Art Against Abuse: Engaging Youth to End the Cycle of Violence Workshop

Updated: Feb 4

Jane Addams College of Social Work Chicago, IL February 3, 2012



In honor of Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, Art Against Abuse was an opportunity for social workers, counselors, and educators interested in developing tools to use various art forms (poetry, puppetry, dance, and visual arts) to engage youth who have experienced violence. This training included workshops facilitated by representatives from community organizations, such as Between Friends, A Long Walk Home, Puppeteers without Borders, and Project NIA. The event took place at the Jane Addams College of Social Work (1040 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607) between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm on February 3, 2012.

PUPPETEERS WITHOUT BORDERS - WORKSHOP Dina Kaplan and Whitney Sullivan were the facilitators representing Puppets Without Borders. The workshop aims were to educate attendees who were interested in incorporating art in their work with youth in a playful way. Exploring the liminal space between education and entertainment using tabletop puppetry, this workshop invited participants to begin "within" conflict situations in "dramatic reality" in order to address a conflict physically and emotionally, but through play. The Puppeteers Without Borders team introduced tabletop puppetry as expressive and fun, a lively way to explore stories in a safe space and a simple and direct method. After theater games, warmups and exploration of our theme, we built puppets based on the characters who emerge from fairy tale stories. Small groups presented scenes on a table top. This form encouraged communication and collaboration while containing and controlling the drama and conflicts in scale and intensity.

Therapeutic Puppetry combines verbal and nonverbal modes of expression through the intrinsic artistic and dramatic element of puppetry. Therapeutic puppetry is most often thought of as being used with children but it can be adapted to a variety of people of all ages to meet various treatment goals. Therapeutic puppetry techniques can be applied with individuals, couples, groups and families. In the medical setting in the hands of trained nurses, social workers, and counselors, puppets can serve as therapists in pre– and post-operative situations. In various forms of psychotherapy (art therapy, drama therapy) puppets are used to express feelings and thoughts which might otherwise remain hidden or repressed.

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