This election cycle has been filled with divisiveness, division and opposition. We need to come together now more than ever to see how we are alike, to understand one another and to build compassion and empathy. We need to strive toward inclusion, honoring diversity and embracing dispassionate viewpoints.
Why are groups important? Being a part of a group brings us together to understand and know one another. In groups we are able to feel a sense of belonging, unification and connect with others. There is a growing interest in this art therapy community of curiosity and openness to come together, share ideas and resources with one another, to build community.
The Power of We
Marylhurst faculty Greg Crosby presented a weekend intensive continuing education course on Groups on October 21-22nd, The Power of We: How Groups Transform Our Lives. In this presentation he discussed the importance of groups. He stated “Group therapy teaches polarities of how to be yourself in a group while also being an effective group member. The importance of group therapy in a society illustrates how we can work together to resolve issues through mutual support while honoring diversity. Groups teach us an important lesson that we are not alone, we are interconnected, and that gives us hope, the will and effort to navigate through life’s adversities.”
Open Studios: Everyone Welcome
The art therapy students have demonstrated leadership and initiative in establishing a student group which will be hosting a monthly Open Studio on campus. This is a time for anyone to come together and make art in a non-judgmental atmosphere. This is a place for us to connect, to use art to know oneself and to build community.
The Open Studio Sessions will be held monthly on the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30-8pm. All sessions will take place on the Marylhurst University campus in a large open room in the Mayer Art Building, where participants are invited to create, paint, draw, write and express. The members work, pause, write, then move to a circle of chairs and set their canvases on easels before them. Each one takes a few moments to reflect on their work, noting insights of understanding reflected back in the art image. As the space opens for discussion, people in the group start connecting how they too feel that way. This affirmation creates connection amongst the members and each is seen and understood. The members see themselves in each other and deepen their own personal understanding through the art image as a reflection of oneself.
Consider attending our Open Studio at Maryhurst University. Come together and build community.
Mary Andrus, ATR-BC, LPC, LCPC
Art Therapy Counseling Assistant Professor and Program Director