Counseling/art therapy

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Question
Hello,

I am a social work student and I have to do a macro project. I am doing it over stress. It is aiming to reduce stress during midterms. I plan to host various activities that will reduce stress. I was wondering if you knew anything pertaining to art therapy? I was planning just to bring paint and letting people finger paint? any ideas would be really helpful and appreciated. thank you

Answer
Hello Lesli,
Thank you for your question. That sounds like a great project!
We can brainstorm it some more if you want, but here are my initial thoughts and suggestions:
The medium you use will achieve different goals.
The looser the medium, the more likely it will be to let the people express wild emotions. So finger paint, you are going to have people either get giddy or cry.
Clay is a soothing medium. They can play with the clay endlessly in their hands, reshaping it and changing it.
Pencils and pens are more subdued. I used these with my juvenile delinquents because I wanted them to focus on the assignments I gave them, and not bring up lots of emotions.
Other mediums are collage, paints, chalk pastel, felt tip pens, watercolor, and many more.
So you choose a medium to evoke different emotions.
For the assignment, it can be anything as simple as:
Paint whatever you are feeling, thinking about.
Paint or draw how you feel when you are about to take an exam.
Paint how you want to feel after exams.
Paint your fears, paint your hopes, etc.
With the juvenile delinquents, I asked them to draw a life map, like a road map showing where they had been, where they are going.
Draw your family, draw your perpetrator (I worked with abused children).
Here is my thesis using art therapy with juveniles:
http://norimuster.com/writing/thesis.html
One of the appendices has a list of the creative activities I used.
(http://norimuster.com/writing/thesis3.html#appendixb)
If you want to discuss further, please write back. Otherwise, have fun and learn a lot!
Sincerely,
Nori  

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Nori Muster

Expertise

Art therapy, positive thinking, and abuse recovery.

Experience

I have been an expert at AllExperts.com since 2000. Before that, during college and graduate school, I put in approximately three hundred volunteer hours working at juvenile halls. I also worked in drug and alcohol counseling agencies. In addition, I have done art and writing therapy with young people who grew up in abusive religious groups.

Organizations
The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), helps families, people who grew up in cults, and people leaving cults.

Publications
Books by Nori:
Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World, a history of positive thinking and how to practice it in the post-9/11 world.
Child of the Cult, a collection of stories about children who grew up in restrictive religious groups.
Cult Survivor's Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life, a recovery handbook for people who had a bad experience in a group.

For a summary of all writing, see http://norimuster.com/books

Education/Credentials
Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (psychology, counseling, and criminal justice), Western Oregon University, 1991.

Awards and Honors
Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement won an award from Amazon.com for best selling book in its category.

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