The Family Life Cycle Theory

All families go through a variety of circumstances. Recently, second year MPS Art Therapy students discussed and created visual representations of The Family Life Cycle Theory. This theory outlines the stages of development that a family may be going through. The stages are defined in the following manner:

Beginning couple: Navigating relationship and family development,
career and financial status/goals, cultural expectations

Family with an infant: Role of parents, parental relationship shifts,
parenting styles, and involvement of extended family and strangers
(e.g. babysitters) in a child’s life.

Family with school-aged children: Social integration of children and
parents with other social circles, children becoming more autonomous,
and cultural expectations

Family with teenagers : Shift in limits and boundaries,
independence/separation from the family unit, responsibility shifts

Launching children from home: Shift of identity, loss

Post Parental – Becoming grandparents, relationship shifts between
parents and children, potentially shift of caring for aging parents

Each of these stages consists of a variety of tasks that the family faces, with just some of the many listed above. Using this theory to try to frame a family’s development can be helpful in approaching therapy with the family. While each family has different components and does not necessarily go through these stages in this order, it is a framework that can act as a starting point in thinking about the family’s treatment.

Posted in 2020, Art, In Class, Students

Special Project with El Puente Williams Plaza After School Program

MPS Art Therapy had a great time collaborating with the El Puente Williams Plaza After School Program yesterday! Participants created mixed media, self-representational album covers.

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students, Workshops

MPS Art Therapy Student Highlight: Lillian Beach

Lillian with work featured in MPS Art Therapy’s annual exhibition, “Open Door.”

MPS Art Therapy: What drew you to Art Therapy?

Lillian: I’ve always been interested in art, and [it’s been] present in my home life. I’ve always wanted to do some kind of career where I could help others so when I found out about art therapy in college, I declared my major immediately and have stuck with it since.

MPS Art Therapy: Why did you decide to come to SVA?

Lillian: SVA is close to home and an easy commute. I really liked the structure and art community in the area seemed to provide great opportunities. I was out to breakfast with my roommate the week before graduation when the chair called me and I freaked out, so excited about getting into graduate school. I was so loud, several people in the diner came over to congratulate me!

MPS Art Therapy: What is your favorite part of the program?

Lillian: The structure and support that they give here is really great. The professors are all so passionate and knowledgeable about their work. The instructors have many resources and have been in the field for enough time that they are able to provide us with tangible advice. It is also really awesome that not all our instructors are art therapists so we are able to relate to other fields that we will be working within our careers. The staff is also very supportive in getting back to us quickly and helping us however we need. I like how much the art experientials are incorporated into our education so it’s more than just lectures.

MPS Art Therapy: Tell us about your internship: where, what population, and what you like about it.

Lillian: I am interning at a day program for adults with mental illness, from 18 to 65 years old with a wide range of diagnoses from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia. They program is group based and focused on helping clients achieve goals like living healthier lifestyles, going back to school or gaining employment. It is staffed by art therapists, social workers, and other mental health professionals. I love the emphasis on how much we are trying to help everyone. That’s common in many sites, but here, it is focused on the potential they have in themselves. The community of the staff is also warm and welcoming. There is a lot of freedom in how we choose to run our groups and there are a lot of different perspectives and interpretations that can be shared between clients and staff.

MPS Art Therapy: What is your advice for those considering a career in Art Therapy?

Lillian: It is a lot of work to be in the program, but it is so worth it. It is one of the best introductions you can get going into this field.

Posted in 2020, Art, Students

The Mural Project: A Collaborative Public Event

“We are strong young New Yorkers. We believe major problems in our society are racism and ignorance; people who are hypocritical, dishonest, stubborn, judgmental, unwelcoming, closed-minded and disrespectful. Our collaborative murals ask the question ‘WHAT IF…?’

What if we work together to create a better place? We ask you to join us by listening, asking questions, having patience, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, learning, agreeing to disagree, surrounding yourself with positivity and passionate people, making art, & having fun.”

