Posts Tagged ‘research’

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  March’s spotlight includes Paul Lee Thiam Seng, MA:

(Paul) Lee Thiam Seng, MA is a Singapore born artist, art therapist, and consultant. Paul is the Founder of UniqArts and Technologies, currently in private practice and running workshops for institutions, group and individuals. Paul has experience with providing art therapy to individuals and groups with special needs, in the medical setting, and schools throughout Singapore. Paul is passionate about art therapy for enhancing wellness and health, as well as for positivity and happiness. He initiated the Positive+Happiness Art Therapy professional group on LinkedIn and implements this focus for corporate retreat programs, schools and institutions.

Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy: Art is my passion. I am promoting a notion that prevention is better than cure. In addition, I believe in positive psychology as well and therefore, it is my interest to focus the use of art therapy to facilitate positive thinking and life styles.  To me, it is far more useful to build inner resources rather than trying to open psychological wounds without healing. When a person is in trouble or encountering life crisis, he or she will probably be in need of these internal resources to cope with this crisis and to become stronger after the crisis. Without this pool of mental strength, some people might suffer from mental breakdown and illnesses.  In addition, I am integrating art therapy into creativity training and corporate human resources development. By using art therapy to unleash creative talents of individuals and groups, it seems possible to heighten the unconscious level of human potential to improve quality of work and life.  My interest in art therapy also includes the capacity to develop inner creativity to its full potential because art connects to our creative intuition. Since art therapy provides a tangible product of creative self; the capacity for post therapy, reflection, change, transformation and growth is enormous.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to? To me, the international art therapy community will flourish further with a recognized standard education system that covers an agreed fundamental in art therapy training. Currently, it seems to me there are different versions of art therapy in foundation and beliefs. Furthermore, this seems to be diversified into other sub categories (expressive art therapy, sand therapy, play therapy, music therapy, interactive drawing therapy, photo therapy, etc.). It is therefore confusing to the public and lacks cohesiveness among the art therapy profession. It is probably one of the reasons why art therapy can not be well defined as a profession independently.

Another aspect for the international art therapy community that might be useful includes more clinical research to collect evidence about how art therapy works. It seems to me that there are many art therapy works written in a case studies format.  In addition, also having clinical research with an international review board and a team with other health care professionals could be useful. This research could then be shared within the  profession or even to the public  to help increase understanding about how art therapy works.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on in 2011? I am exploring funding and opportunities to do clinical art therapy research for cancer patients. There is strong evidence to suggest the potential of psychological healing through creative art therapy.  Further research will need a prolonged period of study, institutional funding, and scientific analysis. I am hoping such research to be carried out to aid women with breast cancer in their healing and recovery journey. Potentially, it could help define the scientific healing in art therapy for patients as a form of prevention and recovery from battling from their cancer disease.

How can people contact you or find out more about your work? I can be contacted by email: paulleets@gmail.com or at 65-63441670. My web site is http://www.uniqarts.com.sg.

This past week-end myself and ATWB Advisory Council member Elizabeth Warson attended a planning meeting for In Service to Our Nation: Arts and Crafts and the Military at the Art School @ George Mason University in  Fairfax, VA. This research project funded from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (The University of North Carolina Asheville) is being led by Dr. Tara Leigh Tappert to showcase and study arts & crafts in the military for rehabilitation, vocational training and as recreation to promote well being and healing.  The day included presentations by Dr. Tappert and Patrick Sargent, a tour of the George Mason Printmaking Studio and brainstorming ideas for supporting Dr. Tappert’s grant.  The meeting brought together artists, organizations, and professionals from the arts and the military, arts and healing, and arts and crafts practitioners, including our partner The Combat Paper Project and another ATWB Advisory Council Member, CPP Co-Founder Drew Matott.

Dr. Tappert presented on several themes that she has created to describe the arts role in the military such as Recruit, Record, Rehabilitate, Recreate, Remember, React, Respect, and Reorient. Below are some links, artists, and projects to check out related to Dr. Tappert’s themes:

Art Therapy Without Borders looks forward to learning more about this project and assisting with its development and promotion!

