By: Brianna Babick
Susan Langer said, “Art is the creation of forms symbolic of human feeling.” I appreciate this definition of art for its simplicity. As a second year graduate student studying Expressive Therapies at Lesley University, I‘ve had the privilege of interning with All Care Hospice. Langer’s definition of art easily coincides with the definition of Art Therapy, “Art Therapy provides individuals an opportunity to use art materials and the creative process to help increase functionality, resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, handle life adjustments, and achieve insight.” (Adapted from the American Art Therapy Association)
My relationship with art began as a young child and included a multitude of classes and extracurricular activities. This passion coincided with volunteer positions helping various individuals in need. Most recently, I received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and spent two years as a volunteer facilitator at the Center for Grieving Children in Portland Maine.
Personally, I consider art therapy as a means to externalize and process present and past inner conflicts. Art therapy allows the participant an opportunity to express conflicting emotions that may otherwise be too difficult to put into words. Repeatedly, I’ve witnessed the process of art therapy stimulate a transformation that is both cathartic and energizing.
My internship with All Care Hospice provides me the opportunity to offer art therapy services to hospice patients as well as bereaved loved ones. The All Care Hospice professionals I’ve worked alongside with have taught me a great deal about compassion, communication, and companionship during the dying and grief process. The opportunity to facilitate healing through the communicative properties of art therapy within hospice and bereavement has been an invaluable experience and I look forward to continuing.
Be sure to check back as we continue to explore the dynamics and benefits of Art Therapy!
McNiff, S. (2015). Imagination in Action: Secrets for Unleashing Creative Expression. Boston: Shambhala.
The American Art Therapy Association: http://arttherapy.org