The Mural Project: A Collaborative Public Event
Friday, March 13, 2020, 5-7 pm
132 West 21st Street, 5th floor

The mural project is made possible through a collaboration between Artistic Noise and SVA MPS Art Therapy. Artistic Noise is a private nonprofit that exists to bring the freedom and power of artistic practice to young people who are incarcerated, on probation, or otherwise involved in the justice system. For more information contact Liz DelliCarpini at

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects

New Exhibitions at the Chelsea Galleries

Jessica Stoller: Spread

P.P.O.W Gallery, 535 West 22nd St. New York, NY 10011

Dates: January 9th – February 15th, 2020

“Working in the realm of figurative sculpture, Stoller mines the rich and complicated history of porcelain, harnessing its links to power, desire, and taste. Synthesizing the cultural, historical, and corporeal notions of the female body, Stoller expands feminist visual vernacular and makes space for subversion, defiance and play. Deftly employing myriad techniques over the past six years, Stoller’s complex works are hand-built, thrown, carved, molded and ultimately fired multiple times to create richly colored surfaces. The works on view marry a dizzying array of the imagined, idealized and grotesque. For Stoller the ‘grotesque’ becomes a powerful tool to challenge patriarchal power structures, as female figures flaunt what they are told to hide, reveling in their own pleasure abjection. With masterful technical finesse, Stoller sculpts wrinkles, pimples, piercings, cellulite, and sagging flesh that writhes and pulsates with energy.”

Kim Gordon: Bonfire

303 Gallery, 555 West 21st St. New York, NY 10011

Dates: January 10th – February 22nd, 2020

“In a series of new works on canvas, Gordon presents a world of safety and familial intimacy surreptitiously undermined by insidious, unseen forces. Photographs of a group of revelers huddling around a beach bonfire are softened and overlaid with digital framing marks around the human figures, suggesting surveillance technology or facial recognition software. These images are emblematic of a new reality where no moment goes uncaptured, and where even the most ordinary events are packaged and sold, like an Airbnb listing promising a branded experience of intimacy. Gordon amplifies this phenomenon, referencing iconography from the world of music as it dovetails with youthful rebellion. The various crops and crosshairs allude to the logos of both Black Flag and Public Enemy, two groups emblematic of questioning authority and rising above structural oppression. Gordon’s emphases seem to echo their animosity, drawing the very same lines as our tyrannical tech overlords, yet with the express purpose of reasserting control of our own dominions.”

Works from the 1980s/Conceptual Photography

Marlborough Gallery, 545 West 25th St. New York, NY 10001

Dates: January 28th – February 22nd, 2020

“Marlborough is pleased to announce two related group exhibitions including works spanning three decades. The downstairs galleries will feature larger scale works from the 1980s, which speak to the diversity and range of practices prevalent during that decade. The upstairs gallery will include a group of photo-based conceptual works from the 1960s and the 1970s.”–conceptual-photography7

Michael Rakowitz: The invisible enemy should not exist (Room F, section 1, Northwest Palace of Nimrud)

Jane Lombard Gallery, 518 West 19th St. New York, NY 10011

Dates: January 9th – February 22nd, 2020

“Rakowitz’s ongoing project, The invisible enemy should not exist, was first shown in 2007 at the former Lombard-Freid Gallery. For the initial iteration, Rakowitz merged data from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, UCLA, and Interpol, to recreate artifacts that were destroyed or looted from the National Museum of Iraq following the 2003 US invasion, crafted out of Middle Eastern food packaging, Arabic newspapers, and other found media. Rakowitz’s reliefs from the Palace of Nimrud continue to inspire conversations about colonialism, preservation, and the culturcide of a civilization.”

Vernacular Women

Ricco/Maresca Gallery, 529 West 20th St. New York, NY 10011

Dates: January 17th – March 7th, 2020

“Vernacular Woman presents depictions of women in several mediums (paintings, works on paper, and sculpture) by self-taught, outsider, and anonymous artists active in the United States between the late 18th century and the present year. We understand “woman” here as a visual idea; a familiar archetypal form, but also as a fluid concept that becomes richer and more nuanced with each distinct portrayal. As a collective, the women represented here tell an intriguing, open-ended story that bridges the ordinary with the uncanny and the frankly histrionic. The works in this exhibition are conventional, taboo, raw, sophisticated, disturbing, playful, beautiful, bizarre, perverse, hermetic, transparent… They speak to us with a sincerity, and a vitality, that comes from being unaware and unafraid of rules and expectations.”

