A trainees reflection on working at MCS

I arrived at Marches in October 2021 as a 3rd year art psychotherapy trainee. I had 160 hours of placement ahead of me, plus an extra 40 clinical hours to complete from the previous year (lockdown restrictions and a placement online had made it impossible to get a full experience in the 2nd year). I instantly felt welcomed into the Marches community by administrators, therapists and trainee counsellors alike. I soon discovered that becoming a member of Marches meant inclusivity, with what felt like equal status in a familial setting. As part of my contribution to the practice community I joined the marketing team and took on the responsibility of photographer, taking illustrative images for the website.

Therapeutic work has been a fundamental part of my learning experience and development this year. I have had the opportunity to provide hands-on art therapy with a range of different people. I have found the support and insights offered at group supervision to be very helpful. I have been able to introduce ‘response art making’ to a (non-art therapy) supervision group, giving me the chance to view therapeutic challenges with fresh perspectives. Having explained the purpose and techniques of art therapy to everyone I have worked with, I have invited them to use the wide range of art materials provided by the practice. When people have not wished to use the art materials I found other opportunities to progress using psychodynamic counselling skills. I discovered that by observing visual metaphors I can reach a more profound understanding  of people’s needs. I have been invited to make art alongside at times which has been helpful in developing relationships and provided containment in trauma work.

This final academic year integrated research with practice. I realised whilst compiling my dissertation earlier in the year that I was able to incorporate heuristic research methodology directly into therapeutic work.

The illustration Hall of Mirrors was created in response to the acceleration of learning which took place at that time. I would like to thank everyone at Marches for the opportunities and support throughout this placement.I am hoping to continue working at Marches in some capacity as a newly qualified art psychotherapist.

Hall of Mirrors

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