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March 9, 2006

creata: exploring creative arts therapies modalities

by gl. at 10:32 pm

this is the sixth in a series of posts about workshops sponsored by CREATA during Creative Arts Therapy week. session date mar07.

originally a session titled, "when words heal: writing together through cancer," this was re-engineered at the last minute because the instructor had a conflict. this caused panic amongst the therapists, many of whom were counting on it to complete their ceu requirements. getting a new AATA-approved course together within a day seemed unfeasable, but creata somehow managed a miracle and while it suffered a little for its rushed creation, it all worked out pretty well. attendance was about half what it was in previous sessions, though.

first we listened to the beatles' the long and winding road and were asked to create a visual piece in response to it. [as an aside: i just read a quote from paul mccartney that's amusingly relevant to the workshop: "It's rather a sad song. I like writing sad songs, it's a good bag to get into because you can actually acknowledge some deeper feelings of your own and put them in it. It's a good vehicle, it saves having to go to a psychiatrist …" hee. :)]

then we were asked to create a scribble drawing, which i haven't done since the first creata workshops though it's an exercise i often give to artist's way participants. a scribble drawing involves simply putting a squiggle down on paper and then squinting at it until it becomes something the way you you do w/ clouds, then filling in the details. i drew a random squiggle that became a stained-glass heron.

then we had a choice of creating a response to that piece in a medium we were uncomfortable with, creating a story from a list of words, or continuing to work on the piece. i chose to create a music piece because it's the medium i'm least comfortable with. alas, none of the musical instruments really spoke to me (sticks, rattle), so i ended up creating a soundscape that was meant to be vaguely episodic for the heron. each episode was transitioned by a chime:

i was pretty self-conscious while doing this: it's sort of silly and i wanted to be unobtrusive, which was difficult since i was the only one in the room doing a piece with sound. and even though i know it definitely sounds silly, i think it turned out better than i expected.

afterwards, i asked if anyone there had had a successful music/sound exercise, and nobody had, but there was some handwaving about how that would be the domain of music therapy. i forgot to mention that art therapists are also divided by specialized domains: "art therapy" primarily means "visual art," while "creative arts therapy" applies to the other flavours, like dance therapy, drama therapy, music therapy & poetry therapy. i prefer "expressive arts therapy" as an umbrella term to mean any sort of art one can use to express one's self, but some people reserve it as a term to attach to drama & dance.

everyone has their niche, but i believe in a very multimodal approach to artist's way (and, well, pretty much anything, really), so i always want to know about all the art therapies.

posted by gl. | March 9, 2006 10:32 PM | categories: classes & workshops