The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but art therapy differs from other psychological therapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the image or artefact.
This year’s included presentations from Keynote Speaker Susanne Bosch, originally from Germany and currently the Course director of the MFA in Public Art at the University of Ulster. It also included Leora Sotto from Israel, Susana Hernandez from Spain, Michele Wood from England and Alison Wren from Scotland presenting on a wide range of topics.
A vital element to the programme is input from Northern Ireland presenters. Local presenters Christine McSherry, Arthur McCullough and Jayne McConkey & Wendy Roberts delivered presentations and facilitated workshops through the week.
NIGAT was delighted to have Susanne Bosch as this year’s Keynote Speaker. Susanne presented on art and cultural projects and how they can be a social transformator that has an impact on individuals as well as groups. A regular guest speaker, Leora Sotto from Israel presented on her own images and sculpture and used these to promote discussion around the therapeutic benefits they give to her and her clients.
Local Art Therapist Christine McSherry recently completed her PHD on an examination of how an art therapy process might illuminate aspects of women’s life stories. Christine’s presentation included elements of art therapy narratives, which conveyed the painful reality of their lived experiences of the troubles.
Jayne McConkey, Chairperson of NIGAT believes that this year’s Summer School programme provided attendees the opportunity to learn more about art therapy and art as therapy a wide overview of how it can be used in different contexts.
Each year we endeavour to get a programme of presenters and workshops that can facilitate this process for attendees. This year presentations covered the use of art therapy and art as therapy in a wide range of areas for example in the community, with cancer patients and in relation to gender,” said Jayne.
“I am confident that those who attended came away from the summer school with a much greater understanding and firsthand knowledge of this work,” she added.
Paul King, one of the attendees of the summer school and confirms Jayne’s aspirations for the Summer School. He commented on his experience
“I attended the NIGAT Summer School this year, 2012, I was not really sure what I was getting myself into, but I took the chance. I attended for the full week course so as to get the full experience and get as good an understanding of art therapy as I could,” said Paul
For the whole week I felt immersed in the Summer School, the NICVA building felt like it was the NIGAT building, the NIGAT team did a superb job, the guest speakers were excellent, I must give a special mention to Leora as she is fantastic. Alison ran her workshops brilliantly and through attending these workshops I came away with a great insight into the use of art as therapy. The final day with the labyrinth and art making was brilliantly done and was a fantastic way to close the weeks experience. The only downside is that you can't attend every workshop that is on offer during the week,” he added.