Spring 2018 Events

March 3, 2018

A couple of events I am looking forward to next month– It would be great to see you if you are interested and can make it!

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

There are a couple of events taking place this spring inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media:

On the campus of Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania on Monday, April 16 I will be presenting a free community lecture sponsored by the school’s undergraduate art therapy program. The evening event (6-7:30 pm) also includes 1.5 free continuing education credits (CEU sign in and registration 5:15-6 pm) available for ATR-BCs, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

Social Media: Connection, Community, and Creativity will explore how social media can enhance and strengthen professional engagement, collegial relationships, and creative practice. Discover how, as mental health professionals we can take a meaningful look at some of the challenges and benefits that social media can have on the clients we serve, the therapeutic relationship, and how to best navigate social media with purpose and responsibility in our own use. The significance…

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Ecopsychology, Self Care, and Creative Practice

February 25, 2018

Last week was the opening of Tending the Flames: Burnout and Resilience in Helping Professions exhibit, sponsored by Tri-C Gallery East, Tri-C’s Creative Arts and Art Therapy Program, Ursuline College’s Counseling and Art Therapy Department, and the Buckeye Art Therapy Association. The theme of this year’s exhibit is dedicated to how caregivers and helpers use art and the creative process to manage the stress and experiences related to this role, as well as nurture and strengthen resilience.

Part of the exhibit’s opening included a community lecture by local environmental philosopher and Lake Erie Institute Director Dr. Elizabeth Meacham, who spoke to attendees about the role of nature and ecopsychology in helping restore wellbeing, health, and recover from challenging circumstances or pressures associated with taking care of others. Dr. Meacham provided simple strategies to invite a daily nature practice in our lives and work, such as but not limited to:

  • Remembering to take outdoor breaks – go for a walk, visit your favorite nature spot;
  • Find a favorite tree in your environment that you can visit daily and feel, interact with;
  • If you are unable to get outside, have nature objects such as rocks and leaves indoors- pause and take in their sensory based qualities through touch and smell;
  • Tune into and engage your senses through imagery, breath, sound, and smell

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Meacham’s teachings, check out these resources:

If you are interested in learn more about the role of ecopsychology in art therapy and burnout, check out this True Calling podcast, Art Therapy, Ecopsychology, & Curing Chronic Burnout with Registered Art Therapist Lanie Smith or her post, Nature as a Portal to Self: How Eco Art Therapy Can Help You Reconnect and Heal.


For this exhibit, my supervision group created a mandala inspired by this year’s theme, working on what we titled a “Self Care Compass”.  Our image included a contribution from each of us about what helps guide our work and self care as art therapists.  Themes of interacting with nature, practicing mindfulness, flexibility, and grounding ourselves in hope and growth were explored in our collective dialogue and expressed in the art we created together.  Self care is an important, ongoing discussion in supervision, whether it is activating ways to take better care of ourselves, balance our daily lives and relationships with our work responsibilities and commitments, stay present and connected, or cultivate compassion satisfaction instead of compassion fatigue.

Self care compass- oil pastels, paint sticks, markers on craft paper | Leah, Skyla, Jessi, Lacey, Gretchen, 2018

My 2013 art journal about self care as an art therapist and trauma practitioner was also on display at the exhibit, focusing on themes related to gratitude, affirmation, strengths, and mindfulness in connection to facilitating trauma informed care. It was so inspiring to see all the works of art and creative expressions that filled the gallery in the spirit of the exhibit’s focus.

Self care through creative practice project | gretchen miller, 2013

If you are in the area and interested in checking out the exhibit, it is on display until March 22 and located on the Eastern Campus of Tri-C in Highland Hills, Ohio. Gallery East is in room 135 of the Education Center and open daily. Call 1-216-987-2475 for more information.

Related Links

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Creative Action Link Round Up: Self-Care, Responsibility, Community

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

Trauma Informed Perspectives on Human Trafficking Awareness

February 3, 2018

Last month I attended the annual NEO National Human Trafficking Day Conference hosted by The Renee Jones Empowerment Center. This yearly offering always is a valuable offering for mental health professionals, educators, advocates, law enforcement, and healthcare workers to gain important information and community resources about the realities of human trafficking in NE Ohio, prevention, programs, and services.

This year’s conference focused on many trauma informed topics and here are a few of the resources I took away from parts of the day:

  • Law Clinic– Case Western Reserve University law student Mercedes Gurney presented about the topic of her research, re-victimization of survivors and how criminalization of prostitution fails victims. Victims are coerced by perpetrators into prostitution and other illegal acts that they are often arrested for and charged with.  You can learn more about the criminalization of human trafficking and issues victims face from this article and the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project. When recovering survivors attempt to re-enter back into the community and start a new life, this legal trail of offensives and history of convictions can significantly and negatively impact employment, housing, and other aspects of recovery. This article, What Happens When a Human Trafficking Victim is “Rescued” also speaks to how re-traumatization can take place after someone leaves their trafficker and the lack of trauma informed care available to meet their needs. Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law allows victims of human trafficking to receive help for their criminal past and obtain legal services that would expunge and remove any previous convictions. This process creates a clean slate for survivors without their past impacting their ability to get a job, schooling, housing, or have a negative influence on future goals and opportunities. A portion of Mercedes’ presentation however, introduced the realities of expungement in the digital age and how physical criminal records can be erased and sealed, but there is no affirmative legal duty to update electronic information that becomes available through the Internet on websites, databases, digital newspapers, social media, media forums, or search engines. This means that someone’s expunged past criminal history (or even arrests where charges were dropped or unsubstantiated reports) can continue to live online for anyone who does a Google search for the individual’s name, such as an employer, landlord, etc.  As we know, removing or regulating content published on the Internet is very difficult.

