The Creative Container

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Self-Care for Health Care Practitioners using Reflective Art-making Practice

Reflective art-making practice is a process that allows participants to reflect on their profession through the combined processes of reflective practice and art-making.

Reflective art-making practice can be an enjoyable and relaxing way to process professional work but it can also be beneficial in helping to alleviate and understand the overwhelming emotions and stresses of health care work that can build up within Health Care Practitioners.

It can be at times hard to make sense of what we are feeling and therefore to express this verbally. Facilitated in a safe and confidential space by an accredited Art Psychotherapist, in individual or group sessions. The process of reflective art-making can enable participants to produce a visible and tangible image of what they may be experiencing. An Art Psychotherapist who is trained to be sensitive to the subtleties within the making and viewing of this artwork enables participants to see and feel what they may be experiencing, reflect on it and explore what arises from it.

This process can help participants find insight and meaning to the emotions and conflicts they could be experiencing in their professional and personal lives. Achieving a better understanding of what is being experienced can enlighten participants to the psychological dynamics and conditions that could impact them as Health Care Practitioners.

An increased self-awareness of these impacts can potentially foster a persons resilience and effectiveness to care. It can promote learning from experience and the development of reflective and critical thinking skills that can increase the ability to act more clearly in future situations.

How can it help me, and the people I work with?

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Reflection and discussion of the art-making process with an Art Psychotherapist, can be an effective catalyst for receiving deeper insights into the experiences and affects of working in your profession and as part of a team.

Reflective art-making practise can promote increased self-awareness which benefits self-care, lowers the risk of ’empathic distress’, ‘compassion fatigue’ and ‘burn-out’. In learning from the experiences and affects of care work, it can foster an increased mindful, compassionate approach towards yourself as a carer, your patients and within your team as a whole.

Group workshops for health care practitioners in reflective art–making practice can develop team building by improving the members’ self-awareness and communication skills through the reflection, discussion and association of their collective experiences as practitioners. This can promote learning from these experiences as a team, potentially developing resilience, communication and more effective team practice.

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Rebecca O’Connor BA(Hons), MSc

Registered Art Psychotherapist IACAT, HPC, BAAT