In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the importance of mental health in Singapore. According to the Ipsos 2023 World Mental Health Day Report, nearly half (46%) of Singaporeans deem mental health as the foremost health concern in our nation today.  

Many do not know how to care for their personal mental health, and the symptoms of mental health issues can be difficult to bear yet are not always visible. It is also difficult for others to understand one’s experience of stress, anxiety or depression.  

Thus, it is important to consider how to enhance one’s personal mental well-being. With this in mind, KLCII recently held an experiential workshop on Art Therapy for a group of some 30 participants. Expression through art is one approach that can help people to destress, release their feelings and change their perspectives about themselves.  

Examples of artwork created previously by participants in Assistant Professor Chu’s art therapy sessions.

The workshop was conducted by Assistant Professor Chu Hui-Chuang (Ph. D) from KLCII’s educational partner, National Tsing Hua University. She is attached to the university’s Department of Education Psychology and Counselling, and she specialises in art therapy, youths, education (for school counsellors), family & marriage, employee welfare and workplace health.

Assistant Professor Chu Hui-Chuang from National Tsing Hua University, introducing the concept of Art Therapy.

The hands-on session on 4 April 2024 was designed to let participants engage in drawing activities, to reveal and understand their current state of mind and emotions.  

Participants were asked to use crayons to draw freehand without lifting their hand from the paper for about 30 seconds. They were told to use their dominant hand first, and then their non-dominant hand. They even tried doing it with their eyes closed. Following this, Professor Chu guided participants through other special techniques to self-interpret their artwork and unravel what their drawing represents about their innermost feelings. 

Participants drawing their artwork

Prof Chu asked the group humorously if they believe that she can understand up to 20-30% percent of an individual’s inner state just by looking at the person’s artwork, surprising the group with how effective this form of therapy can be. Furthermore, drawing is not the only approach; in other art therapy workshops, participants are also able to use cut-and-paste and other mediums for their creative expression. 

Most participants were trying out these methods for the first time, and they were able to connect with others heartily when discussing their self-discovery findings. They were quite intrigued by the process, finding it “very insightful”, and a “meaningful school activity”. More importantly, the participants became more relaxed and were able to confidently share their feelings. Some participants even shared alternative interpretations of their group mates’ artwork, to help their new friends dig deeper in understanding their emotions. 

Some examples of participants’ artwork

All in all, participants unanimously wished they could have a longer session, so that they could have more time to explore other therapeutic benefits of the process.  They expressed their hope that KLCII will continue to provide similar workshops in the future. 

Our Master’s in Psychology and Counselling course is accepting a new intake until the end of May 2024, for more details please visit Alternatively, you can also make an appointment to speak with one of our friendly course consultants by sending us a message via WhatsApp at +65 94763472.