Friday, January 15, 2021

Students express feelings in art therapy

Plattsburgh State has a minor in art therapy and to encourage any student to pursue careers in that field. A presentation on how it affects societies and communities was given in the Myers Fine Arts building. The presentation was given by Dr.Christine Kerr, as well as Dr.Seung. Both are experienced in therapy and counseling with clinical art.

Their presentations were focused on social action and art therapy, which according to is,“ A mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.”

The beginning of Kerr’s presentation was on ethno cultural empathy and how people have to understand the feelings of those from different communities and backgrounds and being able to respond to them in an empathetic way. Kerr was involved in social action projects that allowed her to travel to places like Brazil, Asia, Singapore, and Russia.

“The power of art crosses cultural boundaries and language of art is intrinsic, making the art and the sense of community it brings requires no language.” said Kerr, Dean, College of Arts, Communication, and Design and former Program Director of Art Therapy.

Dr. Seung also gave a presentation on her work in South Korea with her program using art in therapeutic form. Her trip was a social action project that according to Seung can help therapist experience differences and develop cultural sensitivity and cultural awareness.

Which in consequence helps develop communities in finding out what’s most beneficial for them and their future progress.

The art therapy minor on this campus according to “ is open to all students but preparation for graduate programs requires a combination of art and psychology courses. The art therapy minor for art students is primarily psychology courses and the art therapy minor for psychology students is primarily art courses.”

The presentations were a good way to find out more on the field and how students can make an impact and leave a footprint if it’s something they’re are interested in. Social action projects are also something to consider when delving into art therapy because it can help establish a more culturally aware perspective, as well as impact the public on social issues they were previously unaware of.

“I can help people on different spectrums who are struggling,” said Jordyn Sharp a psychology and art therapy major. She wants to pursue art therapy as a profession because of life influences, such as family members who combat mental health issues.

“Art therapy can help the community, the giving back aspect is what’s important to me,” said PSUC graduate Tiffany Nadler.

Art therapy is a very beneficial field that can be impactful. If it’s something you’re considering try looking up some programs such as the social action projects Kerr and Seung experienced as an undergrad or as a graduate to develop those skills.

Email Whitney Leonardo at

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