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Thoughts of an Art Therapist from USA

Diana Matteson, Harrisburg, SUA
- 2007-Jan-18 -
handicraft

In this clinic I am fully sustained in my efforts to guide the clients with the help of Art Therapy, involving them in the creative process, developing their abilities that make them stronger, determining them to communicate thoughts and feelings and to get healthy habits to face the events.

Hello! I am writing to you from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, USA, to shortly tell you how I practice Art Therapy here in the USA. Recently I had the pleasure to see the IMPART team working together with the children from the Special School in Beclean, during an Expressive Art Therapy camp, in Lupeni. I was impressed by the therapists and their way to reunite during one session, several methods of expressive art. In USA, it is very likely to meet art therapists separated in specific domains.

For example, I am an Art Therapist as long as I use drama, play and story telling in my current activities. On the other hand, when I used movement therapy, in order to guide the group of patients, I realized it by collaborating with a movement therapist.

I used Art Therapy in Columbia District, New York City, Honduras in Central America and nowadays in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in a psychiatric section of a clinic, having patients with ages from 3 to 95 years, where I have a daily schedule for treating patients with HIV/AIDS, for homeless teenagers and violent teenagers, for young mothers and elder people.

Currently I am working at a family clinic specialized in mental health for external patients. This clinic is an NGO which offers individual or group care therapy and psychiatric services, in order to sustain teenagers and families to live a healthy and productive life. In this clinic I am fully sustained in my efforts to guide the clients with the help of Art Therapy, involving them in the creative process, developing their abilities that make them stronger, determining them to communicate thoughts and feelings and to get healthy habits to face the events.

Subsequently, the clients will pass out the metaphor created by therapy in order to make changes in real life, in their behavior in different situations. The individuals will become stronger both in their family as in the community. A way to strengthen the social feeling is the Annual Art Show of the Beneficiaries from the family Clinics and the Open Home, initiated in 2003 and scheduled to continue in 2004, towards the end of October. The event permits that the effort of our custom clients to be recognized and informs the community on the available services in the family Clinic, educating her on the benefits of Art Therapy. The event from 2003 was called “Connected by Creativity: a Celebration of the Creative Spirit within Us”. During the show, 50 works of art could be seen, realized by different beneficiaries. Selected both by patients and personnel, the works varied from the ones painted with brush and ink to the ones made with paste; collages and water colour were exposed in the Clinic and each one could be accompanied by a text realized by the artist. The clients either wrote their name alongside, or they chose the anonymity. The ones choosing the first variant were introduced to the visitors and they discussed on their work of art.

For the two dimensional art both the personnel of the Clinic as well as different galleries or framing firms put at our disposal specific supports and offered us from some of their time in order to honor the event. Also, different companies and people from the community donated things in order to make the evening a real success, beginning with the formal invitations (sent to the families of patients), up to the buffet that was put at disposal for over than 100 visitors, accompanied by flowers.

The Open Home and the Art Show of Beneficiaries offered a safe activity for the community from a block of flats from the city, very well known for drugs traffic and afferent violence. Moreover, it was a pleasure to follow the visible increase of the self appreciation, particularly in case of younger beneficiaries. We hope that this year event to be built on the success of the last year and will also include other creative methods (for example, the Tibetan method of the madala, which is very relaxing – circles drawn on sand), including workshops.
If you wish, you could send me comments or questions at dianamatteson@yahoo.com

(September 2004)

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georgiana
lucrez ca educatoare la CENTRU DE SERVICII COMUNITARE PENTRU COPILUL CU HANDICAP TARGU-JIU, judetul GORJ,ROMANIA, lucrez cu, copii, varste cuprinse inte 1-18 ani, diferite diagnostice.As dori un schimb de experienta daca se poate.


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Barbu Dana
Buna ziua, sunt kinetoterapeut la CSEI brasov si as dori sa stiu cum pot intra in posesia acestei carti. Va multumesc anticipat. Cu stima Dana Barbu

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