School
of Creative
Industries

Alex Christiaan Koen

Alex Christiaan Koen

MA Art Therapy
2018 — 2020

Alex Koen has worked within multicultural settings as a registered specialist wellness counsellor in private, hospital, community, group, school and individual settings since 2014. After completing his BA Psychology and BA(Hons) Counselling Psychology, he proceeded to complete a Certification in Counselling, Creative Counselling, Advanced Certification in Gestalt Play Therapy, in addition to sitting for his Board Certification as an autism technician. While practising privately, he found that through the use of creative expression, visual media and symbols, he not only connected to the world, but further found outlets and voices with clients and within his personal life.

Work

Symbols: A Young Therapeutic Encounter

Mixed media
64.5 x 4.1 x 8.9 cm
2020

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Thesis abstract

Art psychotherapy acculturation: an arts-based enquiry into a male South African candidate’s emerging professional therapist identity within Singapore

As a South African born male second-year postgraduate art psychotherapy candidate, I found myself interested in reviewing my clinical competencies and service delivery when considering my acculturation within Singapore. This, in turn, led me to address my research question: in what ways might acculturation impact culturally aware competencies of a male art psychotherapist candidate? Through a qualitative arts-based autoethnographic approach I unpack acculturation, culture and culturally aware clinical competencies, through a reflexive arts practice and thematic analysis based within the multicultural milieu of Singapore, in Southeast Asia. This yields a greater understanding of ethical and culturally aware competencies, relevant to my emerging art psychotherapist identity, and provides me with a greater understanding of the importance of nature, my art expression, clinical skills and identity development process, and the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Findings further suggest and shed light on recommendations such as the importance of a self-reflexive arts practice, the receptivity to art media and cultural exploration and continuous education requirements for culturally aware and ethical clinical practice. Furthermore, additional areas of research were identified, and a call to action was made for the inclusion of culturally diverse representation within acculturation research to art psychotherapy within the Eastern and African regions.

Work experience

2019 – 2020
Art therapist trainee within a community education centre
Provided individual, group and community art psychotherapy sessions for students. Specialising within childhood attachment difficulties in neurotypical development, ADHD, and medical trauma.

2019
Art therapist trainee within a community centre
Provided art therapy services and group sessions to the residence. With focus in adult art psychotherapy within the forensic and substance misuse populations.

2014 – present
Registered Specialist Wellness Counsellor in private practice
Providing wellness counselling, to clients within multicultural settings in private, hospital, community, group, and school settings. With special interest in autism, anxiety, low mood, substance misuse, couples and family systemic interventions.