I have explored many different concepts and areas without my time in constellation in both Level 4 and Level 5 including sustainability, art philosophy and perception.
Why did I decided to choose this topic?
For the last few years I have been fascinated by art therapy because I have family members in the military who have suffered from PTSD and am close with people who suffer from mental illness. I have used art myself as a way to relax and establish my thoughts because sometimes I think about things a lot, begin to overthink and so the art allows me to organised the different ideas I have and get them out onto paper. I decided to form my dissertation on the link between art and mental health because it is a subject I want to continue through a masters and into a career. I am fascinated by the undefined topic and want to continue the research. Art therapy is quite new in the world of psychology and therapy and still does not have a definition set in stone because there are many aspects of it which was still unknown and unexplored. Through my dissertation, I want to explore the different theories on the topic to expand my own knowledge and possibly come to a conclusion myself of how the topic could be defined. I find this topic fascinating because I have spoken to people in my life and others I have met at art fairs who have used art as a form of therapy. I have found there to be mixed reviews about how it has helped them but, overall the reviews have been positive making art therapy more attractive and something I’d like to explore. I have really enjoyed looked into different theories and ideologies by practicing art therapists because they have all contributed to my essay and given me a range of different ideas to help form my opinion on the definition of art therapy. I found a book called “art and mental health” which is filled with artworks created by those suffering from a mental illness. I found it really interesting to look through because it contained many artworks of different styles and showed such emotion in them. The work was very personal to the creator which I even more intriguing because it makes the work more mysterious and less generalised. The works didn’t have much of a blurb to them which I found interesting because it meant you as the audience were able to create your own story about the work. This could make the work personal to you as well as not divulging any personal and confidential information about the creator and their metal health.
What did I find difficult?
I found it quite difficult when it came to the research for my question. I found there were a good few books on the topic however, the theories were a lot broader which meant it was hard to narrow down the answer each theory was trying to get across. Many of the theories give ideologies but nothing set in stone which meant the essay is possibly a guessing game. I feel my knowledge of the topic has broadened a lot but because there is no true definition, there is a lot of uncertainty in the topic. The theories I have been looking into including the Gestalts theory, Transdisciplinary and others stated by professions and practicing art therapists are all giving different ideologies and understanding of the subject making the essay a lot broader than I originally thought it would be. I did find it quite difficult to get the word count in because I wasn’t sure how much detail I needed to out into the essay. I felt if I put too much detail in there I wouldn’t be leaving anything for the real dissertation in third year however, if I didn’t put enough in then I wouldn’t make the word count.
In order to improve and broaden my knowledge of the subject, I need to continue researching different theories by talking to my tutor and exploring the library in more depth. This will help me to understand art therapy more and create more of an argument for my dissertation and to develop my own opinion on the subject.
How has the topic influenced my practice?
I feel this topic influences my work as a practicing artist because I feel I use art as a form of therapy and I have looked into topics of abuse, drug violence and sexual exploitation which are all conditions which can be treated with using art. Art is a great way to understand your emotions and feelings because you are able to get them out of your head and onto paper. Art is a fantastic way to understand and interpret these emotions because we can use our media and materials we want to use in order to make the art which could then reflect how we feel. For example, if I decided to use harsh rough surface materials and a lot of red, black and dark coloured paints it would reflect a feeling of negativity and darkness.
This is a topic I wanted to take on into a Masters degree and into a career later in life. It is still unknown to me as to whether I want to be a practicing art therapist or a psychologist in the field. I feel through a MA and the early stages of my career I will be able to decide this.