Featuring Professional Member: Marianne Lagutaine
1. What made you choose art therapy as your profession?
Since I was young I have always been engaged in artmaking, be it drawing, painting or sculpture. In my twenties, I experienced the value of psychotherapy, the provision of safe space to express thoughts and feelings and how it allows for change. Later, I lived in NYC during 9/11. In the months afterwards found myself turning to painting to process my emotions and realized the inherent healing power of art. In my previous career, I worked as an Art Director in advertising, but after 16 I really wanted to spend my days in a more meaningful way. I embarked on some research and discovered that art therapy is a field where I could combine my passions. LASALLE Singapore offers an Art Therapy Masters, accredited by Goldsmith’s College, University of London. I enrolled in 2014 and that was the start of my journey to becoming an art therapist.
2. How much does your art therapy training program form your way of being an art therapist?
My art therapy training is the foundation for my practice and particularly informs decisions as they pertain to ethics. A large part of my learning was through my peers. I particularly valued their feedback during group supervision and the critical discussions we were able to have in the classroom. On a more concrete level, my art therapy training clearly informs the planning, the formulation and the analysis of the individual sessions.
3. What is your practice theory in your practice?
My Art Therapy Masters was based on psychodynamic theories, subsequently I obtained a Masters in Counselling, thus my education introduced me to a range of theories. From my practice, I have found that a standardized method does not always meet the unique needs of the individual client. Generally, I use a person-centered approach with emphasis on the art process as well as drawing on a range range of theories providing integrative therapy.
4. What target groups do you serve most?
I used to practice art therapy in an in-patient psychiatric ward when I was based in Singapore, however for the last 2 years I predominantly work with children and their families from the expat population. The non-verbal aspects of art therapy are particularly suited to working with clients from different cultural backgrounds and languages. Additionally, I run art therapy wellness groups for women or visual journaling workshops for the general public.
5. What materials do you use the most in your practice? Or What is your favorite materials to use in your practice?
I love to use paints with my clients, to allow for material exploration and a messiness that can seldom be contained in other settings. Children benefit from being given freedom and creating through playing, engaging and experimenting with materials, in a non-judgmental way. In the last year for my personal artmaking, I have rediscovered pottery, which to me is an ideal way to mindfully create while caring for my own balance and wellbeing as a person and therapist.
6. What kinds of metaphor(s) or symbol(s) that you can use to describe art therapy? Please explain
This one is tricky. Can I pass?
7. When did you join HKAAT? What is the reason for joining?
I joined HKAAT in 2016 when I moved to Hong Kong from Singapore. I joined because I wanted to connect to peers and other art therapists while at the same time gaining a platform to promote and advance the profession in Hong Kong.
8. What do you think of the development and prospect of art therapy in Hong Kong?
I believe Art Therapy in Hong Kong has a great future ahead. It is still a relatively young profession and growing awareness will lead to more engagement with the general public, in hospitals as well as in schools and community settings. Research shows that art and creative endeavors are intrinsically tied to individual wellbeing. In Hong Kong, this awareness can be seen reflected in the increased creation of public art spaces and art happenings.
9. What do you think HKAAT can offer to support or to further develop the field of art therapy in Hong Kong?
HKAAT is run by volunteers and art therapists, who juggle the endeavors of HKAAT on top of their regular workload. I am grateful for the commitment and contributions of each and every member. I believe HKAAT is doing a remarkable job advocating for art therapy and organizing conferences and engagements with the general public. Keep up the good work!
10. What do you think you can offer to develop the growth of art therapy in Hong Kong?
I will continue to devote my time to run workshops and art experientials as projects come up. Thank you for including me