Counseling/Student Development Center introduces art therapy group


Tatiana Tell

Marywood’s Counseling/Student Development Center (CSDC) and Tiffany Boyer, an art therapy graduate student, worked together to form an art therapy group that is open to any student on campus.

Barbara Decker, CSDC associate director, said art therapy could be a creative alternative to traditional talk therapy.

“It’s both the process of doing the artwork, but also being able to connect that to yourself and being able to talk about the problems that you have in a supportive environment,” she said.

Boyer explained that the CSDC asked if she was willing to run a group as a part of completing the last 400 hours for her required internship. After agreeing, she shared that she was surprised and excited about the positive response.

“It happened really fast. It was right after spring break when I made a flyer,” she said. “It got sent out to campus and we got a response from a bunch of people right away.”

Boyer said her plan was to have the group create a piece of artwork each week that relates to a specific theme. During their first meeting, the main focus was resiliency.

“I gave them all wooden circles and had them paint a symbol of resiliency, like a flower blooming out of concrete,” she explained. “Then they discussed the importance of being resilient and being able to go through something horrible, but come out stronger in the end.”

Boyer explained that many people feel like art therapy isn’t for them and commonly use the excuse that they “can’t even draw a stick figure.” However, she strongly encourages students to come, regardless of their experience in art.

“There’s no pressure to share your innermost secrets. It’s not anything intimidating,” she said. “You get so caught up in the art that you don’t even realize that you’re going through a therapeutic process, and that’s the beauty of it.”

The group will meet every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the McGowan Center for Graduate and Professional Studies. Anyone interested can email the Counseling/Student Development Center at [email protected].

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