To learn more about digital expungement and rehabilitation, watch this video below:

Resources available in Ohio to help survivors with expungement and legal services:


  • Trauma Informed Care– A presentation by SANE Nurse and Coordinator Kathleen Hackett from University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children offered attendees an overview of trauma informed care and what this means in regards to treatment. She highlighted the importance of viewing trauma as an experience (what happened to you? vs what is wrong with you?) that has an impact on the survivor’s entire well-being and how we can be trauma informed in our work through realizing, responding, recognizing, and resisting:

Realize: Awareness to trauma reactions as normal reactions to abnormal situations and the effects of these responses emotionally, physically, cognitively, and behaviorally.

Respond: Implementing a survivor approach that respects not only trauma as an experience, but that this experience is unique to each person, including any cultural, historical, or gender related ways of coping.  Trauma informed responding also is aware the immense importance of safety, safety planning, and establishing safety as a core foundation to treatment. Trauma informed care also includes validating and empowering survivors towards recovery and healing.

Recognize: Trauma informed work understands and sees the signs and symptoms of trauma. In relationship to human trafficking, this also includes the external and internal factors that put individuals at risk and vulnerable to trafficking.

Resist: Trauma informed care resists systems, approaches, services, and practices that put survivors at risk for re-traumatization.


Released with permission


The entire conference was a full day of knowledge…I continue to learn more about the complexities of human trafficking, services and programs available, and effective, trauma informed ways victims and survivors can receive help, hope, and healing.  The next program offering I am looking forward to attending is the 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Youth Prevention Summit on March 23 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. State Representative Teresa Fedor (District 45-Toledo) is again bringing students together from around Ohio to be a part of discussions about self-esteem and health, social media, legislation and highlight the role of students and young people in the fight to end all forms of trafficking. I will be helping offer an art experience for youth attendees to use creative expression as a form of advocacy and awareness against trafficking.  Looking forward to another day of learning and awareness….

Related Posts:

Human Trafficking in Art: Expressions of Truth, Courage, Resilience, & Recovery

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

2017 Ohio Youth Summit: A Day of Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy

The Joy of Bob Ross

January 14, 2018

Last week the classic PBS TV show The Joy of Painting with host and artist Bob Ross celebrated its 35th Anniversary!  The appeal and love of Bob Ross is stronger than ever for old fans and new, with opportunities to binge watch past episodes on Netflix, attend Bob Ross Paint-Along events, and new Bob Ross inspired products and artisan wears to get your daily dose of positivity and determination.

The joys of Bob Ross are many for me:  his calming voice, his words of encouragement and validation as he not only empowers the viewer with how to paint, but with language and experiences inspired by his creative process about life, making mistakes, choices, and enjoying the moment. Bob’s soothing tone, love of nature, and storytelling creates a safe and comforting space of acceptance.  As an art therapist, I find myself sometimes channeling the spirit and referencing the words of Bob Ross with my clients, as an example of how to reframe mistakes, create our world, and be kind to ourselves and others.  Read some of Bob Ross’ inspiring quotes here or watch this fun PBS remix capturing some of his iconic phrases and life lessons while painting on his show.

And…. how perfect it was to be gifted the 2018 Bob Ross calendar over the holidays to be reminded throughout the year of his wisdom and share it with others!  🙂  An inspiring way to launch 2018!

Enjoy more Bob Ross with these related links:

The Life and Story of Bob Ross

Random Joy of Painting with Bob Ross

A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross

The Soothing Sounds of Bob Ross

Watch Bob Ross for an Uplifting and Therapeutic Experience

“I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting. Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows to your soul.” ~Bob Ross

Artist Dates, Creative Field Trips, and Artful Adventures: 18 Ideas for 2018

January 8, 2018

Last week I was scrolling my social media feed and stumbled upon a daily dose of creative goodness from Sharon Burton.  I always look forward to seeing Sharon’s posts pop up- they are full of inspiring ideas, people, quotes, and images to nurture our creative spirit.  Sharon recently founded Spark Your Creative to help others discover and strengthen their creative gifts.  Sharon posted an encouraging invitation to think about scheduling Artist Dates for the new year, something she already practices and shares weekly. I thought to myself, “I want to do this!” and make a 2018 commitment to taking creative field trips and going on artful adventures- on my own and with others on and offline. I started to brainstorm some ideas….. with regular creative activities and practices I want to do more of, as well as new possibilities and experiences that I would like to do/try/enjoy over the next 12 months:

1. Art exhibits: In 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away at The Broad when I was visiting Los Angeles.  This summer, six of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms are coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art. This is definitely a must do local creative field trip in 2018! Is there an exhibit or artist you want to see this year?

