150 x 80 cm
Mentalisation in museum-based group art therapy for youths living with mental health conditions
Museum-based group art therapy is an emerging topic for art therapists in community-based practices. This study examines museum-based group art therapy for youths living with mental health conditions through the psychotherapeutic lens of mentalisation in the context of attachment theory. Mentalisation is defined as the capacity to understand and recognise others in terms of inner mental states such as desires, needs, feelings, beliefs and goals (Allen, 2013; Fonagy & Bateman, 2004; Fonagy et al, 2017; Fonagy & Campbell, 2016). The capacity to mentalise supports functions in self-organisation and affect regulation which develops from early secure attachment relationships (Fonagy & Campbell, 2016). This qualitative case series study was based on three museum-based group art therapy workshops for youths living with mental health conditions in a community-based agency. Adopting an action-research and self-reflexive research framework, the following therapeutic factors were discussed in terms of how they support mentalising processes. First, the role of museum space as a transitional space; interaction with museum artwork/exhibits as a projection tool to explore one’s symbolic self, the therapeutic stance of an art therapist trainee and group processes were given closer analysis.
2019 – 2020
Singapore Association for Mental Health
Art therapist trainee
- Conducted individual, open group art experientials, and closed group art psychotherapy based on trauma-informed practices for youths at risk and/or living with mental health conditions at Singapore Association for Mental Health.
- Conducted three museum-based group art therapy workshops at the National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum.
Singapore Anglican Community Services
Art therapist trainee
- Conducted individual and group art therapy for adults living with mental health conditions
- Conducted museum-based group art therapy workshop for adults living with mental health conditions at the National Gallery Singapore.
2014 – 2018
Youth Corps Singapore
- Part of pioneer team to launch Youth Corps Singapore, a national initiative of National Youth Council to cultivate youth leadership and volunteerism for vulnerable communities in Singapore.
- Led a team to manage community partners, community projects and design youth leadership programmes for service learning and cultivating empathy and personal mastery.
2012 – 2014
Singapore International Foundation
- Managed healthcare and education projects in Cambodia and Thailand with specialist volunteers (physiotherapists, surgeons and nurses) from Singapore hospitals and schools to provide train-the-trainer's programmes with overseas tertiary institutions and hospitals.
- Managed volunteers from private and public sectors to provide more than 800 bio-sand filters for clean drinking water in Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap).
- Managed youth leadership programmes with overseas foundations to provide design-thinking community project solutions.