may have lost someone or have been through some painful event it is not uncommon for works of arts to be made by the patients. Art therapy is not only a way to treat depression but to diagnose the real problem of what they may be keeping to themselves.
Autistic DisorderAutistic disorder is a disorder that develops in the first three years of life. A person with autism acts like they are in there own kind of world, doesn’t pay attention to others, and shows a lack of social skills. Autistic childrens life is a routine, every day includes the same thing over again and sometimes it contains unusual behavior. Autism affects the ability to communicate, make eye contact, and to feel any type of attachment towards others. Autistic children have trouble showing affection towards others because they have difficulty showing facial expressions and emotions. People with autism excel very much in the field of art, music, and memory.
Asperger’s SyndromeHans Asperger is named after Asperger’s syndrome because in 1940 he described a set of behavioral patterns that were showing up in some of his patients , mainly males. Many children are diagnosed after the age of 3 and are mostly diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 9. Asperger’s is characterized by poor social skills, obsessions, and odd speech patterns. Asperger’s children only have a few facial expressions and have trouble reading other peoples body language and also they can get bothered by things people may not even notice like a light that no one else notices but they do, so they close there eyes or cover there ears if they hear some type of sound that bothers them as well.
PDD (pervasive development disorder)
“The pursuit of art on a regular basis may be the key to healing our minds and bodies.”- Kim Blair“I paint for my mental health. It is a lot cheaper than seeing a therapist, and a lot more fun.”- Sarah Jane Conklin“Making art is good for your health, especially if it is done in fun.”-Orythia Johnston“Art therapy is all about the moment, all about the process, all about happiness. Getting lost in the work is the ultimate beauty of what we do.”- Valerie Kent “Art can be therapeutic – for the audience as well as the artist. All art is.”- Bonnie Sherr Klein
Considering autism is stressful on both the child and the family art is a safe effective way to express emotions including anger and stress. Many art therapists also have training in verbal counseling and use this to have conversations with the children to help there true feelings come out in a productive way. Art for autistic children is a useful tool because for them it creates and develops self-reliance, pride, in their work, and patience when they are in the process of creating something. It also creates fine motor skills and improves visual spatial discrepancies often present in children.
Art therapy vs. Talking therapyOther than art therapy there is what is called talking therapy and this is also used for people with autistic disabilities. Benefits of art therapy is that it is a very hands on process and the attention an art therapist must give to his/her patient must be very focused. This gives the child a solid way to think more abstractly or out of the box. By making a creation of art there are also parameters when using art, like only being able to use crayons, and paper or clay on a wheel. Not only does the production of there artwork help then in making progress but it also makes for a great artifact of the process of the treatment.
Art Therapy and High functioning AutismWhen in therapy the art that the child may make is usually created during the therapy session, a spontaneous creation, or a suggestion that the therapists him/ her self has suggested to there patient. Some benefits of art therapy areIncrease self awarenessDevelop social skillsChanges behaviorDevelops problem solving strategiesAllows an individual to engage in creative thinking in a safe environment
Causes of AutismThe easiest answer of what causes autism is there is no answer. There are multiple causes of autism because there are also so many levels of severity and combinations of symptoms. A small number of cases can be somewhat linked to genetic disorders for example Angelman’s syndrome. There is also a growing interest involving researches who think that the functions of the immune system can be a cause of autism. They also believe that autism can possibly cause inflammation in the central nervous system.
CausesConsidering there is no definite cause of autism yet there is one fact that we do know isn’t a cause of autism, and that is bad parenting. Dr. Leo Kanner is a psychiatrist who first described autism as a condition in 1943, he came to the assumption that the condition autism is caused by unloving mothers who basically shunned there children. This then created a generation of parents who felt as if they were the causes of the children’s disabilities. Then in the 1960’s and 70’s Dr. Bernard Rimland discovered that autism was not caused by unloving mothers but was just a biological disorder, being that Dr. Rimland has a son of his own with autism he had figured that his discovery had to be correct.
Origins of Art TherapyHumans have always expressed themselves using symbols throughout history, through ritual pottery, costumes, cave drawings and hieroglyphics. In the late nineteenth century French psychiatrists studied the characteristics and symbolism in the art work done by the mentally ill. These psychiatrists then viewed art as a diagnostic tool to identify types of mental illnesses or any type of traumatic events. Margaret Naumburg who was a follower of Freud Jung and they both incorporated art into psychotherapy. Naumburg then became what we consider to be the founder of art therapy in the United States.
