of Creative

Ong Siew Kwan, Kimo

Ong Siew Kwan (Kimo)

MA Art Therapy
2018 — 2020

Graduating with a BA in Psychology, Kimo Ong worked in a nursing home for persons with dementia as a programme executive before entering the MA Art Therapy Programme. As part of the training, she worked with children in after school care and individuals in hospice care where she conducted group and individual art therapy sessions. Her belief in using art as a language for communication enabled her to empathetically journey with individuals to convey emotions and thoughts through creative expressions that are otherwise difficult to express. Kimo’s personal art practice includes playing with different mediums in abstract forms, each encounter providing new insights for her to reflect upon.



Soot on canvas
48” x 36”

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Thesis abstract

Negotiating emotions: A Chinese-Singaporean art therapist’s experience working in hospice care

Various emotions are bound to arise during the therapeutic encounter, both for the client as well as the art therapist. It is therefore important to look into different ways which art therapists negotiate their emotions. The researcher looked into the history of how Chinese and Chinese-Singaporeans express emotions, particularly in relation to death and dying. A qualitative research methodology via heuristic inquiry was conducted to explore the research question – In what ways might Chinese-Singaporean art therapists negotiate their own emotional responses while working with individuals residing in hospice care? Three categories emerged – the negotiation of emotions while working with patients diagnosed with terminal illness; working with their family members, as well as when clients passed away. The use of response art, and group and individual clinical supervisions were aspects of heuristic inquiry adopted by the researcher to further explore and process these emotions. The thesis concludes with a note to acknowledge that working with individuals who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses can mean confronting our own mortality, and how as art therapists, the use of creative expressions to negotiate emotional expressions could be an effective way to process these complex feelings that arise after each therapeutic encounter with our clients.

Work experience

2020 – Present
HCA Hospice Care
Provide art therapist sessions for patients nearing their end of life, and family members who need anticipatory grief/bereavement support.

2019 – 2020
Art therapist trainee at a hospice in Singapore
Provided individual and group art therapy sessions for individuals who were nearing their end of life; assisted in compiling and formulating group art therapy directives for individuals who are admitted to the hospice's day-care service.

Campus Impact
Art therapist trainee
Provided art therapy sessions for children aged 7–12. Planned and facilitated group art therapy directives with the overall goal to enhance emotional resilience in children.

2016 – 2018
Apex Harmony Lodge
Therapeutic programme executive
Planned and executed therapeutic activities for persons living with dementia. Conducted relevant assessments to aid in improving the overall quality of life for these individuals.