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  February’s spotlight includes Dr. Elizabeth Warson:

Elizabeth Warson, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, NCC is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Art Therapy Program at George Washington University. She is on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Arts in Healthcare and serves as the co-chair for the Society’s research committee. Her research interests focus on American Indian cancer survivors and their family members and is the recipient of a Johnson and Johnson grant, co-sponsored by the Mayo Cancer Clinic’s Spirit of EAGLES program and a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts grant.  As a professional artist, she has exhibited her sculptural work nationally and internationally.


Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy: Like many art therapists, I am a person with diverse interests.  Depending on the day, I may identify myself as an artist, researcher, instructor, workshop facilitator, mentor….  Being an artist is the core of who I am; I savor my time in the studio and am always looking for venues to exhibit my work.  I feel fortunate that my day job as an assistant professor at George Washington University provides me with a supportive environment for all my endeavours.  Art therapy has always made “sense” to me regardless of the politics, lack of employment, and misconceptions about the field.  What make “sense” to me these days is collaborating with American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians on wellness-based initiatives.  My “story” can be accessed from a recent article in GWToday.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to? Community-based participatory approaches are on the frontline of research and have relevance to practitioners with respect to developing successful partnerships.  Collaboration from the inception of any program/study is vital to creating sustainable practices, which is key to working with underserved communities.  International organizations such as Art Therapy without Borders and the Society for the Arts in Healthcare are providing the platform to create successful collaborative relationships.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on and for 2011? In collaboration with the Coharie tribe and North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs –through funding from the NEA–we are conducting monthly cultural art workshops for the youth in two settlements of the Coharie tribe.  The documentation from workshops will lead to a traditional arts curriculum for the Cohaire, contributing to their archiving and preservation efforts.  Two traditional artists from the tribe serve as the workshop facilitators.

Through the GW Summer Institute program, we are offering a two-week American Indian Art Therapy immersion experience with the Oglala tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.  This trip is open to students and professionals not affiliated with George Washington University.  Learn more here.

I am presently wrapping up two studies:  An American Cancer Society grant provided me with funding to conduct 14 wellness-based art therapy workshops for American Indian cancer survivors in North Carolina.  An internal grant from George Washington University supported a one-day community workshop exploring the interrelationship between American Indian medicine and art therapy.

This fall I will be conducting a two-day felting making workshop for the Native People’s Circle of Hope conference in Billings, Montana.  This workshop is an extension of my work with my collaborator John Lorance.  John and I have been offering therapeutic feltmaking workshops together since 2006.

How can people contact you or find out more about your work? You can contact me directly at eawarson@gwu.edu or 703-299-4147 or you can facebook me at Elizabeth Warson.  Because much of my research becomes property of the tribal communities I partner with, I am unable to routinely publicize their artwork on the internet.  I have a couple publications coming out this year that I will link to my GW faculty homepage.  Our graduate program also maintains a blog that chronicles our research, international excursions, and special events.

Art Therapy Without Borders thanks Dr. Warson for this interview and sharing her work with the ATWB community!

Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc. is pleased to announce a couple of new partnerships for our community:

The American Chronic Pain Association ATWB will be collaborating with ACPA to develop educational materials on how art therapy can be used as part of a wellness program for chronic pain.

The ACPA’s mission is to:

  • To facilitate peer support and education for individuals with chronic pain and their families so that these individuals may live more fully in spite of their pain.
  • To raise awareness among the health care community, policy makers, and the public at large about issues of living with chronic pain.

Look for more details to be announced on how the ATWB community can get involved with this special project!

Art Therapy OnLine (ATOL)– Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc. is also endorsing and promoting this new and free publication for our community published by Goldsmiths University of London.  ATOL is an international, peer-reviewed, open access and index linked journal that addresses theory, practice and research in relation to art therapy as it is known and understood around the world.  ATWB is excited to start spreading the word about this free publication to members of our community!  View and download current articles here.

We are looking forward to working with our new partners on these special initiatives!  Stay connected to ATWB to keep up to date on new developments and exciting news for art therapy around the world.