School of Creative

Catherine Ling Kai Wen

Catherine Ling Kai Wen

MA Art Therapy
Class of 2022

Catherine embarked on a journey of self-exploration which led to her pursuing the MA Art Therapy programme at LASALLE College of the Arts. Catherine is particularly drawn to the temporal beauty of nature and has a curious penchant for pareidolia in everyday objects. She reclaims her capacity for joy and gratitude by seeking goodness and beauty in her surroundings. Her own personal experience with the creative arts leads to her belief that expression, rather than suppression, is the key to achieving a state of physical, mental and emotional homeostasis.

As part of her training in the MA Art Therapy programme, she had the privilege to work with children in a kindergarten and older adults in rehabilitation, who are diagnosed with dementia or receiving palliative care within a community hospital.

Her educational background includes a Graduate Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy, Specialist Diploma in Counselling Psychology, Diploma in Multimedia, and Bachelor in Business Administration.


Quill by Quill
66 x 40 x 0.5 cm

Quill by Quill was borne out of Catherine’s belief that a single action consistently repeated can make a dynamic impact. By using paper as her only medium, she transforms a substrate into a subject, allowing it to become the focus of this artwork. Through a process of physical material manipulation, each individual quill, which may appear insignificant by itself, metamorphoses into a part of a larger narrative with other quills. The finished artwork, which integrates her love for repetition and concentric patterns, seeks to render impressions of the ephemeral rhythms of life and is inspired by the metaphor of sowing seeds, budding seedlings and blooming flowers in her own art therapy practice.

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Thesis abstract

Attunement & response art: A qualitative inquiry while working with older adults in palliative care within a community hospital

This thesis presents the art therapist trainee’s engagement in response art when working with older adults in palliative care within a community hospital setting in Singapore. It outlines the historical background, current literature, as well as theories on attunement; art-making as a response to patients and the proposed concept of response art in relation to attunement. Throughout the author's placement, response art was consistently created pre-, during, and post-session. Multiple-case vignettes were used to illustrate how the author processed her internal experiences, using response art to explore ways to build empathy and cultivate sensitivity. It was found that through the author's art-making, awareness of her responses was heightened, allowing her to experience mentalisation through empathic mirroring and joint attention. Findings suggest that the author's practice contributed to the development of qualities of attentiveness, awareness and compassion, which facilitated attunement and understanding. The alignment of her state with the state of her patients helped create a synchronised awareness of implicit knowing, which enabled her to have an embodied experience that was close to their world. The found evidence suggests that the establishment of attunement elicits a reciprocal experience of safety, initiating relational change and strengthening therapeutic alliance. This paper concludes with some limitations of the research as well as recommendations for future practice.

Clinical internship

Jan–May 2021
P&J Montessori Kindergarten
Art therapist trainee
Developed art therapy interventions and conducted group and individual sessions for children aged five to six.

Aug 2021–May 2022
St Luke's Community Hospital
Art therapist trainee
Provided individual and group art therapy for patients in the general, dementia and palliative care wards.