Doug Wheeler

David Zwirner Gallery, 519 West 19th St. New York, NY 10011

Dates: January 24th – March 21st, 2020

“Over the past five decades, Wheeler has become known for his innovative constructions and installations that engage with the perception and experience of light, space, and sound. Although Wheeler began his career as a painter, his wall-mounted artworks soon began incorporating light as a medium and quickly gave way to an art-historical breakthrough: the construction of an absolute light environment, created in his Venice Beach studio in 1967. On view at the gallery will be an installation by the artist that further expands on his earliest investigations of the possibilities of luminous space.”

Posted in 2020, Art, Exhibition, Galleries

MPS Art Therapy Student Highlight: Julia Ponce

MPS Art Therapy: What inspired you to pursue a career in Art Therapy?

Julia: My industrial design background helped me to find art therapy because my undergrad thesis was to create a product to help children express their emotions. Through the research for it, I discovered art therapy and I knew it was something I had to learn more about.

MPS Art Therapy: How did you decide to come to SVA?

Julia: SVA was my first choice, but due to life circumstances I decided to go to another school. Unfortunately, towards the end of my first year as a graduate student, I received an email saying that the school was going to close. Therefore, I needed to transfer schools. I started reaching out to schools and SVA was helpful in assisting me with the transferring process. Thus, here I am!

MPS Art Therapy: What is your favorite part of the program?

Julia: The supervision class is my favorite part of the program because of the space it provides for us. In it, we are encouraged to share the goings-on of our internships, which is very supportive for us. Also, the experientials we do in class is so beneficial and helps me to understand art therapy better.

MPS Art Therapy: Tell us about your internship: where, what population, and what you like about it.

Julia: I work in a high school for students with special needs. I love everything about it! My supervisor is teaching me so much about how to help this population. I love that art therapy is incorporated into their curriculum. The school treats art therapy with the importance it deserves. The students themselves literally bring light and energy to every session. 

MPS Art Therapy: What is your advice for those considering a career in Art Therapy?

Definitely do your research when it comes to applying and choosing which Master’s program to attend. If you feel in your gut that you are drawn to art therapy, it probably means you are meant to do that, so do it! Also, be prepared to sit with personal experiences that might not be comfortable. Sitting with that uncomfortability is a part of the process.

Posted in 2020, Art, Students

Mural Project Collaboration: Public Event

Recently, the Mural Project collaboration between Artistic Noise and SVA Art Therapy expanded participation during a public community art event. Thanks to all that contributed!

One A&E participant’s mode of public collaboration
Artistic Noise A&E participant leading a public discussion about her mural
Artistic Noise A&E participants leading the public collaborative event
A&E participants selling handmade holiday cards

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students

Future Art Therapists Prepare for the Professional World

Community Access is a second-year class that prepares MPS Art Therapy students to enter the professional world. During the first class of the Spring 2020 semester, students were asked to imagine their future career, and consider how four aspects- money, passion, work-life balance, and professionalism- relate to that vision. To aid in the exercise, students chose pieces of colored paper to represent each of the four aspects and arranged them on a piece of cardstock.

Some students were surprised by the outcome. One student mentioned that she realized there was more to consider than just those four elements. This experiential can be replicated using a variety of concepts to meet whatever a client’s specific needs are.

Posted in 2020, Art, In Class, Students

MPS Art Therapy Special Project: Gilda’s Club

Last week, MPS Art Therapy students accompanied SVA’s Special Projects Coordinator, Val Sereno, to Gilda’s Club NYC. Gilda’s Club is an organization that provides free cancer support groups, lectures, social events, and workshops for cancer patients and their families.

During this special project, MPS Art Therapy students facilitated collage portrait making with the participants. This enabled participants to consider and convey aspects of themselves in a visual format. Some participants created figurative images from the materials, while others laid out images that they connected with. The participants then discussed the meaning of each collage piece they put down.

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students

The Mural Project, Continued

More from the Mural Project collaboration between Artistic Noise and MPS Art Therapy…

1. A&E participates collaborating
2. A&E participates leading staff and SVA students
3. A&E participates leading SVA student
Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students