The European Graduate School
EST. 1994

Arts, Health and Society Division

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AHS Research Overview 2010

"Bei anderen Kindern ist etwas anders als bei uns zuhause"Kindern und Jugendlichen mit einem psychisch kranken Elternteil Raum geben durch kunst- und ausdrucksoriente Begleitung

People who are mentally ill are still stigmatized in our society. According to that fact the affected people do not speak about their illness in their environment. So it is very difficult for their families and especially for their children to handle with it. Slowly it comes to the public that these children need to be supported. The author describes an innovative project in Basel for children and youth with parents who are mentally ill. In this project they give the children and youth “space” where they accompany them by expressive arts. She describes her work by theory, examples and case studies of two children. In addition she investigates the effect of her work by interviews with some children. Meanwhile this project is well-known in psychiatric, social and educational institutions and the cooperation works. The author will shortly point out how this network contributes to a social change.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Margrit Birchmeier

Student: Jutta Frei
E-Mail

Keywords: mentally ill parents, space for their children

Art Students Finding a VoiceCivic Engagement Through Expressive Arts

Institutions of higher education are increasingly recognizing the importance of students’ civic engagement. While students’ sense of civic engagement can be developed through personal research and subsequent action, they can find a more meaningful connection between themselves and the world they live in through poiesis: shaping their existence. This is especially true for art students, who engage in a continual process of shaping. This paper examines how expressive arts processes can foster civic engagement in college art students while helping them develop their personal voice. The process involves giving students the opportunity to create impact through their art and pays careful attention to the specific needs of artists. It also carefully considers how artists’ skill levels affect the traditional methods of practicing expressive art. What results for the students is an arrival to their effective reality where they feel an intense capacity to create positive change in the world.

2010: Master Thesis (English)

Advisor: Ellen G. Levine

Student: Rachel Levey-Baker
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Keywords: college art students, civic engagement, poiesis

Die vergessenen Mütter

Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure (Rumi)
Finding again the hope of healing - Expressive Art with mothers of sexual abused children Master Thesis from Hjørdis Mair, June 2010 EGS This master thesis explores the traumatic situation of mothers whom children are sexually abused by their fathers or step-fathers. Sexual abuse is an unimaginable event in a mother's biography. They are often held responsible for the abuse happening in their families. Life begins to break down. Beliefs about partnership, parenthood, love and trust are invalidated. Mothers feel guilty and ashamed about their partner's act. Instead of encouraging them to protect their children, they are judged and forgotten. It is important to give mothers space to tell the painful story and to find treasures in this darkness. By working with EXA methods in a group environment, mothers can strengthen their resilience and grow the resources they have available. They can find hope of healing their children and themselves.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Brigitte Wanzenried

Student: Hjørdis Mair
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Keywords: sexually abused children, judged and forgotten mothers

EigenArtJugend, eine Wanderung durch Zeit und Raum

In this thesis I focused on different sciences to find answers about youth.
I learned about a pioneer of developmental psychology, Jean Piaget.
According to neuroscience, youth is a construction site in the brain.
Sociology deals with standards and values, adolescent medicine with physical changes during puberty. I also focused on art, especially youth art. As a coach at a career consultancy I got experience about the developmental tasks of youth and their fight for a position in the adult world. My experience as a mother of two daughters was helpful, too. I act resource-oriented, art-oriented and solution-focused, always on the base of a friendly relationship towards adolescents.The great creativity of young people, their desire for the new, can achieve an expression in the artoriented work.
Conclusion: Youth, a space between childhood and adulthood, contains a much longer chapter in one’s life, as earlier standards and traditional values have lost their meaning. Adolescents have troubles with the abundance of choice in finding their own way. At that point they are open for coaching.
“Art of coaching“ opens doors to new perspectives in their lives.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Brigitte Wanzenried

Student: Heidi Bircher
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Keywords: youth, adolescents, jean piaget, career consultancy

