The Ikon Journal
Dear Ikon Students,
Welcome to your Ikon Journal, Volume 4 (March 2022)
The Journal will be published once every trimester into your student portal.
Please remember, this journal is for you and we would love you to share your ideas, inspiring stories, events, pictures, tips and more.
Get in contact now with Prisca at firstname.lastname@example.org
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!
At Ikon we are always looking for ways to improve our student experience, and as a student who is in their third year with us, we feel that your feedback is extremely valuable.
If you have 2 minutes we’d appreciate it if you could complete this quick survey by clicking the link below to provide us with some feedback.
SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF AFFECTED BY FLOODS
Dear Ikon Community,
As many of you would be aware QLD and NSW have been severely impacted by the recent poor weather and flooding, this includes members of our Ikon community (staff, students, and lecturers).
We wanted to reach out to anyone who is affected and let them know we are thinking of them. If you have any questions or need support, please reach out.
If you would like to make a donation visit GIVIT Storms and Flooding. Every donation counts.
We have put together a list of useful resources that may help anyone who is affected.
Are you interested in becoming a member of one of our awesome Ikon clubs? Complete the form below!
IKON STUDENT CLINIC
Integrative Psychology and Ikon have joined forces in Melbourne to facilitate therapy sessions for the general public offering low-cost face to face or zoom sessions with our amazing 3rd year Arts Therapy and Counselling and Psychotherapy students. To book a session send an email to: email@example.com or contact 1300 855 228.
Industry News and Trends
A lot of our graduates are already working in the field of Art therapy and counselling and Psychotherapy, and we would like to share with you their contact details and websites.
IN THE KNOW
Interview with Art Therapist, David Champion
Bonjour David, It is an honour to be able to have a face-to-face interview with such a passionate human being.
I’m super excited to find out “how Art Therapy” has evolved for the past 20 years from a professional Art Psychotherapist.
Prisca: David, could you tell us what has changed in the art therapy field from 20 years ago?
David: This is hard to answer because art therapy has always spanned a broad spectrum of approaches from the primarily art-based to the clinical, literally bridging the disciplines of art and therapy. This derives directly from the opposition in the art world between classicism and romanticism and archaically between order and chaos, all of which resembles the different worldviews of the two hemispheres of our brain – funny about that!
The use of art for healing is fundamental to human existence, and its modern expressions, which we call the Arts Therapies (for want of a better term), is therefore inseparable from art history and its divisions. Art therapy is a naturally divided discipline – art with/versus therapy in all its colours, shades and gestures – you might whimsically call art therapy an undisciplined discipline :)))
The division between the influences of art and therapy was certainly the case 20-years ago except that the emphasis was far more on the British clinical tradition with its roots in psychoanalytic thinking. But now as we have almost fully extracted ourselves from the stiff traditions of the British Empire, art therapy in Oz is a democratic republic with many different expressions.
Unlike other psychotherapies, art therapy has not arisen from theory but from human existence, so there is no unifying theory of art therapy, although external factors can be influential. This means there persists a wide range of expressions or styles of art therapy practice. At Ikon, we place ourselves at the centre of all this, giving the arts primacy while aiming to produce graduates who are effective therapists.
Prisca: Do you think Art therapy is still a grey area?
David: Art therapy has never been sensibly describable as a grey area except in the minds of people who know nothing about it. Art therapy, with its antecedents in shamanism and archaic ritual, which goes back at least 50,000 years, is the oldest known healing practice, if you understand healing as re-integration of individual minds and communities fragmented by trauma. Using art for healing is innate. People with no knowledge of art therapy have used art processes to heal themselves quite spontaneously. Young children do this naturally of their own accord.
Prisca: How do you understand clients’ minds/emotions through art therapy?
David: All art conveys emotion, just as our bodies and utterances do, through visual metaphor. However, one would never assume anything about someone else’s artwork as the meaning of it belongs solely to the artist. Any meaning someone other than the artist places on an artwork will be their own self-projection. Art therapists do not interpret imagery but should be sensitive enough to artistic expression and know enough about how art works to ask useful questions.
Prisca: Were there any stigma 20 years ago and how is it different now?
David: I guess you are referring to art therapy not being well-known in the psych industry 20 years ago? This was certainly the case, but is not the case now with art therapists employed in multiple fields. Some health professionals still fail to take art therapy seriously, but this because of their own ignorance, prejudice or resistance to change.
Prisca: Do you need to regularly keep up to date with the new trends? Is is exhausting to do so?
David: There are no ‘trends’ associated with art or art-making – it is simply what it is at any time – self-expression through visual art, sound, music, movement or drama.
However, while there is no theory of art therapy there are certainly theories that relate to therapeutic practice, of which Interpersonal Neurobiology, complexity theory, chaos theory, systems theory, clinical intuition, and fractal epistemology are a few of the most recent and most important. I find it exciting to read about ideas like this.
