SVA Art Therapy Exchange Program in NYC- Poem Houses

To continue the discussion of how culture has impacted art therapy, the chair of the SVA MPS Art Therapy department explained how the program was created and how her own cultural background impacted its development.

The students were also presented with how to use materials for diverse populations. Different types of materials can have a variety of effects on someone depending on their own personal history and background. Similarly, the issues that one might come into art therapy with also might dictate what is or is not beneficial to use with a particular client. Materials have the ability to help one understand their own self concept and fosters a fluctuating holding space. Similarly, materials provide the opportunity for nuanced communication between client and art therapist, which aids in the therapeutic process.

For the experiential accompanying this lecture, the students were asked to bring in a poem or song from their culture or one that had meaning for them. With these pieces, the students were to create a poem house, which is structure that combines text with visual interpretation. These houses could embody the feelings brought up in the poems or songs, represent them in some, or simply relates on some level. Before beginning the creation process, each student shared their piece with a partner and from that, a bit of shared learning and validation occurred.

The students were given a variety of boxes and natural materials to create these houses and the students really went to town. The thought and expression put into each house was incredible. Feelings towards culture, the past, even towards hobbies were brought up. In investigating a piece of writing that related to oneself, the students were able to see aspects of others culture and things that were important to them.

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