eine Frage ist eine Frage ist eine Antwort31 Briefe

Liebe Leserin, lieber Leser wie soll eine gute Lehrerin sein? Und ein guter Coach? Eine gute Hausfrau? Eine gute Künstlerin? Weisst Du wie viel Wissen Du hast? Wie viel muss ich wissen, damit ich sagen kann: Ich weiss? Hast Du Dich schon einmal verirrt? Sind Warum-Fragen eher nützlich oder eher hinderlich? Was haben Fragen mit Verantwortung zu tun? Wie ordentlich ist Dein Haushalt? Hast Du eine Putzfrau? Was ist Dein Motiv diese Arbeit zu lesen? Wann hast Du Hemmungen eine Frage zu stellen? Warum ist es einer Tomate egal wie sie aussieht? Welche Art von Reisen magst Du? Was hat Sprache mit Fragen zu tun? Können wir schmerzhafte Erfahrungen rückgängig machen? Kannst Du Spiegelschrift lesen? Wann hast Du das letzte Mal von Herzen gelacht? Hast Du schon einmal eine Leiche seziert? Ist Neugier unabdingbar fürs Fragen? Was haben Fragen mit meinem Beruf zu tun? Und mit Deinem? Kommt es darauf an wie man eine Frage stellt? Welche Fragen fördern Lernprozesse? Können Antworten Leben verändern? Können Fragen Denkprozesse in neue Richtungen weisen? In den folgenden Briefen wirst Du auf meine Antworten treffen und ich hoffe, dass Du dabei Deine Antworten und auch neue Fragen findest. Ich würde mich sehr freuen, wenn wir uns einmal darüber austauschen könnten.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Brigitte Wanzenried

Student: Salome Schneebeli-Thomi
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Keywords: briefe, fragen, antworten, austausch

How to experience Bodymind Totality using Movement, Imagemaking and Psychodrama

This thesis discusses the nature of the bodymind totality as well as the conditions of the bodymind split. It shows how the bodymind totality can be encouraged through the expressive arts. The expressive arts in this study include painting, movement, psychodrama and active imagination. Three cases studies are presented, featuring client paintings, dreams and psychodrama vignettes. By means of these cases, the thesis shows how the body's wisdom can be accessed through the expressive arts and what shifts in consciousness can occur as a result. The case studies, including my own documented work, show that in the world of fantasy, imaging and creativity one can experience healing and the authentic self. This is the world where there is no right or wrong and where anything is possible.

2010: Master Thesis (English)

Advisor: Bruno Mock

Student: Daniela Droescher
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Keywords: bodymind totality, body’s wisdom

Inner DanceMy journey towards a mentally meaningful dance

The main intention for my thesis was to construct a model or a structure, which would support me in guiding groups of movement and dance-based Expressive Arts Therapy. My model is based on the meta-theories of Expressive Arts Therapy (intermodality, de-centering, unconditional presence of the art therapist, the architecture of an art therapy session and the whole art therapy process). The model also takes into account specific issues when dance and movement are the means of therapy (e.g., the  client's difficulty to start moving, feelings of shame). My need to construct a model for myself originated from a personal turning point in my professional life of changing from a dance teacher's position into an Expressive Arts therapist. I wanted to continue my work with dance and movement, but  from a totally different perspective.

The issues of giving space to the clients, and building safety and trust in the group proved to be much more important than the actual model of possible activities during a group session. In my thesis I suggest that the model can serve as a set of tools and structures in storage when needed, but the main importance lies on my genuine presence in any possible group situation and my ability to improvise and be flexible as well as creative. It is also important to consider different starting points of each therapy group  (e.g., therapy goals of the group and the individuals, possible restrictions of the group members, the role of the group leader as a therapist or as a teacher) before setting any model in practice. When reflecting on my idea of a model for guiding art therapy groups, I gradually started to consider that maybe a model is not even needed. Possibly my need for a model was based on my own fear and insecurity in letting go of models as a group leader and an art therapist. Writing this thesis and working constantly at the same time as an art therapist, I can see that a strong, genuine presence is enough for 'a model'.

2010: Master Thesis (English)

Advisor: Merja Lätheenaho

Student: Kristiina McKenzie
E-Mail

Keywords: movement and dance-based expressive arts therapy

Kunst.PunktEin Gesamtkunstwerk mit Community Art schaffen

Kunst.Punkt, an innovative artistic project offering the opportunity to present experimental public performances, is perceived as a Gesamtkunstwerk. Expressive modalities such as movement, sculpture, stories, poetry, music and dance are set in a way that they interplay with each other. The mutual penetration and the relationship within the work of arts provide the essence of a Gesamtkunstwerk, which is then accessible to, and experienced by, the public. The Master Thesis investigates the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, community and community art. The results of the Kunst.Punkt show that this leads to a Gesamtkunstwerk and demonstrates how therapeutic knowledge in the art field can be used as a source of inspiration to facilitate a cultural process. It is the pleasure of being part of human existence that encourages people to be artistically active.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Brigitte Wanzenried

Student: Laure Perrennoud
E-Mail

Keywords: artistic project, expressive modalities, gesamtkunstwerk, community, community art

