My name is Elizabeth Kim. I am a registered Art Therapist (ATR) and my graduate degree was earned at George Washington University (MA, Art Therapy). This year, I joined Iona’s Wellness & Arts Center staff as their new Art Therapist. It’s been an absolute pleasure for me!
According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Art therapy is an effective treatment for persons experiencing developmental, medical, educational, social or psychological impairment. A key goal in art therapy is to improve or restore the client’s functioning and his/her sense of personal well-being.”
Here at Iona, as an art therapist, I can plant seeds of hope, positive energy, and creativity. Every day in the art studio we embrace spontaneity, healing, and self-expression. Together, we have the opportunity to connect and share our own stories.
Other skills that I integrate in the art studio include: mindfulness, meditation, and sensory-based interventions including felting, printmaking, and pottery.
What goes on in the studio?
My personal approach supports the integration of mind and body through bringing awareness of affect (feeling states) to the surface, while also engaging a participant’s thoughts, beliefs, inner strengths, and resources.
I work with participants one-on-one and in group sessions.
Some groups work in silence, while other sessions may include movement, music, and other expressive and experiential modalities. You will often see participants singing, dancing, and reminiscing on childhood and early experiences in our studio!
Additionally, while in most sessions there is a story to talk about, I also encourage participants to explore the here-and-now experience and sensations. I believe that it is through this kind of dynamic engagement and awareness that we can all heal. That’s why I like to call my role here at Iona a “compassionate witness.” I facilitate self-awareness in the individual and support the creation of a positive and happier life outlook.
For the last few weeks, I have started a gratefulness box with participants. During each group, I write quotes and statements that resonated with participants in the discussion about creating art or life metaphors.
Here is what participants have to share:
You opened something in me today. I quite enjoy the art room and what was brought up… possibilities…each day has new possibilities.”
We can feel good, doing something good for ourselves.”
I like trying new things at my age. It’s a challenge. Good for the mind.”
I didn’t really have a plan it kinda happened. I stopped worrying what it looked like or what others thought of it and did it. It was freeing and I felt good doing it.”
I sure would like to go to the art studio. Can I come in the studio?”
I just let my hand take me there. I feel good letting go.”
You open the door and let us open ourselves to this studio…to the art…I feel so happy to be here. You let us be ourselves. I love my picture, it makes me happy.”
Annual Participant Art Exhibit: Range of our Possibilities
Every year, Iona exhibits artworks by participants in Iona’s Wellness & Arts Center. This special exhibit gives each participant the opportunity to share their artistic and personal accomplishments with friends, family members, and the community.
Our artists are proud to share the many ways they have used the creative process to honor their struggles, celebrate their strengths, and tap in to parts of themselves they didn’t know they possessed. It is an honor for me to be a witness to this journey, and I look forward to sharing it with family and friends of our community.
I invite you to visit the exhibit during Iona’s regular work hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM). The exhibit is on display from May 31 to August 2.
Save the Date: Artists’ Reception
Saturday, July 15, 2017
You’re invited to a reception honoring and celebrating the artistic expressions and achievements of participants in the Wellness & Arts Center.
Please join us as we celebrate the artistic flourishing of participants, and see the range of their possibilities. RSVP to me at (202) 895-9427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if we have not yet had an opportunity to meet, or you would like to speak with me further about my background or the Art Therapy program here at Iona, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. You can reach me via phone or email: 202-895-9471 or email@example.com.
Thank you for having me. I look forward to creating, exploring, and growing with all of you!