Prisca: What personality traits do you believe an art therapist should have? Do you need certain things to become an Art Therapist/psychotherapist? I understand you need empathy, perhaps the ability to be able to switch off?…. Tell us more, please.
David: Personality traits are far less important than personal and interpersonal skills and attributes. An art therapist needs to have the skills and attributes of any other psychotherapist but needs many additional qualities because of the immediate and unpredictable nature of artistic expression and the fact that art therapy is not a formulaic process but a fluidly spontaneous, improvised and embodied one. The next moment is unknown, so the present moment immediacy of the arts therapies challenges the creativity and capacity for spontaneity of an art therapist, who needs a capacity to transition fluently between multiple media and modalities. This requires a good understanding of art, creative processes, and of art media as well as a well-developed capacity for presence and empathic attunement to a client’s energy. We don’t just sit around talking, we ‘do’ – arts therapy sessions involve moving around – and action places far more demand on a therapist’s creative and improvisational skills. An art therapist and client may go right through a session without ever sitting down, such is the intensity and energy of many art therapy sessions.
Prisca: Do you think, you need to be a little crazy (I mean in a good way) to be a therapist?
David: I think being any kind of therapist is a huge privilege – a sacred trust.
Prisca: Can you explain how art therapy helps in the long term? How emotionally do clients heal themselves?
David: When an art therapist is able to identify and then work effectively with the central metaphor in a client’s life, a mind can be reorganised in the moment – I have seen this many times. This is because a central metaphor, which Daniel Stern calls ’the narrative point of origin’, reverberates through all dimensions of the self over time. When this metaphor is manipulated and changed, the self changes in a holistic way.
This works by recursion – feedback. The arts allow the old image to be re-enacted and/or reformed in a new way, creating a new image. As the new image appears in concrete form outside of the system we call the self, the embodied self is changed in that moment.
The beauty of the arts therapies is that they allow one to give form to what is formless. All mental experience is formless, but when externalised as an art object – e.g. drawing, dance, music, song, poetry or dramatic enactment – internal experience is given external form. Any art object is an emergent property of the mind and body which created it, and all emergent properties have the capacity to change the system they emerged from. This is how the arts therapies work. Directly!
Prisca: What modality do you think works best?
David: Psychodrama is the most powerful therapeutic modality imaginable. When the drama is right, it is capable of bringing about instant and permanent change, for the reasons I’ve mentioned above.
But any choice of modality is ‘horses for courses’ e.g. some people are not suited to psychodrama. The beauty of the arts therapies is that many other modalities are available in the moment.
At Ikon, we promote a multimodal form of art therapy, whereby an arts therapist facilitates a client moving fluently through various modalities so as to broaden and deepen expression. This is a highly effective way to work.
Prisca: How do you actually gain trust from the client?
David: In my view, this is by meeting a client with warmth and openness and demonstrating that you can consistently provide an environment in which they can freely and safely express themselves while experiencing being fully and unconditionally accepted.
Prisca: When people meet you and they find out that you are a therapist, do you think that they are more careful about what to say as they might think that could be able to understand or read their mind?
David: Hmmm… I doubt it, but you would have to ask them. I usually experience curiosity rather than people taking a step backwards.
Prisca: Is it hard to not pass judgment on clients after you listen to what their issues are?
David: We cannot help judging – we are judging beings, which is why our species is still surviving. It is what you do with the judgement that matters. If you let a judgement (positive or negative) influence your mind then you would not be able to work effectively with that person as they would no longer be unknown to you. It is the unknown that is important in therapy, not what you think you know. If you think you already know, then the client is categorised and curiosity no longer exists.
This is just one of the reasons that therapists need to do their own therapy – so as to understand the origins and motivations behind their judgements of others.
Prisca: How do you switch off after the therapy sessions? How do you take it? Most of all, how do you leave it behind and go home at the end of the day?
David: The key to this is empathy, which involves holding clear emotional boundaries and not getting ‘caught up’ in another’s distress. This obviates the risk of burn-out.
Having said that, if I was seriously concerned about a client’s welfare I would not ‘switch off’ but ‘keep them in mind’.
If you happen to be working in palliative care, the one thing you cannot ‘leave behind’ is death. Death follows you home. Of course, the reality of human existence is that death is always following you home no matter what your occupation, but can usually be ignored. This is called neurosis. To work effectively in palliative care you need to welcome death’s presence in your life.
Prisca: Is it possible for a client to become an amazing artist after all the art therapy they have? Is it possible for someone to discover their talents via art therapy?
David: I guess that’s possible. But the intention of art therapy is towards self-expression rather than developing artistic skills. It’s more likely that a client would continue keeping a visual journal to explore their experience than becoming a great artist. Having said that, I have had clients get very enthusiastic about art-making, but so far it’s always been self-expressive work rather than fine art.