Meine Suche nach der Kraft in der KunstExploring the power of artistic expression

My thesis is a journey of discovery: it explores possible reasons for art’s necessity.
I am looking for the driving force, the fire and enthusiasm in artistic expression.
Does art indeed provide a way out of agony and suffering? Can anguish become passion and joy by its transformative powers?
In this work I am trying to shed a light on my own artistic resources. On the other hand I am interviewing various artists about their inner urgency, their ‘driven-ness’.
This quest for art’s original spark also led me to the realm of l.’Art brut, the so called art of social outcasts and misfits. On several occasions I visited psychiatric patients at work at the Kunstwerkstatt (arts workshop) in Waldau, Berne.
My field of interest is the borderland between genius and insanity, and the devotion and beauty in the arts.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Bruno Mock

Student: Tanja Onorato
E-Mail

Keywords: driving force, fire, enthusiasm, artistic expression

RencontreApproche d’un entre-deux ouvert à la création

Search on the meeting, mainly in expression workshop directed on the body modality. Before entering into the analysis, I first propose you to "visit" the system of framing old aged persons, the institution then the workshop in which take place my two practical situations. In a phenomenologic form, this study attempts to classify and recognize the features and the conditions of a real meeting. Around the body and its tools, around space and the body, the accompaniment of the animator plays actively in the emergence of a third, single and "alive "form between him and the participant. In this "in between", the expression arises. Coming back on my course of meeting and its questionings, on my training course and my understanding through the body. Lastly, since the "in-between" speaks about meeting, it also discuss separation.

2010: Master Thesis (French)

Advisor: Jacques Stitelmann

Student: Céline Balme
E-Mail

Keywords: the body and its tools, space and the body, the in-between, the third

Schritte zur BefreiungWie Kinder Defizite aus den Evolutionsstufen mit Psychomotorik und EXA aufarbeiten

The process of evolution from the cell to a human being is a series of transitions through increasingly sophisticated levels of form an function and can be imagined as a spiral of growth. Bodily processes, emotions and mental functions each influence the others through subtle and complex interactions. After all, it is fascinating that the development of the individual human being recapitulates simultaneously the evolution of the species from the one celled organism, through fish, amphibian, reptilian and mammalian forms of life.
As functional capacities underlie all motor coordination and expressive capacities, many children who have missed experiencing certain stages and patterns suffer from obstructions and uncertainity. The situation can be compared with a house which lacks a solid base.
This thesis explains the theory and practice about how children remember and experience their developmental patterns. It uses pschomotricity and EXA methods to help them to discover a more joyful, richer life.

2010: Master Thesis (German)
magna cum laude

Advisor: Bruno Mock

Student: Beatrice Buschor
E-Mail

Keywords: evolution of the species, motor coordination, expressive capacities, children, psychomotricity

Stepping into a relational paradigm - what role does the expressive arts play in promoting an integral existence?

This Thesis was evoked by a strong affinity to my cultural heritage that dates back 7,000 years to the Neolithic period and an era of an emergent humanity. It explores the relationship between the evolution of art, cognition and the role of the arts in defining primitive societies. The research includes a phenomenological inquiry of the body as ground for knowledge and for the integration of experience. A deeper investigation into the sacredness of decentering and the theories of crystallisation, polyaesthetics and intermodal transfer lead to a further exploration into whether the Expressive Arts can be a means to restore wholeness of the Self-in-relation, which is a process of the self-organisation of the field as a whole; a natural shift. The approach is both theoretical and artistic. The method is heuristic and also includes an extensive review of literature together with 'snapshots' and poetic expressions by my endearing and very young clients.

2010: Master Thesis (English)
magna cum laude

Advisor: Margo Fuchs Knill

Student: Anna Fenech
E-Mail

Keywords: evolution of art, primitive societies, sacredness of decentering, crystallisation, polyaesthetics, intermodal transfer

The Arts of Serendipity

Serendipity: Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for. (Lawrence Block)
his Master-Thesis explores the art of finding valuable things not sought for. How can one foster the happening of these magical occurrence in one's life? What are the requirements for this? Do art-making and the work with Expressive Arts awaken the phenomenon of Serendipity? The research in this thesis invites readers on a trip into the secret areas of synchronicity, providence and Serendipity. It's an adventurous journey to the effect of accident, the art of surprise and the inspiration of duende. It is a trip into the open land of Serendip, which everyone can explore on. May this work serve as a travel guide.

