The Use of the Arts in the Field of Mental Health/Trauma

Aravindhan Natarajan & Carol Coder | September 22 | 10:10 - 11:10 AM | Auditorium

The arts have the potential to be used in various social work contexts: drawings can help individuals open up and engage with the therapist; photographs can facilitate discussion in group work practice; and images can help advocate for various client groups. This presentation will provide an overview of the use of art with social work clients and focus on the use of the arts in healing and catharsis.

One of the presenters is an art therapist who works with mental health consumers/client-artists in Toledo. She has expertise in the use of various visual art mediums in her therapy sessions. This presenter has worked extensively with clients living with serious mental illness such as: Major Depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder, Schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, and Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Many of her clients additionally grapple with substance abuse, trauma, homelessness, and poverty. The art therapist will demonstrate how her techniques have helped client-artists feel hopeful about the future and provide a platform for healing. The other presenter is a self-taught (or “nature-inspired”) artist who has no formal training in the arts. He uses pen-and-ink, acrylics, charcoal, pastels and cameras to explore issues of social and economic justice.

Presentation Objectives:

·         To understand the power of the arts in combating global social justice issues

·         To demonstrate the use of the arts to facilitate catharsis and promote healing

·         To explore the use of images in client advocacy

To generate ideas for using various art forms to engage with diverse clients

About the Presenter