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Re: [teacherartexchange] forward from an art therapist


From: Diane C. Gregory (dianegregory_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 13 2005 - 05:46:16 PDT


Thanks for forwarding that advice from an art therapist. Well said.


Dr. Diane C. Gregory
Director, Undergraduate & Graduate
Studies in Art Education
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX  76204
Quoting Randy Menninghaus <>:
> I asked a dear friend who is also an art therapist to give advice to any
> art teacher who is dealing with survivors. I forwarded one ofour digests. I
> hope this will help any body who is dealing Randy in Maine
> :
> Rachelle?s description of her gift of art to some of the kids in the
> Astrodome in New Orleans was wonderful. Any good art teacher has the
> knowledge and sensitivity to bring kids art materials and to provide an art
> club/ art room environment so they can draw and tell their story. Sharing
> their work with others and telling their story provides both an excellent
> way for kids to explain to adults what they are thinking about and a
> healthy outlet for their energy. Don?t confuse her gift with art therapy.
> Art therapists, a legal designation, have both an art background and a
> counseling background, brought together in a master?s level training and
> licensing. Much of art therapy group work looks like an art class, but
> there are some serious differences. The art therapist will be able to tune
> into the kids who have real mental health issues and to use the group to
> support those kids in a safe and potentially healing manner. I am a
> state-certified art teacher, K-12, in Maine and I am also a qualified art
> therapist with a state LCPC license. I taught 22 years before switching
> careers, five of those years after I had received my art therapy training.
> I found a big difference between being an art teacher and an art therapist.
> I had to work to maintain appropriate boundaries as an art teacher and to
> respect the power of art making as an art therapist. I love both processes
> and I respect the differences.
> A qualified and caring art teacher can give kids the appropriate and
> wonderful respite from their problems that Rachelle did.
> Art teachers whowant to work with Katrina survivors and evacuees, here is
> my suggestion:
> Rather than get yourself in a difficult situation that may cause unwitting
> damage to already traumatized children, don?t pretend to be an art
> therapist if you are not trained. Instead, use your ability to supervise
> groups of kids using art materials and making art to tell stories and
> generally to find pleasurable activity amidst chaos and confusion. Art
> gives voice to finding a sense of unity and harmony with color, line and
> shape, etc. We art teachers know that. Trust the pleasure and power of
> art making and don?t try to provide therapy. Tune into the kids and if one
> or a few of them seem to be having an abnormal reaction to an abnormal
> situation, refer them to a mental health professional. You will be doing
> them a valuable service. Teachers are the front line for children; even
> art teachers do not need to be the school counselor, too. Let your love of
> art making and knowledge of group art making provide a marvelous respite
> for the children ? and the families as well - displaced by the hurricane.
> Provide children who need real therapy with references to real art
> therapists. Fran Clukey, PhD, RATh, LCPC (12 Sept 2005).
> ---
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