A Lifeline: Art therapy

As an artist, arts educator, but most of all, as a survivor, I feel passionate about the ways that art can offer healing and relief in times of difficulty and stress. My own experience with activating this power leads me to a desire and need to show how other people might find it also, particularly those who struggle with illness and disability. I am dedicated and committed to this vocation. It culminates my lifelong experience of making art and helping people make art, with continuous emphasis on the therapeutic benefits of the creative process.

I have a PhD in Art Theory from Cambridge University, where I examined the psychoanalysis of the art object, and an MA in Fine Art (Distinction). These achievements demonstrate my strength and resilience under pressure. All my writing, teaching and art practice has utilised art as a restorative method of thinking, feeling and healing. I want to study for an MA in Arts Psychotherapy because this will enable me to practice as a clinician, and as an artist, to help people. This is a very simple but crucial ambition and need: having spent so much time in my own recovery, I want to make a difference in other peoples’ recoveries. I want to spread empathy and make connections, so that people who are suffering or experiencing problems might feel connected with someone who can understand and help them to relieve their own pain.

I want to use art to facilitate change in the world, which means to show people how they can initiate their very own changes (in themselves). The tool and agency is always art. I need to qualify as an art therapist so that I can make this happen.

So I have a 4/5-year plan: right now I am applying to all the universities which offer the MA in Art Therapy. I am currently finding work and placements to practice this in the community, and gain further clinical experience (in mental health and schools). I hope to start the MA in September 2018, and then qualify as a practitioner 2 years later. So I’d hope to start working in this new career in 4 years time. I may need to do a diploma before the MA. Whatever it takes.

This is a calling. My gut-feeling guides me. I just hope I can convince a university to accept me, so I can at last kick on, learn, grow and qualify, then practice.

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