School of Creative

Michelle Baraba

Michelle Baraba

MA Art Therapy
Class of 2021

Michelle Baraba intuitively selects materials according to her emotional state, and frequently incorporates various sensorial and textural elements such as found natural objects, textiles and yarn. Embracing her feminine energy, the dynamic colour combinations and themes in her artworks are strongly influenced by Asian culture, mysticism and elements of the natural world. Prior to her MA Art Therapy studies, Michelle recognised the healing potential of the arts by independently facilitating an art program at a local seniors activity centre. Art psychotherapy allowed Michelle to integrate her Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Psychology with her passion and fondness for artistic expression. As part of her art therapy training, Michelle had the privilege of continuing her work with seniors by conducting individual and group art psychotherapy sessions at a local senior care centre. She also facilitated stress management workshops for the centre’s caregiving staff.


Samoupoznavanje: Self-Knowing

Yarn, wooden sticks, shells
100 x 100 cm

C. G. Jung understood the mandala as an archetypal image symbolising the wholeness of the self. Samoupoznavanje: Self-Knowing materialised as an artistic meditation to engage self-exploration, introspection and self-awareness through a mindfulness practice. The meditative and repetitive mandala weaving process endorsed a connection with the authentic self through exploration of identity, existentialism and various intrapersonal entanglements. As a tribute to her Croatian heritage and the humble fisherman’s village of Njivice where Michelle originated from, the natural materials of yarn, wooden sticks and shells were incorporated in her creative process.

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Thesis abstract

Expressions of sexuality in art therapy: a single case study of an older Chinese Singaporean male

This thesis contributes a qualitative practitioner-based single case inquiry into sexuality in Singapore, serving as an examination of sexual expressions of older adults within the context of psychodynamic art psychotherapy in a local seniors care centre. Expressions of sexuality were explored through a culturally-informed art therapy practice with an analysis of artworks, subtle nuances and clinical impressions within the therapeutic encounter, including but not limited to behaviour, personal presentation, verbal expressions, transference and countertransference, and the ongoing therapeutic relationship. As an art therapist in training with an inclination towards psychodynamic theory, I obtained awareness of the complex and oftentimes unspoken, unacknowledged, and perhaps unconscious sexual dynamics being manifested and expressed within the therapeutic encounter. Having an understanding of clients’ expressions of sexuality not only leads to a more informed practice, but also allows the art therapist to navigate the complexities of the therapeutic relationship in a productive and meaningful manner.

Clinical internship

Community centre for adults
Art therapist trainee
- Facilitated individual and group art therapy sessions for adults with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues.

Senior care centre for older adults
Art therapist trainee
- Facilitated individual and group art therapy sessions for older adults with dementia and other ageing-related conditions.