2010: Master Thesis (German)
magna cum laude

Advisor: Margo Fuchs Knill

Student: Mirjam Candan
E-Mail
Website

Keywords: serendipity, synchronicity, effect of accident, art of surprise, inspiration of duende

The carnivorous plant’s fight with the monsters or "Now it’s becoming art!"

The present thesis is concerned with an expressive arts therapy conducted with a 13-year-old boy who suffers from progressive muscular dystrophy of the Duchenne type (DMD). At its core, the thesis features a detailed phenomenological description of 35 therapy sessions, each of which will be followed by first, reflections on the level of the therapist's perceptions, emotions, and her supervision sessions, and second, by thematic excursions into therapeutic, theoretical, and ethical issues. Various aspects will be focused on: - The client is severely physically handicapped and lives in a state of constant physical degeneration. - The therapy takes place at the client's house, in the form of a home visit. - Experiences with expressive arts therapy in the context of this type of muscular dystrophy remain scarce up to the present day. Reflections on the client's therapeutic and developmental process provide answers to the question whether expressive arts therapy is practicable, beneficial, and playrange-extending in the case of DMD patients. Moreover, I will consider aspects of chaos, fear, and the search for a new order in the context of beginning to work in the field of expressive arts therapy

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Brigitte Wanzenried

Student: Caroline Fischer Cobet
E-Mail

Keywords: progressive muscular dystrophy, therapy sessions, physically handicapped, chaos, fear, search for a new order

Using the Expressive Arts and Eco-therapy to deepen Community Engagement with the Natural World

"How can Expressive Arts coaching, consulting, and education be used to strengthen the work of eco-psychology in building communities more closely linked to the natural world?" This thesis looks at declining mental health and its link to the declining health of the planet in the context of contemporary life. It takes three influences: eco-psychology; community; and expressive arts therapy, and seeks to integrate them into a new methodology that uses nature, art and the community context to address these critical issues of our time. The thesis documents work that moves from the individual, to groups, and to community, and concludes with a series of experimental workshops run as part of The Transition Town initiative in Kilkenny, Ireland. Insights and routes to future development are discussed at its conclusion.  

2010: Master Thesis (English)

Advisor: Paul Antze

Student: Vered Zur
E-Mail

Keywords: eco-psychology, mental health, nature, community context

Von Gestricktem und Verwobenem Die Besonderheiten der kunst- und ressourcenorientierten Arbeit im Vergleich zum Psychodrama

Reflecting on her consultative activities, the author perceives methodological lack of clarity in her art and resource-oriented consulting, which is particularly apparent in their distinction from psycho-dramatic work. Within the scope of her thesis, the author discusses the art and resource-oriented approach in a substantiated manner and defines precisely and establishes it as an autonomous consultative approach. Following a description of her understanding of consulting, supervision and coaching, the author portrays three consultants. In these portraits, the methodological uncertainties also become visible. In the next step, Stimmer’s criteria matrix is introduced. Making use of this framework, the author gives a summary of both psychodrama and the art and resource-oriented work to subsequently identify common features and distinctions, and draw conclusions for consultative work. The theoretical explanations in this thesis are broken up by dramatic pauses. The dramatic pauses offer an insight into the (creative) process and provide room for the discussion on the necessity for art and resource-oriented consultants to perceive themselves as artists.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Margo Fuchs Knill

Student: Esther Abplanalp
E-Mail
Website

Keywords: psychodrama and the art and resource-oriented work

Wandel durch kunstanaloge Haltung und kunstorientierte Methodik in Supervision oder Beratung

The questions of this thesis are: What is change? What is the motivational impulse of a process of change and how, and by what, is it influenced? The author is searching for answers in her own experience and through working with systemic, solution focussed and expressive arts literature. Some thoughts are sourced by reading philosophical, psychoanalytical and anthropological literature. So developed, basic ideas lead to conclusions about how to encourage processes of change through supervision and counselling. Examples of practical experiences are documented. During thesis writing the author does poetry work, which is reflected by her, after the expressive art methodology. The discoveries out of this artwork are included in the thesis. The most important findings of the thesis are: Change is a complex, exciting and lively phenomena and the supervisor can't 'make' change, but it's possible to encourage and enhance change processes. An open, visionary and art oriented attitude and approach allows space for development. Regarding the methods, solution focussed and art oriented work, enriches the intervention possibilities. This is shown by three examples.

2010: Master Thesis (German)

Advisor: Margo Fuchs Knill

Student: Liselotte Dietrich Hüberl
E-Mail

Keywords: change, engouraging proecesses of change through supervision and counselling