...One work of art is worth a thousand words....
About Art Therapy
Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses art materials, such as paints, chalk and markers as part of the emotional treatment. The therapeutic meeting allows feelings, ideas and thoughts to be expressed through materials. The creative activity and further processing is done in the safe and protected environment of the studio. Together with the therapist, it becomes possible to widen and deepen the presented issues without disclosing the secrecy of the contents.
All art works remain confidential.
Why Do We Use Art Materials and Creativity in Art Therapy?
In art therapy we communicate with the language of creativity and art, the expression of the visual language. We are familiar with the visual language and use it daily. With this language we communicate with our environment and even with ourselves. We receive signs and pictures while walking in the streets. We dream in pictures and sometimes day dream in scenes. In our dreams and our imagination, we experience what is known to us as if we were seeing it, even though our eyes may be closed. Our body reacts when we look at pictures and images. For instance, we may salivate just by looking at a picture of a juicy lemon or an appetizing dish without tasting it at all.
In the course of the therapy, the therapist tries to identify, together with the patient, the components of the picture and together identify them and their symbolic meaning. This way of working enables us to express and name feelings visually expressed in the art work. A cotton tuft, for instance, may arouse a feeling of softness and tenderness while a thumb nail may expresses just the opposite. In the same way, a sharpened pencil expresses a range of feelings connected to control and accuracy, while the opposite may be expressed by finger paints smeared and spread with the hands. The therapist works together with the patient to understand the meaning emerging from the art.
Who Are the Art Therapists?
Art therapists are professionals who have completed BA programs with extra coursework in psychology, who then continue with certification programs or masters degrees (MA). Some art therapists are members of The Israeli Association of Creative & Expressive Therapies, www.yahat.org, which include: art therapists, music therapists, dance therapists, psychodrama therapists and bibliotherapists.
Where Is Art Therapy Offered?
Art therapy is available in both public and private clinics. Treatment is available on an individual basis, as well as for couples and families. Art therapy is also available in public frameworks such as schools, hospitals, centers for treatment of eating disorders, mental health facilities and detention centers.
Experiential art therapy seminars are available for business groups, high-tech companies, worker’s unions and for special interest groups, as a means of devising creative solutions to important issues.
Awareness about art therapy is growing. More and more institutions, in Israel and around the world, are adding art therapists to their ranks.
My name is Asnat Weinfeld. I was born in Jerusalem in 1968 and am a mother of three. I am a Certified Art Therapist (MA) and an Art History scholar (MA).
As part of my analytic work as an art therapist, I use guided and integrative imagery. In addition to interacting with the images, the client dialogues with the guide while in imagery. I work frequently with images, symbols and dreams.
As an art therapist, I have worked extensively with children suffering from learning disabilities, health problems, emotionally challenged, behavioral issues and with pregnant women in high risk pregnancy.
Art also plays an important role in my personal life. I paint, sculpt and work in ceramics.
Degree in Art Therapy, Lesley College University Extension in Israel (MA) 2005.
The Evolution of Art Therapy and Central Themes in Israel and Around the World.
Art therapy began as part of the occupational therapy field in American hospitals, and later developed into an independent, separate branch of therapy mainly practiced in schools and mental hospitals. In the 1940’s, the Polish sculptress, H.Y Kwiatkowska, found that art therapy aids the understanding of family dynamics. By the 1960's and the 1970's, schools certifying art therapists were founded around the world, professional associations were established and literature about art therapy was published.
There are a variety of approaches that influence the way art therapists actually work. Art therapy evolved from two original, central themes that were developed in the first half of the 20th century by two pioneers in the field: Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer. Naumberg argued that art is a tool to accelerate the therapeutic process while Kramer held that art is a tool for mental treatment.
Today there are additional approaches to art therapy with a variety of views on art, the method of therapy and the therapist's individual approach during the process of therapy. Some therapists use the Jung analytical approach whereby the emphasis is placed on images arising in the course of the treatment. Wallace and Hillman are proponents of this approach. Another method involving the humanistic approach is based on phenomenological therapy and Gestalt based art therapy. Phenomenological therapy emphasizes the artistic components through the creation of lines, shapes and colors. According to this view, importance is placed on individual perception and understanding of what is occurring. In therapy, a particular importance is given to what is visually observed, thus enabling thoughts to surface into consciousness. There are a number of prominent women in the field: N. Rogers, M. Bettansky, H. Wadson and J. Rubin. Therapy based on the Gestalt school according to J. Zinker and J. Rhyne encourages the experience of sensomotoric activity to minimize and clarify problems. Some art therapists work outside the psychological-educational realm, such as E. Roth, a behaviorist, and M. Rozal who uses the cognitive-behavioral approach. In recent years, a new interactive approach has evolved that combines various trends and adjusts to different situations that arise in therapy. Proponents of this method include the art therapists E. Ulman, H. Wadson and S. McNiff.
Art therapy began to develop in Israel during the 1960s with the art therapy pioneers who worked in mental health facilities as teachers and occupational therapists. Simultaneously, formal and informal certification training programs for art therapists were established. At the time, art was grouped with dance, movement, music and bibliotherapy. Only in the early 1980s, institutes of higher learning began offering visual art therapy certification and in 1982, the Art Institute and Boston’s Lesley University opened an extension in Israel offering a master’s degree. www.aipi.org.il.
