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Art and Psychology in Goddard's P&C Program

Wendy Phillips, PhD, MS, LMFT's picture
MA Psychology-Counseling Blog
Art and Psychology in Goddard's P&C Program

I begin this blog to create a space for the discussion of the ways we have been integrating art, symbols, and creative expression into our curriculum of psychological theory and counselor training here at Goddard. About three years ago, I began to explore the ways that we could incorporate artistic practices and reflections on these experiences into the content of our coursework as well as the final products produced as the culmination of the consideration of particular subject related to the field of psychology and counseling.

The experience of art as an aspect of our work in the Psychology and Counseling Program seems to be evolving in two streams. In one current, students have studied theorists whose work is directly related to image, symbolic representation, dreamwork, ritual,  and the use of expressive arts processes as component of psychotherapy. Relevant theoretical works have included the writings of Carl Jung, James Hillman, Shaun McNiff, Lionel Corbett, Marion Woodman, Cathy Malchoidi, and others.

A second current has involved the creation of a process art piece by the student as a response to the reading and integration of the theoretical material of a course. These works have included paintings, mixed media pieces, poetry, screenplay scenes, photography, and choreographed dance pieces. The works have been presented at an arts opening at the beginning of Residency and remain in the gallery through the final Residency day.

Another aspect of academic work that has been an opportunity for the melding of artwork and psychological theory has been the Creative Thesis, one of the final product options that may be elected in order to meet the requirements for the completion of the Master’s degree. Examples of recent creative theses include a screenplay that depicts the developmental experiences of a protagonist who has bipolar disorder and which provides examples of therapeutic interventions available to treat this condition, a manuscript on theories of positive psychology that juxtaposes critical analysis of theory with photographic images and poems created by the student, and a thesis that combines a critical analysis of the topic of mothering with mental illness and memoir writing.

 I invite students to engage in the creation of this blog to reflect on their experiences of the integration of art with psychology in the Psychology and Counseling Program at Goddard.

RENE MCGUIGAN'S WORK

DEPRESSION

His mood did not shift

like the rise of a fast-moving storm,

the melancholia drifted,

a fog rolled over the landscape from the sea

laden with the sting of salt and tears.

The front often stalled for days

while he sat with the oppressive weight, eyes wide

tongue caught between the teeth of pain,

held hostage without ransom.

No one could see the shrinking begin,

the confusion of the cells,

the gradual alteration of the brain –

love does not alter when it alteration finds,  *

but anger, anger writhes

against the changes, strikes

when the will wanders too far,

unable to scramble back,

halcyon waters forgotten,

and he was locked within a biological tempest

from the inside,

hands against his irises

imprisoned behind those wide

and fearful eyes.

* paraphrased from Shakespeare

 

DANIELLE GOLD'S WORK TANYA SAPULA'S WORK
   

 

 

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