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Art Educational Therapy

Where do the art therapy sessions take place?

Art therapy sessions are offered at Art Therapy Ottarsdottir studio.

Online art educational therapy is also offered over the Internet. The treatment takes place via Skype or Zoom in a location which is suitable for the individual. The client has simple art materials available, such as paper and crayons, while the session takes place.

What are the benefits of Art Educational Therapy?

Coursework learning is integrated into art therapy in art educational therapy (AET) through art making with the aim of processing emotions and facilitating coursework learning. Connecting the emotional and intellectual side of each individual in that way opens up an internal dialogue between those two parts within the person, which redounds to forming of a more whole empowered human being.

Who benefits from Art Educational Therapy?

Art educational therapy (AET) is for individuals who seek to enhance their coursework learning and process emotions through art making, the therapeutic relationship and learning.

Origins of Art Educational Therapy

Dr Unnur Ottarsdottir initiated art educational therapy (AET). The development of AET began around 1994 but its theory and methods were developed over the years 1999-2000, in relation to Ottarsdottir’s doctoral research which was conducted in an Icelandic secondary school. Unnur has written about the research and published the findings internationally in many of the world’s leading journals and books in the field.

What is Art Educational Therapy?

The same basic theories and methods are applied in art educational therapy (AET) as are generally applied in art therapy, in addition to a focus on education. Coursework learning is integrated into art therapy in AET through art making, and specific learning difficulties are observed in relation to emotional difficulties. The individual’s verbal expressions and actions are viewed as forms of expression including coursework learning. Emotions, experiences, thoughts and rational thinking are worked with in AET through art making, writing and coursework learning within the therapeutic relationship, with the aim of enhancing emotional well-being and facilitating coursework learning.

Coursework Learning in Art Educational Therapy

Traditional coursework learning subjects, such as mathematics, reading, writing, grammar, social studies, physics and chemistry, are worked with in AET. Aiming to facilitate coursework learning and enhance emotional well-being, coursework subjects are integrated into art therapy in AET through art making, direct teaching, coursework learning and discussion.

Psychological Aspects

Trauma and difficult experiences can impede coursework learning. Individuals who grapple with specific learning difficulties often experience complicated emotions in regard to their learning and schooling. Emotions that arise when individuals are unable to master coursework learning, the inability to keep up with peers and the experience of being “different” can make the coursework learning even more difficult. An individual’s self-confidence can also suffer because of specific learning difficulties. Such emotions are worked with in art educational therapy.

The Therapeutic Relationship

In art educational therapy (AET) the client’s artwork, emotions and thoughts are accepted as they are. The therapist endeavours to provide understanding and encouragement, for example in relation to the client’s coursework learning and difficult experiences. In that way, the art making process within the therapeutic relationship benefits self-esteem and emotional well-being, which in turn facilitates coursework learning.

Art Making

Art making is incorporated into art educational therapy (AET) within the therapeutic relationship in a similar way as in art therapy. In addition, coursework learning and emotional processing are intertwined through the art making. In AET a different medium is applied from what is customary in education, so that rather than mainly applying letters and numbers, the approach is to a large degree creative, visual and pictorial, which better suits many individuals who struggle with specific learning difficulties. Individuals who deal with specific learning difficulties often find it easier to engage with projects which include visual thinking rather than solely using words. Art making also brings creativity and playfulness into coursework learning, which in turn can make the coursework learning process increasingly manageable and more enjoyable.