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Vocational Essay 02 – Art 1105

What skills are needed to do this kind of work?

For art therapy, I think that the skills you would need to do this work effectively overlap some with the theories that you would encounter. I do think that it would be beneficial to have some sort of crisis training, or a basic understanding of how to respond to people who might be in crisis, in addition to whatever art practices you introduced.

What theoretical ideas do people appear to interact with as a part of this vocation?

For art therapy, it would be crucial to have a working understanding of medical psychology, at the very least. Since those who seek out therapy generally are experiencing especially psychology having to do with trauma and recovery. I think it would also be helpful to have a basic understanding of mental illness, and how to go about being a support for people who are struggling with any of those experiences.

How well do your interests and gifts intersect with this field?

I’m not entirely sure – I think that this is very important work, and I very much enjoyed hearing our speaker talk about how much she enjoyed finding this career to pursue. I think that anyone who pursued this career would have to be committed to it – it isn’t an easy practice, to be there for people who are healing. I’m not sure if I personally am at a place in life where I could be 100% certain that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed at times, and so I think that that is perhaps a good indication that this isn’t precisely what I’m going to do.

What would you need to do between now and your graduation date to be successful in this field?

SPU does not currently have an art therapy program, to my understanding. It’s a fairly new field, so you could always try and put together your own sort of program, like our speaker did. I think that a major in general art studies and a minor in psychology could give you the basis that you would need, while still letting you study at SPU. If someone wanted to study elsewhere, they could look into other programs in the city. After that, you could get into contact with various institutions that use art therapy – there are definitely non-profits that operate out of Seattle that would have use of that skill, and probably even school groups, therapy groups, or others that would have positions in the city.

Vocational Essay 03 – 1105

What skills are needed to do this kind of work?

Erica Elan Ciganek spoke to us about quite a few skills that would benefit anyone going into the arts. She spoke particularly about being very intentional developing a place for yourself within a community of artists. Having that community provides all sort of advantages, even besides networking opportunities. It gives you a group of people with whom to foster your skills, and also a support group that can provide structure to your working life.

What theoretical ideas do people appear to interact with as a part of this vocation?

Erica spoke about different social theories influencing her work, especially ideas surrounding dehumanization and what it means to really encounter someone.  She also said that she likes to attend her husband’s psychology classes to add to her own knowledge about the human mind, and that she incorporates those theories into her own art philosophy.

How well do your interests and gifts intersect with this field?

I don’t think that I personally would want to enter into a career that depended entirely upon gallery sales – that seems more financially unreliable than I’m comfortable living on. I think that the artwork that this artist makes is absolutely fascinating though, and I really love the philosophy that she tends to work with, especially using her art to sort of make a space for people who society tends to ignore as human beings. That aspect of this artist’s work I could very easily see myself incorporating into my own sort of art philosophy.

What would you need to do between now and your graduation date to be successful in this field?

Seattle Pacific’s art department offers a BA in Studio Arts, which I think would be most similar to what this artist works with. A good first step would be to get into contact with the head of that particular major, and I think also a good idea to ask if they would be your academic adviser. I do also know that Professor Laura Lasworth has experience with studio fine arts, and I think that she could offer some wonderful advice about how to go about a career in that field.