Exploring International Social Work; Amrita-Nazareth joint venture

Date: 8/1/2013

Venue   : Amritapuri Campus

10:00 am to 12:00 pm     –   Presentation from the department.

2:00 pm to 3:30pm           –   Interaction with the scholars

A team of Social Work trainees and professors from Nazareth University, United States, visited the Department of Social Work, Amrita University on 8th January, 2013. The group consisted of Dr .Corinne Dempsey (Professor of Art Therapy), Dr. Stella (Professor of Social Work) and 9 students of Social Work and Art Therapy.

The first session was an interaction between the students from both the campuses. Amrita students spoke about the specialities of Amrita University, the study tour to Mumbai and the tribal camp organized by the Department. Ms. Anita (S4 MSW) gave an introduction about Amrita University, Department of Social Work, the curriculum, specialization, and the overall structure of MSW course. Ms.Parvathy (S4 MSW) presented about their study tour to Mumbai, followed by Ms Jasmine (S2 MSW) who presented on the tribal camp to Munnar, Athirapally and Vazhachal. During the afternoon session, the scholars from Nazareth University introduced the concept of Art Therapy to the students of Amrita and shared their experience of applying Art Therapy at juvenile homes, old age homes, detention centers, nursing homes and among children with autism.

Ms. Grace, one of the scholars, discussed about  the  nature of clients  &   the  flexibility needed to address each of them  If  a  client  comes  to  her   she  supplies  the  client  with   materials of art and craft  & the  client  starts  to  respond  to  the particular  materials. And then  she  would be able to  evaluate  the  client. She  makes  interpretations, do  research  & work with them. Some of the directives of art therapy depicts that if  the  client  has  drawn  the  picture  by  using  dark  colors  then  he  is  anxious. Ms. Megan, who  is  working  in  a  nursing  home  as  a  part  of  her  internship also shared her experience with clients.

Ms. Amber who works with clients having autism mentioned about the helping nature of the service. If  a  client  draws  a  picture  which  lacks  color  & life  it is  a  clear  indicator  of  depression. If  a  client  draws  a blurred  picture  of  his/her  home , then  he/she  feels  insecurity at home. They  mainly  divide  the  clients  into  three  groups  according  to  their  age. That  is, 5-7- where it is most severe, 17-12 &14-16. It helps  to  build  their  social  skills. It is  a  long  term  process as the  matter  has  to  be   repeated. Ms. Katie, who is also working with clients having autism discussed the importance of teaching the clients   how to express their emotions. They use charts and smileys to teach how to communicate emotions & how to identify  emotions. It also helps to build their sensory skills.  One of her projects is named “Life on an  Island”.

On 9th of January 2013, the teamDSC03853 from Nazareth University & the Social work trainees of Amrita University visited the Amrita School of Sanskrit at Parippally. Both the teams together organized a session on art therapy by dividing the whole team into two. Every student participated in this programme. Then there was a cultural programme by the guests & the students of Amrita School of Sanskrit .The programme concluded with an interaction between the students of Amrita university and Dr. Stella(Head of Social Work department) of Nazareth University.

Documented by: Steffy (S2 MSW)

Photos: Joby & Jasmine (S2 MSW)

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