Art Therapy Talk by Laurence Vandenborre of The Red Pencil (2014)

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We all have seen it in the movies and we’ve read about how art can be used as an effective tool for mental health treatment.  And as an expressive medium, art is a way of communicating one’s feelings and thoughts; on some levels, it can reduce stress; and increase self-awareness and self-esteem.

All along I was of the impression that you got to have some talent in drawing in order to achieve all this or you need at least 10,000 hours of practice to be proficient in art, but this talk about Art Therapy proved me wrong totally.  Anybody can draw!  Of course, those with very good visual memory and those who are born with natural talent have an edge in producing great artwork but let’s not go there haha!

I could barely appreciate art not because am not into art – I just do not know how to!  Although I have always been smitten by this 1908 painting by Gustav Klimt – The Kiss.


Photo grabbed from Klimt site

If you ask me why I adore this art piece, I have no reason to give except that if I can buy the real thing and have it next to my study, that would have to be my favourite part of the house.  Now you know what am talking about haha!

Digressing a little, sorry about that!  So we were invited by CHARIS to attend this talk about Art Therapy last August 21st.  Pres+Ivy both were rushing from work so the talk has started when we arrived.  We were intrigued how art and disaster can be linked together.

Laurence Vandenborre was the speaker for the night.  She’s the founder of The Red Pencil Humanitarian Mission and their mission is to bring the wonderful benefits of Art Therapy to all as a pathway towards emotional and mental well-being.

Art Therapy Speaker
Photo of Laurence grabbed from Straits Times site

Survivors of natural disasters as well as those who are caught in conflict and war zones face life circumstances which could be overwhelming for them, often times, they have no words to express their feelings and thoughts. With the use of drawings and paintings, Art Therapy is able to provide a natural channel for emotions and images to be expressed and released towards healing.

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Laurence was with a group who went to a few places in the Philippines hit by typhoon Yolanda and did some Art Therapy sessions with the children there.  Thank you, Laurence for this!

Yolanda 1
Photo grabbed from Rappler site

Foot Drawing Yolanda
Another group did a session with mothers – drawing by their feet!  Photo grabbed from Rappler site

Art Therapy also works very well for hospital patients to help them with their recovery.  I came across one article that in KK Hospital, they conduct Art Therapy for kids!

Photo grabbed from SingHealth site

During the talk, we had this exercise to get our hands on paper and some crayons; Laurence would say a word and we were to doodle something in a minute.  I was soooooo worried, I’d come up with my usual stick figures hahaha!  Thankfully, that creative part of my brains was functioning that night!

The word is CONTROL.  This was what Pres came up with:

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Soccer junkie’s interpretation of CONTROL

Now here’s my art work – one word: kindergarten hahaha!

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And I wondered why my work didn’t get picked during class hahaha!  Pres’ art work however got mounted on the board yey!

The talk was attended by doctors, school teachers, mission workers and a few like Pres+Ivy who’re just interested to know more about Art Therapy.  It’s a refreshing topic.  We came up to Laurence to thank her for the talk and for doing that Art Therapy session in the Philippines earlier this year.

Red Pencil 1
Photo grabbed from Red Pencil site

Before we left the Catholic Centre, we clicked a photo with Pope Francis.

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We adore Pope Francis!


A child can talk about a metaphor in the image rather than speaking about deep pain.” – Heidi Bardot




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