The Department of Art Education’s Art Therapy Program recently completed its summer term with Dr. Patricia Isis as guest lecturer for its third weekend course. The course, Best Practices for Self-Care, Wellness and Mindfulness for People Affected by Stress, was held July 21-22, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
During the course, participants studied specific principles of self-care and well-being through the approaches of positive psychology, mindfulness, self-compassion and art therapy, as related to the treatment of traumatized and abused clients, as well as individuals suffering from the effects of stress. The course content was based on the most recent theory, research, and the best practices of self-care, wellness, positivity and mindfulness interventions in the field today. Students were given several opportunities to experience formal and informal practices to the cultivation of non-judgmental moment to moment awareness. Through art making, movement and writing exercises, along with didactic dialogue, students explored approaches designed to increase self-awareness and acceptance inside and outside the therapy session.
Guest lecturer Patricia Isis, Ph.D., LMHC, ATR-BC, ATCS has practiced art psychotherapy in the public schools and in private practice for over 35 years. As a trained mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindful self-compassion instructor, Dr. Isis facilitates classes and mindfulness trainings. As a passionate presenter, Dr. Isis provides workshops on art therapy and mindfulness locally, nationally, and internationally. She is also the author of The Mindful Doodle Book: 75 Creative Exercises to Help You Live in the Moment (2016).
Students and the department truly appreciate having Dr. Patricia Isis share her wisdom and principles of self-care, wellness and mindfulness. Mia Ulmer, a graduating Master’s Art Therapy student said, “My perception of being mindful evolved during the course. Originally, I believed the key concept was to be present in the here and now, including your thoughts. I learned that mindfulness is a felt experience that embodies so much more. Mindfulness is about being open and allowing all possibilities, and being present with yourself using kindness and compassion. One of the first concepts I grasped in this last weekend course was setting an intention for the day. I believe starting the day with an intention truly sets the tone for what the rest of your day looks like, because you have a clearly defined purpose. I hope to integrate this simple technique into my personal and professional life thus forward, to help prioritize what is important, reframe my thoughts and ensure my actions align with the set intention. Through the affectionate breathing exercises, spectrogram activity, therapy sessions and witness writing offered during the course, I was able to recognize how much stress and pressure I place on myself. Being reminded that you have to must show yourself self-compassion first to be available for other people sincerely resonated with me. Moving forward, I hope to incorporate some of the self-care techniques learned in this class, like mindful doodling, affectionate breathing, and STOP (Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed).”