MINT Theater Arts students with Ms. Inna Marie Abronega, art therapy trainee from the University of Hong Kong. (Photos taken by RM Cristobal)

 

Nowadays, adults and young people alike turn towards creative pursuits such as drawing, crafting, writing, singing or dancing to relieve stress. These allow them a temporary respite from negativity and high emotions that come with everyday life.

To kick off 2019, MINT Theater Arts (TA) program head Dennis Marasigan, opened a free workshop on “Expressive Arts Therapy”, led by arts therapy trainee, Inna Marie Abronega, for MINT students.

A Psychology graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, Abronega spent her time in college volunteering in a clinic for children with special needs. She was also active in theater as an actress and a stage manager.

“I really didn’t know what to do after I graduated from college. However, being a part of a theater guild, I was inclined to do art and I always incorporate it whenever I do therapy sessions for the children in the clinic I volunteer in,” she shared.

She saw an opportunity at the University of Hong Kong that offers a masters degree in expressive arts therapy. For her, this program allowed her to pursue a practice where she can do art, and become a therapist at the same time.

Expressive Arts, she explained, is a discipline in therapeutic science wherein “visual art, drama, dance, music, and creative writing” were integrated in a series of activities that immerses participants in art-related activities to help improve their well-being and their personal growth.

The workshop was more than an acting class. MINT students engaged in tension-releasing exercises like enactments, pantomime, skits, drawing, and writing.

“I was really excited to get to know the students—their stories—and to engage them in a creative outlet for personal growth and healing,” she said.

For Abronega, the activity was all about “nonverbal expressions.” She added that, “there are so many things, so many emotions, that people find hard to express. But with art, it’s all about release. You don’t even have to say anything, it just comes out.”

Though this workshop, MINT students got to experience a one-of-a-kind ‘downtime’ to meditate on their efforts last semester in a series of art activities and discover themselves as they start a new one. W

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