ATS 320 Introduction to Art Therapy is the first of three Art Therapy courses in the Art Therapy minor. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior status. For Art Therapy Minors, prerequisites include two approved human service courses, or instructor permission. [Note: Art Therapy Minors must attend regular advisement sessions.] http://arteducation.buffalostate.edu/art-therapy-minor-0.
For more information on this course, contact:
Prof. Kate Hartman, ATR firstname.lastname@example.org, Upton 314D, (716) 878-3157
ATS 320 will offer an introduction to the profession and practice of Art Therapy, including the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults in various therapeutic and clinical settings such as mental health clinics, substance abuse treatment programs, hospitals, nursing homes, and developmental centers. Students will explore their own creative process through visual and written statements.
The following are excerpts taken from final essays written for the course.
In my first set of submissions, I did a collage addressing issues I have regarding my knee condition. I have had seven surgeries and the result of that has left me with a bad scar. It is something I am very self-conscious about, but there is also a lot of trauma associated with it that I do not really discuss. Seeing my scar is a constant reminder of all of the things that I have gone through, many which were a struggle.... This final visual statement is an altered book. I love the idea of taking written art and turning it into visual art....I decided I wanted this visual statement to be positive; to display and in a way, pay my respects to my medical history.... I searched the words on both of the pages for negative and positive words. I put masking tape on top of them. I then painted over the pages with acrylic paint. I used colors that I find calming and peaceful. I let the paint dry and then took the masking tape off to reveal words that I had blocked out. I used permanent marker to black out the negative words. I chose positive words as a reminder to myself to stay positive, and blacked out the negative words to remind myself to keep the negative out of my life. I felt like something was missing in my project so I decided to look through my brother's old health/anatomy book and found some medical definitions that I thought were fitting to my life. I glued them on the same page as the medical bracelets.
This project felt really good to make, and it also came at a good time in my life This piece reminded me that I am at a good place in my life and that I just need to stay positive. Being a Fine Arts major I had a mindset that everything has to be perfect but this class helped me learn that good art does not have to be pretty. I would much rather create something that makes me feel good....
When I decided to move out of my family home, I was concerned about the connection between my family and the fact that it would be weakened because of distance....One other thing that has been difficult for me is that fact that I lived in my family home for twenty five years. I am not one who takes change very well because I have anxiety that comes with new or unusual situations. My anxiety disorder has affected me my whole life but I remember, as a child, feeling scared and anxious if I was out of the house without one of my parents or family members. I was never diagnosed as a child with any kind of disorder, but I can look back now and see that I had attachment issues.....
Eventually I learned how to function but I was very shy and couldn't be myself. The only time I could be myself was when I was at home or around my family. I was a very self-conscious person and still burden myself with my negative thoughts about myself sometimes. My low self esteem and anxiety forced me to be someone I was not. I was always worried about what others would think of me. I was obsessed with making myself look and act like other people or I tried hard to hide in plain sight. All of these problems created feelings of fear of the outside world. My house was my safe place. I remember feeling overwhelmingly soothed when I was at home and scared to death when I was out in the world. Even though I no longer feel this way, my anxiety still occasionally comes back in minimal amounts.....
I have to admit that I enjoyed the process of painting more than I enjoy the final outcome. I got so much from focusing so much of my attention on something I have seen every day of my life.....To capture every inch of the place I am most comfortable in was so soothing and comforting. It gave me strength to paint the house I grew up in because now I have a visual representation of my family home that I can have with me no matter where I am....
I have never before used art as a self-expression tool. I've always loved art and have gotten so much from art but the fact that I know how to use it to explore areas of my life that are bothering me is incredible. Your class is invaluable.
The topic that we have covered in class that has the most interest to me is the idea of finding peace and release of emotion through the beauty of the artwork. I have decided to explore the topic of forgiveness and finding happiness again…..
In my oil painting, I wanted peace and tranquility to be the main factor. With all of the difficult things that I have faced and gone through, as well as the current stress of the end of the semester, I feel as though I need to find peace. ….While creating this piece, I thought about the difficulties I had with my ex-boyfriend. I thought about how I lost my best friend through the process of the breakup. ....
This class has taught me to sift through the bad, depressing and evil things in our society, and to find the happy, enjoyable and loving aspects of life....
The colorful sky and vibrant water represented the happiness in my life, but I was also thinking about the depressing events in my life I needed to work through the hurt in order to heal myself completely.....The depression is symbolized by the black land, and as I did it, it brought tears to my eyes. It was a very powerful and moving experience to feel the anger inside of me being let out onto this piece. The cattails and weeds are the people who helped me get through that time period in my life
Through this piece, I have found peace. I have found a way to let all of my emotions out about these events, all into one beautiful piece of artwork In the end, I am extremely happy with the outcome.....This semester, this class has been my favorite one because it taught me how to deal with my emotions, and how to better myself, while learning about the ways to heal others. I feel as though I have learned things this semester that I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.....In conclusion, this oil painting that I have created will always bring me peace and tranquility when I look at it, and I hope it does for others as well.
