Art Therapy course now offered

Shanley Connor-Cox

Art and psychology students have a little more in common now that a new course has been offered at Washburn.

“This class [Art Therapy] teaches a mode in which we can explore feelings and problems through art,” said professor Sarah Roach.

Roach graduated from Emporia State University with a master in art therapy. This is her second year teaching at Washburn and she believes students can benefit from her course.

“We learned about how children’s art reflected their developmental and emotional growth. I know I’ll be able to use this information I learned in the future when I become a teacher,” said Allison Varney.

Varney is a sophomore who studies art as well as getting a degree in education.

Since the 1940s art therapy has become increasingly popular in hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation centers. It uses the creative process to speed up recovery, and promote mental health. Roach also believes art therapy can be an effective method of communication.

“When it’s too difficult for someone to verbalize what’s wrong, sometimes just drawing how they feel can help them open up more,” said Roach.

Therapy sessions can also be done in a variety of settings using a range of materials. For example, a child may feel more comfortable with sidewalk chalk then oil paints. Several approaches to art therapy are taught in Roach’s course to help students determine what approaches are effective. To do this, class time is divided up into two sections.

“The first half I usually lecture about new theorists and their studies, and the second half we do more hands-on activities, where we actually put into practice what we learn,” said Roach

Roach will be teaching Art Therapy again in the fall 2006 semester and encourages any students who are interested in psychology, art or therapy to enroll.