In 1982, the David Yellin Institute in Jerusalem also began an art therapy program www.dyellin.ac.il and in 1981, Haifa University opened a visual art therapy certification program, where today one can earn a master’s degree. www.artherapy.haifa.ac.il
Since 1971, the Israeli Association for Creative and Expressive Therapy has functioned as a non-profit umbrella organization for the visual art therapy field. www.yahat.org Years of intensive negotiations with the Ministry of Health culminated in 1989 with the recognition of creative and expressive therapy as a para-medical profession.
Art Therapy in Research
Cunninham, A. (1992) The Healing Journey. Toronto, ON: Key Poter Books.
Maddi, S.R. and Kobasa, S.C. (1984) The Hardy Executive: Health Under Stress. Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin.
Chapman, Linda M.; Morabito, Diane; Ladakakos, Chris; Schreier, Herbert; Knudson, M. Margaret (2001) The Effectiveness of Art Therapy Interventions in Reducing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms in Pediatric Trauma Patient, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, v18 n2 p100-104.
Malchiodi, Cathy A. (Ed.). Vick, R.M. (2003) A Brief History of Art Therapy, Handbook of Art Therapy. N.Y. & London: The Guilford Press.
For Whom is Art Therapy Suitable?
Art therapy is suitable for people of various ages and to meet a variety of needs. Children, adults and the elderly can all benefit from art therapy at some point in their lives.
Art therapy is particularly appropriate for those seeking personal development, development of creative capacities and increase of self awareness.
In facing transitional periods, art therapy is helpful in understanding solutions to life’s dilemmas. Routine, every day problems, anxiety, acute trauma, medical illness and injury- an entire range of issues are clarified and managed through art therapy. In addition, art therapy helps in coping with social issues by increasing emotional awareness and self confidence.
Art therapy is also suitable for business organizations, workers unions and high-tech groups that are interested in bringing members closer together and processing work place pressures and dilemmas.
What Is Required To Start Art Therapy?
One must simply decide that it is time for a change.
Is Previous Knowledge of Art Required?
No! Creative experience is not necessary since the art being made in therapy is not for display or for sale. Creativity and art in art therapy are merely intended to allow a personal and intimate expression of the creator’s emotions. Adults find their own internal visual language in the same way children do, naturally.
Art Therapy is Effecive for
Increased self awareness
Increased self confidence
Reduced anxiety levels
Coping with transition
Coping with social issues
Coping with trauma and loss
Coping with illness or surgery
Treatment within this framework involves personal work done together with the therapist using a variety of art therapy tools. Individual therapy is suitable for children and adults and allows a great deal of flexibility in choosing methods and materials. Integrative guided imagery can be integrated into the therapy as well. The duration of the treatment depends upon the needs of the patient. Short term treatment is focused on specific objectives and subjects. Long term treatment is appropriate for situations requiring prolonged therapeutic care.
Groups for children suffering from attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities.
The group focuses on the emotional aspects of the children’s coping with their environment. Therapy focuses on learning positive coping mechanisms for dealing with uncontrollable outbursts, feelings of anguish and frustration, low self esteem, feelings of social worthlessness, and more.
For children suffering from attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities, art therapy achieves the following
Groups for those suffering from anxiety and trauma.
Together we will discover ways of coping with the restlessness that comes with anxiety. We shall find the origin of life, despite the loss of what was known, familiar and expected, and discover the strength hidden in each one of us that may seem gone. In the safety of the group, we will meet others sharing our experiences and discover that we are not alone.
Groups for pregnant women.
In a small and intimate group we find creative ways of coping with the changes in our bodies, our status and our feelings. We will acquire practical tools for relaxation and coping with labor. Together, we will strengthen the mother-child bond during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Idan (fictitious name, 10 years old, post trauma, apparently following a car accident, short term treatment). “It was really fun. I felt calm. I wasn't nervous. It was an easier period with no stress and fewer problems. I would like it to continue because I've gotten used to it.”
Idan's mother (in her thirties). "It feels as though the treatment has been really good for Idan who has improved in every sense. He became relaxed and less nervous. He made an effort to do things on his own, of his own initiative. During this period, the hair he had lost started growing again. Everything changed and improved."
Open studio- peer review.
An intimate group for therapists interested in gathering and creating together, in discussing issues, dilemmas and questions arising in our professional practice.
Through the creation of works of art and reflection on outcome, elements of work in the field will be discussed and our expertise as therapists will deepen. In the group, we will expand our professional knowledge through processing of personal experience and reflective thought. Our motivation in the therapy room will bring future solutions to our work in the therapeutic arena.
Customized seminars arranged in advance- an extraordinary and creative group experience.
This workshop is suitable for a predefined group. Together we will look at a specific topic and work on understanding the associated relationships- the participants’ relationship to themselves, in addition to their profession or components in the professional environment. These seminars are suitable for organizations, labor unions, parent groups and more. They can be held as a one-time event or divided into two or three meetings and take place indoors or outdoors.
Lior (fictitious name, in her thirties, couples treatment during high-risk pregnancy) “Art therapy allowed me to look inside myself and to think about what I was going through and about what my husband and family were going through. I learned to examine my feelings and to put things in their proper place of importance.”
Michal (in her twenties, high-risk pregnancy, on bed rest) "I spent a month on bed rest. It was a very difficult month, very stressful, hoping every minute that I wont go into labor. Asnat helped me to relax, lower my stress level and think positively. She gave me strength and taught me how to handle the pressure and anxiety while in this situation."
You can contact me by phone, or email, Asnat Weinfeld-Yehoudayan
I would be glad to answer any questions, Art therapist, MA
Asnat Reuben Street, Baka, Jerusalem