Now It's My Turn was a very emotional piece for me in that it deals with addiction, in this case, alcoholism, a demon that has haunted my family for too many years. The addiction shook the very foundation, from which my family stood, and eventually destroyed it. Alcoholism not only broke apart of the family structure, it took my father and then it started to come after me. Well, now it's my turn to battle it before it takes me down too. That is what this piece is all about, conquering my demons; refusing to let addiction take hold of my life, and realizing there is a light at the end of his long dark tunnel I have been in. That light is hope. It's not too late for me; I won't let it be.....
For my final visual statement, I wanted to address an aspect of my life that I had always had a difficult time dealing with- that is this addiction called alcoholism. I had addressed the subject in my first set of submissions, reflecting on how I had lost my father to alcoholism, and I was worried about going down that same path; a road that leads nowhere. So when it came time to seriously contemplate what I wanted to do for my final piece, I knew I had to bookend the semester by addressing the issue of this addiction yet again. Only this time, I am overpowering it, instead of the addiction overpowering me.
When I envisioned doing a piece on alcoholism, the first thing that came to mind was how cool it would be to break some beer bottles. Not only for the effect it would contribute to my piece, but also because it was a great way to let out the anger I feel towards alcohol. In the center of all those broken pieces of beer bottles, emerges a face from the depth of the hell that it witnessed, to show that it has made its way to the surface after being smothered by alcohol. Over the face is a fabric, a slight barrier, if you will, that is almost preventing her from breaking through. However, to each side she is surrounded by light, glimmering with hope, thus assuring her that there is a way out. [Note: the two candles show up as white circles on the side of the face.]
Since this is such a personal piece exploring alcoholism, an affliction all to familiar, it was almost like a self-portrait of sorts. I didn't set out to make a self-portrait, it just sort of happened that way. I am that girl; note the brown eyes that act as windows to her soul, the broken bottles represent the alcohol, the fabric represents the restraints of addiction and how it can deter one from living their life. The candles represent the light at the end of the tunnel. Addiction can be prevented, it can be fought, and it can be defeated, for if there is one thing I have learned in my life it's that there is always hope.....The creative process was emotional, liberating, and necessary. With every piece of glass I glued, it felt like I was somehow putting back together the shattered pieces of my life, and creating something new, out of something old and haunting. The most powerful part of this whole process was when I placed the pure, white candles on each side of the face. [Note: the two candles show up as white circles on the side of the face]. My best friend and I took the finished piece to a dark room where I turned on the candles. We just stared at it, and she commented on how raw it was. It was created with raw emotion, a sincere openness about a demon that has been nipping at my heels for far too long.
This class has not only helped me discover more about myself, and work through many issues I had not even previously attempted to, it has inspired me to overcome a potential addiction that could have ushered me into meeting the same fate as my father. Thank you for this class. Thank you for your much needed guidance and insight. Thank God for the strength to conquer my demons and take my life back!
Last year I received a phone call that everyone is afraid of. A friend of mine had passed away; in just a blink of an eye he was taken from us. I sat in shock for hours. Nothing about this was fair and I was slowly slipping into a dark oblivion In class we spoke a lot about depression and the different types of depression. Some experience a dreary black hole, and others experience sharp shooting pains constantly. There is a combination of both, which is what I was experiencing for a long time.... When I started my painting, I knew I wanted the background to be black to express the feeling of darkness, focusing specifically on the black hole we are stuck in when we experience depression I began questioning faith and religion, and after a while was introduced to a few books that had a strong spiritual influence on me. I began reading these books and I was feeling much better and knew I wanted to incorporate the positive aspect of this experience in my piece as well. This is the blue/green shape that has a quote inside it.....The parts of the painting that are 3-dimensional, I refer to as bumps because they are life's bumps in the road .Everyone knows struggle, and it is important to recognize your strengths that come from these struggles and how much you grow as a person.
This painting allowed me to open up to more people and express my feelings. I have learned so much in this class this semester and now I can truly see the power of art making. What I know is that I cannot change what happened. It is hard to accept the loss of a loved one, but art making has truly helped me express my feelings about this situation and open up to people. Doing so has allowed me to see the strong support system that even strangers will create for you. I am so thankful for this entire course and everything I have learned, and I will continue to make art often, especially now that I see the power of the experience and have witnessed it myself.
The final visual piece I created became a series of four total paintings, three small paintings creating a series in oil paint, and another made with acrylics [not shown here]. For this creative process, 1 chose to focus on the importance of positive affirmation by reflecting on the self..... Creating the painting of the dancer in the three small canvases made this piece extremely personal to me because of my own connection to dance. I was able to remember the strong feelings dancing allowed me to feel, that may have since been lost when I chose to focus on school and leave dance behind. Focusing on this past time made me realize how much I still need that type of expression in my life to channel my negative thoughts and allow them to leave my body through movement.....Just looking at the position of the dancer's body allowed me to remember how important flexibility is — not just in the body but in life.
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