This past Friday, Lawyers and Paralegals from the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) came to SVA for a stress relief art therapy session. NYLAG focuses on creating individual and systemic change for people and families experiencing poverty by providing free services to those in need.
MPS Art Therapy students facilitated the project along with SVA’s Special Projects Coordinator, Val Sereno. To begin, Val presented a 3-minute meditation exercise. Next, each participant was asked to choose a Ziploc bag with three paint colors in it, place it on the table in front of them, and begin pushing the paint around with their fingers. The bags provided a sensory experience for the participants that would release tension and further ground them. While moving the paint mixture around in the bags, each person created an image that visually represented their stress. Following the image-making, the participants were asked to lay a piece of acetate on top of their stress representation. They then layered on additional imagery, transforming their stress into something more manageable using oil pastels.
This process investigated stress and how to cope with it. The directive opened a path for each participant to consider what types of stress impact them and what they need in order to effectively cope with it.