Prisca: What would dinner be with art therapists? What the main topic will be?
David: We art therapists can be quite ‘out there’, so anything is possible! (with a big smile)
Prisca: Do you think therapists dictate people’s lives?
David: I think being a therapist is a ‘calling’, therefore a life-style. And it should be, in my view!
Prisca: To conclude, what do you think the world needs right now?
David: Fewer Putins and more pictures!
Prisca: I certainly agree with this 😊
Recommended Viewing and Reading
🎥 Playing with Sharks
Valerie Taylor is a shark fanatic and an Australian icon. A marine maverick who forged her way as a fearless diver, cinematographer and conservationist. She filmed the real sharks for Jaws and famously wore a chain mail suit, using herself as shark bait, in experiments that changed scientific understanding of sharks forever. What Jane Goodall is to chimps, or Steve Irwin to crocs, Valerie is to sharks. Her love affair with the ocean spanned half a century… and whole lot of danger. This powerful and visually sumptuous 90 minute feature documentary will draw on 5 decades of re-mastered film footage, feature a stranger than fiction script, a magnetic heroine, and world-famous faces. And, of course, sharks.
📙 The Fractal Self
In this article, the author draws on contemporary science to illuminate the relationship between early play experiences, processes of self-development, and the later emergence of the fractal self. She argues that orientation within social space is a primary function of early play and developmentally a two-step process. With other people and with objects in the environment, children first move from the inside out, using feedback provided through early play to calibrate internal systems. Once children coordinate sensory, affective, cognitive, imagistic, and behavioral systems, they then switch modes to navigate from the outside in, via conceptual maps provided by external social and informational cues. If they achieve full social orientation, their imaginations remain for them portals to reality throughout their lives. Otherwise, they mobilize inner resources in defense of a lost, disoriented, or fragile self. A fractal model suggests that the whole of the self, intact during early play, exhibits self-similar resonances in the content and forms of self-expression throughout life.
🔎 Let’s Explore
While our doors are closed, we are bringing you ways to learn, be inspired, and get creative at home and online.
The Way We Eat brings together works of art related to food. Drawn from the Art Gallery’s extensive Asian art collection and loans from private collections, the exhibition considers what we eat; how food is made, stored and consumed; the evolution of culinary wares; cultural exchange; and the ritual and symbolic meanings associated with food.
Explore this ancient source of inspiration, anxiety, and pleasure with The Way We Eat at Home.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Understanding mental health and wellbeing: Being mentally healthy and living well is important to every single one of us – whether we are living with a mental illness or not.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. This state is described as observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. To be mindful is to observe and label thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body in an objective manner. Mindfulness can therefore be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment while identifying and managing difficult emotions.
Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist and Hindu teachings. Buddhism includes a journey toward enlightenment, and the concept of “sati,”—which encompasses attention, awareness, and being present—is considered the first step toward enlightenment. The term was roughly translated from the ancient language Pali into the term “mindfulness.”
The emergence of mindfulness in Western culture can be attributed to Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn studied mindfulness under several Buddhist teachers, such as Philip Kapleau and Thich Nhat Hanh. As a professor at the University of Massachusetts medical school in the late 1970s, Kabat-Zinn developed a program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to treat chronic pain. He discovered that patients would often try to avoid pain—but that that avoidance would lead to deeper distress. Practicing mindfulness was a more successful approach.
As mindfulness shifted into mainstream science and medicine, it became a pivotal therapeutic technique; it was integrated into Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, among others.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness encompasses two key ingredients: awareness and acceptance. Awareness is the knowledge and ability to focus attention on one’s inner processes and experiences, such as the experience of the present moment. Acceptance is the ability to observe and accept—rather than judge or avoid—those streams of thought.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MINDFULNESS?
The goal of mindfulness is to cultivate a perspective on one’s consciousness and identity that can bring greater peace mentally and relationally. Mindfulness may also be used in mindfulness-based therapies, to address stress, anxiety, or pain, and simply to become more relaxed.
IKON COMMUNITY PET PICTURE
We invite everyone to send us their pet pictures and write a little biography about them. We will then publish them each Trimester in our Ikon Journal and events page. At the end of the year, we will vote for who is the cutest, who is the funniest and who is the smartest.
We are so excited to see your friends!
Boris, the Dalmatian
Boris is a 7.5-year-old Dalmatian that Claire rescued last year. He’s still learning his manners but loves people and food. Did you know Dalmatians can smile? Boris smiles when you come home but also when he’s been naughty. Boris’s favourite food is cheese, which he will do anything for, and he loves getting into the recycling bin and helping to tear the cardboard up.
Boris loves coming into Ikon Adelaide campus as he gets loads of attention from his best friend Abby and meeting all the students. He doesn’t get much work done but is really good at napping on the office couch.
Just For Laughs
Photo by PD
‘I never knew growing tomatoes could be so artistic”