Food dye on watercolour and origami paper
200 x 95 cm
Mekar is a metaphorical representation of the interconnectedness of the artist’s social relationships and shared experiences. Mekar bloomed from handwritten letters addressed to the artist from her family, friends, cohort, teaching team, co-workers, clients and strangers who have accompanied her through her MA Art Therapy training journey. Each letter has been folded into beautiful dahlia origami flowers that are a symbolic reminder that this life runs in a cycle of birthing, blooming and wilting. Just like any flower, each of us as individuals needs nurturance and courage to face the joys and struggles of life. Mekar invites the audience to claim an unattached dahlia flower and hopes to affirm the precious presence of the hand it touches.
“I see you”: A qualitative inquiry into the effects of mirroring in an individual art therapy on the therapeutic relationship between young people with autism spectrum disorder and the art therapist
Autism spectrum disorder is characterised by impairments and deficits in social interaction, language difficulties and engagement in repetitive and restricted behaviours based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition. This thesis analyses how mirroring in an individual art therapy session affects the therapeutic relationship between young people with autism spectrum disorder and the art therapist, as researchers have found that the relationship between the therapist and the client predicts the change in clients' behaviour. Two case vignettes were reviewed to highlight the improvement in both the client’s verbal and non-verbal social skills after the implementation of mirroring repetitive tendencies, language and joint art-making within the art therapy intervention. The reviewed clients were revealed to communicate verbally in longer sentences, hold longer eye contact and were more receptive to attempting new challenges with the art therapist. Both art therapist and client were observed to be better attuned with one another within the therapeutic space. The mirroring technique can therefore be incorporated into new practices and interventions in order to offer substantial therapeutic benefits to young people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. However, considering the wide spectrum of autism spectrum disorder, mirroring can give the opposite effect if their repetitive tendencies are more dysregulating.
Thye Hua Kwan (THK) Centre for Family Harmony @ Commonwealth
Art therapist trainee
Conducted individual therapy and open studio sessions for children and adults who are navigating the transition of family separation.
Aug 2021–May 2022
Rainbow Centre, OOSH Margaret Drive (Student Care Centre)
Art therapist trainee
Conducted individual and group art therapy sessions for children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.