After graduating in psychology, I worked at a special needs training centre for adults and grew fond of the clients. I wanted to do more to understand their needs and tailor interventions for them. There, I chanced upon a training opportunity which introduced art as a way to work with this special group of people.
Introducing art into my sessions was not only helpful for our clients, it also allowed me to rediscover my love of art and to relive the fulfilment I got from creating art. Heading to Melbourne to pursue a Masters in Art Therapy opened my eyes to the possibilities of art as a medium of expression and what it can do in therapy. Though cliché, I knew that art therapy was my calling.
In the early days of the service, art therapy was often misunderstood as art classes for paediatric patients to help them relax and be happy. But as we continued to educate and advocate, people then saw that art therapy encourages authentic self-expression and insight-building through art-making. During art therapy, different memories and emotions may be triggered, and it is the art therapist’s job to help our patients process and contain them, and work towards building emotional resilience and wellness.
- Pearlyn Lee, Senior Art Therapist, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Adapted from KKH’s People of KKH series. Read the full story here.