ApplicationFor my application I will be teaching a class of children with disabilities. The grade I have chosen to teach is a second grade class. I have made up lesson plans that the teacher has overlooked and has approved of my ideas. Because I will be taking photos of the children and there work I have written a letter to the parents whose kids are in this class to make sure that there children can be on film. My lesson plans basically reflect on one another the second lesson plan has something to do with the first and the final project just sums up what I have been teaching them.
Exercise with color lesson planOpening Activity:I will introduce myself,I will ask the children a set of six questions. While asking these questions the students will answer by coloring what they think the answer is. The following are the questions I will use:What color is a thunderstorm?What color is a smile?What color is the child’s shirt sitting to your right wearing?What is your favorite color?What color are your shoes?What color do you think it is when you are happy?Objective:To help the children enhance their memory, observation, imagination, and creativity.Color Pencils (if they would rather color then paint)I will begin to tell a short story I will tell the children to close their eyes and just listen. The story will be about the beach. I plan to describe many things one might see or hear at the beach, things that will bring color to mind. made just off the top of my head it can be anything that I think of. I will pause on occasion to check for understanding of the story. When I pause I will ask them to open their eyes and then just ask them to describe something and see if what they describe is what I said. When the story is all done I will ask the children to paint what they felt was their favorite part of the story, or just what they remember the most about what I said. Closing: The children will each have an opportunity to share their painting, describe what they drew and why they chose to paint it that particular color.
Transformational ActivityObjective:My objective for this activity will be to get the children to express how they are feeling that day by painting with whatever colors they would like. Each student will be given a sheet of paper and asked to draw a self-portrait. After they have drawn the face I am going to ask them to fill the face in with color. The children will be given one color palette to work with but they may choose the color. They will all be given black and white to use for mixing their basic color. Closing:After completing their portraits, the children will be asked to describe what emotion their color choice is showing.
Objective:The objective of my final project is to sum up what I have been teaching the children regarding how color can illicit particular feelings. Andy Warhol inspires this theme of my project. I will give the children a huge canvas, which will be divided up in grid form so each child has their own block to work in. In each box I will ask the children to trace a stencil I have for them of a tree. After tracing the tree, children will be given a choice of a color palette to use for their tree. They will all be given both black and white to use with their color palette to make color variations. Closing:The children will each talk about the color they chose and why they chose it. They will be asked what feeling word they think goes with their color choice. The idea is for the children to see how the same object can look very different when it is in different colors.
Dear Parents,Hello, let me introduce myself, my name is Julia Ehmer, I attend Upper Merion Area High School and I am a senior this year. I am very interested in Art and have applied to several colleges as an art major. During our senior year all English teachers assign a big project called a Senior Graduation Project, this project consists of many pieces, one of which is our application. An application is a way for each of us to do something for others in our community. My topic is Art Therapy and my idea is to help children recognize that feelings can be expressed through color. I am going to be coming to Woodland Elementary School to facilitate several art lessons helping the students recognize how color impacts everything we do. The first two lessons will introduce them to the idea that we can express our feelings through color. I have several fun activities planned for the children to help them realize how color can change the same object dramatically as well as how the color choice can illicit different emotions or feelings. The last lesson will be a group project that I hope to make a permanent part of Woodland Elementary School. During me lessons I would like to take photographs of the children while they are working on their art projects. I am asking your permission to take their photographs to use in my presentation to my class as a way of documenting the process I went through with the students. My English class are the only people that would be shown my presentation, I would greatly appreciate your permission to use their photos. Thank you, Julia Ehmer
Class ActivityEveryone will have a picture on there desk and be asked to write on the picture what it means to them, whether it be how it makes them feel or if it makes them think of something that happened in the past.
ConclusionWhat I learned from doing this project was the value of art as a means to express ones feelings. The children I worked with were not very expressive verbally but did a wonderful job expressing emotion through the art projects I gave them to complete. Not only were they able to express emotion, but they had fun as well.
Art Therapy<br />By: Julia Ehmer<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/39438946@N00/311343790<br />
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