Art therapy is a proven form of therapy that involves the creation of art to bring about self awareness and personal development. Art Therapists are trained in both art and psychological therapy. While it is a popular form of therapy and counseling in the west, it is lesser known here in Singapore. However, there is a strong community of Art Therapists here, with organisations promoting the therapy such as Art Therapy Association of Singapore and non-profit Red Pencil. Art therapy has traditionally been a very successfully therapy form for children with special needs and people with dementia. However, it is effective too for individuals of all ages who would like to improve on their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Find out how art therapy benefited stressed out Bank Executive Ms Yeo Wan Ting, who took an hour off her busy life to find back the balance in her life.
All About Wan Ting
Wan Ting is a banker in her 30s who specialises in Operations in a large US bank. She typically works a 12 hour day, manages operations teams across Asia, and by the time she takes her dinner on weekdays, it often is close to 10pm. Wan Ting tries to keep herself in good physical shape, by playing tennis twice a week. But with the pressures at work, and the main caregiver of her mother who is in her 60s, sometimes Wan Ting feels that she is burning her candles at both ends. She had heard from friends in counseling that sometimes taking care of people, means that she takes care of herself first. Artistically expressive since young, Wan Ting thought that she would try out the services of Ms Tomo Aoshima-Williams, a Art Therapist she had found on CaregiverAsia. She had heard about CaregiverAsia through word of mouth. While she had not met Tomo in real life, she had read her biography on the CaregiverAsia website, and noted that she was a fully qualified Art Therapist with over 10 years experience working in schools, mental health clinic, charities and private practice.
The Art Therapy Session
Unlike most services on the CaregiverAsia website which happens at the Careseeker's place, Wan Ting had to travel to Tomo's place for the therapy session. For most art therapists, the therapy session has to take place in their place, due to the specialised equipment that is needed for the session. In fact, as Wan Ting pointed out, “The service was quite interesting”. She had never gone for art therapy before, and was quite taken by Tomo’s use of different kinds of tools, the use of painting, visual arts, and toys in delivering a therapy session. Another reason for the session to take place in the therapists' location, is that art therapy is a form of counseling, and a crucial concept in counseling is the creation of a "safe place" where clients are able to share with their therapists, confidentially and safely, without judgement and prejudice, their innermost thoughts. Wan Ting felt immediately at peace when she entered the safe therapy haven that Tomo had created, and felt that the therapy room, and Tomo's softspoken yet firm demeanor was well befitting of a "safe space".
Wan Ting's session was a little over an hour, and comprised of 2 exercises. The first exercise was one in drawing. Wan Ting had drawn out what she was feeling at the point, and facilitated by Tomo, she articulated and explained her choices in colour and subject. Wan Ting felt that the exercise was a good one at "making her ready" for the next exercise, as it gave her an increased awareness of her own feelings and mood. In a way, it was helping her "see what she could not see".
The next exercise was in "play-acting", with props that Tomo had prepared. The props consisted of little toy figurines with different attributes. There were puppies, reptiles, sheep, ponies. Wan Ting was asked to think about a scenario that she was feeling stressed or poorly about, and to assign the figurines with the main characters in the scenario. Using a combination of active listening techniques and psychotherapy, Tomo helped Wan Ting gain clarity and awareness of the situation, and her own motivations and personal values.
“It was quite enlightening and I found it innovative. Overall, this was quite an insightful experience for me, and I did like the clarity that the play acting did for me. On retrospect, the analysis was pretty spot on, and this was because Tomo led me to come to my own conclusion. I can think of a few friends who would benefit from this, and I wouldn’t mind recommending my friends to Tomo!”
Although Wan Ting finds the overall process extremely convenient, she also has some interesting ideas to make things better. After all, when you’ve been handling operations analysis in a Manhattan financial services giant for as long as Ms Yeo has, you tend to be very insightful in seeing ways things can improve. To Wan Ting, art therapy is not that well-known, and people “may not venture out to try” if they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Wan Ting has suggested using a mix of price-related promotions and awareness articles, whether alone or together, as a way to promote Careseeker awareness and interest in art therapy generally.Well, who knows, right? Thanks so much for the feedback and kind words, Wan Ting! We might really, afterall, try out a promotion for the booking of Art Therapists soon! Meanwhile, to engage Art Therapists such as Tomo, click on the link below!
Food for thought indeed. And with this, we hope to continue to spread the word on the help that is available for Careseekers as well as an open invitation for experienced Caregivers to join the CaregiverAsia community. Caregivers who post services on the CaregiverAsia website practice 100% of their own terms, right down to their availability, and service costing. There are no subscription fees or posting fees for Caregivers.
There are many people looking for care services now, so do sign up online on our website, or call +65 6258 6683 to talk to us.