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Sarah Slayton Presents at International Conference in Poland

Sarah Slayton, art therapy counseling faculty, will be a presenter at the International Scientific and Training Conference in Krakow, Poland, in May 2012.

Slayton's presentation, titled Art in Therapy: A Visual Language, provides case studies illustrating how "the making of art facilitates meaningful communication and catalyzes the therapeutic dialogue."


Art in Therapy: A Visual Language

In the face of grief, recovery from trauma, and/or situations where spoken language may not apply, visual art may be an integrating force when utilized within the structure of the art therapy holding environment. The creation of drawings or sculpture can be poignant methods to communicate experiences, needs, thoughts, and emotions. Clients of all ages may have difficulty verbalizing their experiences at various stages of the therapeutic process, and encouraging the making of art facilitates meaningful communication and catalyzes the therapeutic dialogue. Examples illustrate how this took place in the first art therapy session with two different child cases, during the working phase of therapy with an adult client, and at the termination stage with an adolescent client. In each case shown, the art media and the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship offered necessary containment so that each client could take risks to create valuable creative expression. In the role of art therapist, a primary goal is to provide the opportunity for clients to bridge the connection from their inner worlds to the outer world, thus decreasing isolation.

About the Conference

International Scientific and Training Conference

Sponsored by the art faculty of the National Education Commission Pedagogical University in Krakow, the Psychiatry and Art Association, and the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, this year's conference theme is Parallel Worlds: Art as a Tool for Therapy and Communication. The term "parallel worlds" was coined for the need of quantum physics, however, when used as a poetic metaphor perfectly illustrates the state of being different both in the outside and on the inside. Art as a communication tool allows one to express experiences, needs, thoughts and emotions. It helps self-identification and better recognition of oneself and those who are different, strange and unknown. In the space of art, "parallel worlds" have a good chance of linear meeting on the horizon drawn by aesthetic values. The intent of the lectures and reflection is to look at art as an integrating frame of reference, satisfying the need for contact with the world as a whole.

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