Growing up, I was not really interested in coloring or creating artwork. Even to this day, I still find art to be a little intimidating. I would never consider myself to be artistic.

Last Tuesday, I attended the “Art and Mental Health” event hosted by Dr. Iannone and Ms. Sharelle Langaigne. Dr. I is a Professor in Psychology and Ms. Langaigne is an SU alum (’15 Psychology). She recently completed her Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Creative Development from the Pratt Institute and will be taking the licensing exam to become a Board Certified Art Therapist.

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This “Art and Mental Health” event focuses on art therapy: how people from different backgrounds can use art to express themselves. First, we were all given a blank mask. Next, we were asked to decorate our mask using the different materials provided, including paint, pipe cleaners, beads, glitter, feathers, and so on. Ms. Langaigne explained that our task was to decorate the mask based on how we were feeling at the moment. Importantly, we should not be comparing our work with others. Ms. Langaigne emphasized that while we were free to give compliments, criticisms (including self-criticisms) were not allowed. I felt a lot more relaxed knowing that none of us were being judged.

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As I worked on this mask, I realized how art can actually be used in therapy settings. In other words, art is such an awesome creative outlet for people to express themselves and decompress. It finally became apparent to me why art is taking such a special place in the therapy setting. Art can really save lives!

By: Nya Medley