”Green Studio”: Nature and the Arts in Therapy

Alexander Kopytin (Editor)
Psychotherapy Department, Northwest Medical I. Mechnikov University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY036000

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This collection of articles embraces theoretical and practical issues related to the emerging phenomenon of ‘nature-based creative arts therapies’, or ‘eco-arts therapies/environmental arts therapies’. Due to the negative effects of some aspects of technological development upon various social and environmental processes, the relationship between human beings and nature has received more recognition. The growing field of eco-psychology reflects this attitude in its developing social-therapeutic environmental philosophy, claiming that reconnection with nature is essential not only for the maintenance of the physical world, but for people’s well-being and happiness.

Many writers have written about the therapeutic aspects of nature and contact with nature, but few have tried to reconstruct the knowledge gained through practice and intuition into creating a therapeutic framework using the relationship with nature as the key reference point for therapy. From the eco-psycho-social viewpoint of ‘nature-based therapies’ not only pathogenic factors typical for intensive modern life can be fought, but resilience-building potential implied in the unmediated contact with nature together can be reinforced.

The articles include highlights of the work that creative/expressive arts therapists from different parts of the globe have done over the last years to establish a new platform and instruments for therapeutic practices. They present a new approach that incorporates nature not as a mere setting for therapeutic creative practices, but often as a partner in the process. This raised some fundamental questions concerning the concept of therapeutic setting, the role and functions of nature as an active partner in the creative and therapeutic practices, modes of human interaction with the environment with the use of different creative/expressive means. The book has been edited to provide practitioners not only with the new theoretical perspectives, but with methods and tools that can help them to incorporate nature into their daily work with different challenged populations and their varied needs, clinical and psychosocial issues.

The first part of the book includes articles that present nature-based creative/expressive arts therapies framework: theory, concepts and methods. The second part focuses on the variability of expressive and instrumental forms that can be applied in the context of the nature-based therapies: expressive music, dramatic performances and rituals, dance and movement, visual arts, photography, narratives and multimedia events. It represents a variety of practical approaches and tools used with different populations and in various institutional contexts including clinical, educational, social and community-based settings.

This part of the book also addresses some of the limitations and risks that nature-based creative/expressive therapies may have, and ways in which they may be bypassed and converted into growth and resilience. The book is for anyone interested in the therapeutic use of natural materials, processes and settings in their combinations with the expressive/creative activities. It will be of particular interest to mental health practitioners, especially creative/expressive arts therapists, psychotherapists, counselors and psychologists as well as artists and other creative workers wishing to explore further the creative use of nature within their existing practices.
(Imprint: Nova)

Preface

Introduction

Part One: Theoretical Constructs of Eco and Environmentally-Based Arts Therapies

Chapter 1
Green Studio: Eco-Perspective on the Therapeutic Setting in Art Therapy
(Alexander Kopytin, St.-Petersburg Academy of Post-Graduate Pedagogical Training, Psychology Department, St.-Petersburg, Russia)

Chapter 2
Nature Therapy: A Framework that Incorporates Nature, the Arts and Ritual in Therapy
(Ronen Berger, The College of Arts and Social, Netanya, Israel)

Chapter 3
'A Communion of Subjects' Holistic Eco Art Therapy: Integrating Embodiment and Environment in Art Therapy
(Beverley A’Court, Findhorn Foundation Community, Scotland)

Part Two: Expressive Media and Forms of Eco and Environmentally-Based Arts Therapies

Chapter 4
Greening the Lifecycle: Ecopsychology, Aging and Art Therapy
(Madeline M. Rugh, Straja Linder King, St. Gregory’s University, Psychology and Visual Art, Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA, and others)

Chapter 5
Observing Art Process, Observing Nature: Observing Ourselves through Nature for the Purpose of Becoming More Conscious and Aware of our Relationships and Relationship to the Earth
(Dina Schapiro, Pratt Institute, Graduate Creative Arts Therapy Department, Brooklyn, NY, USA)

Chapter 6
Outdoor Music Therapy with Children and Adolescents: Sounds from the Wood?
(Eric Pfeifer, Catholic University of Applied Sciences Freiburg, Germany)

Chapter 7
''The Tonic of Wilderness'': An Evolving Eco-Arts Therapy Model: From Theory to Practice
(Sally (Sasha) Brucker, Mental Health Faculty, Montgomery College, Maryland, USA)

Chapter 8
Environmentally and Eco-Based Phototherapy: Ecotherapeutic Application of Photography as an Expressive Medium
(Alexander Kopytin, St.-Petersburg Academy of Post-Graduate Pedagogical Training, Psychology Department, St.-Petersburg, Russia)

Chapter 9
Empowering Photography: Participating in Someone Else’s World
(Miina Savolainen, Aalto University Executive Education, Aalto, Finland)

Index

“'Green Studio’: Nature and the Arts in Therapy offers a wealth of possibilities for creating with the natural world. It is groundbreaking in supporting the emergence of a nature-centric vision of arts and health. Nature is presented as the whole of the physical world, whether inside an urban studio or outside with the elements, where even the most difficult therapeutic spaces teem with generative powers involving all of the senses and their innate intelligences. Shadow aspects of chaos and upheaval are accepted too, as essential to psyche’s eco-system and arguably art’s most potent and reliable fuel when channeled into life-affirming acts of creative expression. Each of the book’s chapters written by authors from throughout the world demonstrates how micro and macro elements are forever intertwined as they contribute to “earth’s well-being” which in turn generates potent personal medicine.” - Shaun McNiff, University Professor, Lesley University Cambridge, MA and author of many books including Imagination in Action (2015) that envisions creative expression as a force of nature

“This publication has value for allied health practitioners and is of particular interest to horticultural therapists and meshes well with our nature-centered work. Green
Studio offers possibilities to expand the boundaries of therapy by utilizing nature as a co- therapist. The authors demonstrate the myriad ways nature can be utilized in a therapeutic sense and provide creative ideas to expand the boundaries of practice. Citations are current and abundant in this scholarly work. The thoroughly referenced chapters provide theoretical and empirical support of the theories utilized and offer great opportunity for further exploration of the subject matter. This work should help promote communication, sharing, and encourage growth among the various eco- arts therapies as well as among the broader factions of nature-based therapy.” - Matthew J. Wichrowski, MSW HTR, Sr. Horticultural Therapist, Assistant Clinical Professor, Rusk Rehabilitation, NYU Langone Medical Center

Click here to read the book review by - Judith A. Rubin, President, Expressive Media, Inc.; Author, The Art of Art Therapy, Editor, Approaches to Art Therapy, and other books on art and therapy; Director, Art Therapy Has Many Faces and other films on the arts in therapy.

Click here to read the book review by - Stacey Mallory, Project Nature Connect Program Coordinator & EcoArt Therapy Chair

The book is for anyone interested in the therapeutic use of natural materials, processes and settings in their combinations with the expressive/creative activities. It will be of particular interest to mental health practitioners, especially creative/expressive arts therapists, psychotherapists, counselors and psychologists as well as artists and other creative workers wishing to explore further the creative use of nature within their existing practices.

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