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room @ The Broad, Los Angeles (2017)

2. Visit studio spaces.

3. Saturday Art Nights- with one of nights dedicated to playing with alcohol inks and watercolor on Yupo paper.

4. Take an art class.

5. Have an art movie night.

6. Organize my creative space and art materials, supplies- I realllly need to do this.

7. Blog more- One of my social media goals for this year is to begin regularly blogging more again! I’m trying out this editorial blogging journal to help support content, planning, and scheduling.

8. Replenish my magazine photo collage stash- I always find the process relaxing and inspiring! Made some progress on taking time to do this already! Doing another paper stash swap this year would also be fun!

9. Take a visit to Michael’s with my new giftcard. I would like to venture out for a visit to Blick this year too!

10. Take $5 to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store.  See how far you can stretch it. (#81 of Julia Cameron’s 101 Artist Date Ideas)

11. Bob Ross Art of Chill Board Game Playing- We recently played this during a Saturday art night and once we got all the rules and concept figured out, it was a fun time….


12. Follow, connect to, and be inspired by more art, artists, creatives, and art communities/organizations on social media.

13. Learn a new art technique or media.

14. Discover new artist blogs and revisit my favorites.

15. Organize a local art therapist meet up to hang out, make some art, and have fun together!

16. Create a new creative offering online.

17. Remain socially engaged in arts and art therapy advocacy through reaching out to, visiting with, and building relationships with legislators, policy makers, and stakeholders.

18. Invite spontaneous opportunities for creative connection and mindful moments of creativity!

What kind of artist dates, creative field trips, and artful adventures do you want to take in 2018?


An Art Therapist’s New Year Checklist for Social Media

January 5, 2018

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

This time of year can motivate us to make changes, embark on new things, and set goals we want to accomplish both personally and professionally. It is also a good time to try and start new practices and routines that will be of benefit to our wellbeing, relationships, work, and daily life in the year ahead.  This post inspired by topics in The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media, offers some to-do’s that art therapists to-be and art therapists can revisit, learn more about, or begin implementing related to professional social media use and online activity for the year ahead.

An Art Therapist’s New Year Checklist for Social Media:

☐ Take time to check your privacy settings on your social media profiles and sites. Remember to maintain awareness and management throughout the year;

☐ Find out about and review any social media policies or considerations that have been instituted at your university, workplace…

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A Happy New Year Gift: Empowering Your Creative Values & Strengths

December 30, 2017

To celebrate the New Year, I am re-sharing one of my free and favorite e-workshops from a couple of years ago!


Creative Covenants

How would you define your creative covenants?  Your creative covenants are values that you believe are core to the way you create, practice, and live as a creative and artful being.  When you know your own creative values, you can activate them to empower your creative life.  In this e-workshop, you are invited to create an inspiring book made from a series of permission tags that honor these promises to our creative self and practice.  Content in this workshop will also be nurtured through a series of prompts exploring what celebrates, challenges, and empowers the creative goodness in each of us!What are your Creative Covenants? | creativity in motion

What are your Creative Covenants? | creativity in motion

This free workshop download includes a PDF & video offering and is available here:

Add to Cart


An oldie, but goodie New Year’s creative practice I’ve enjoyed for almost 10 years now:

Ready for Revo’lution Art Journaling


Check out these freebie downloads below from archived Creativity in Motion posts that are still available here:

Creative Goodness with Gluebooks eBook

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention

Paper House Making with Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence

Best wishes for a great 2018!


2017 Creative Inspiration in Art Therapy, Advocacy, and the Arts

December 26, 2017

In this post I want to offer some of the silver linings I’ve tweeted or retweeted this year, with attention to the arts, creativity, advocacy, and art therapy.  There have been several positive moments, messages, and accomplishments that I have found hopeful and encouraging… some light among the events and challenges 2017 has seen.

  • The American Art Therapy Association recently published this 2017 review of art therapy achievements in public awareness, advocacy, organizational statements, campaigns, and professional development seen this year on state and federal levels and within the Association;
  • This early 2017 article Creative Collaboration is What Humans Do Best speaks to the power of creativity and imagination to help us proactively and collectively work together on the challenges we experience. This piece encourages us to use our interconnectedness for constructively solving problems and activate successful solutions.  These empowering words were a great read and reminder to help counteract experiences of division and sense of powerlessness or helplessness we may face;
  • This summer I blogged about the US Department of Arts and Culture’s Guide to Artistic Response to Natural Disasters and Social Emergencies as a creative action resource. Also worth bringing attention to are other opportunities on the USDAC site available for art citizens who want to make a social impact with their creative expression.  The next event happening is the People’s State of the Union, an annual civic ritual and participatory art project if you are interested in getting involved!
  • Throughout this year, the Americans for the Arts has blogged on many current topics impacting the arts, artists, and communities, as well as ways for arts advocates to get involved in, support, and how to reach out policy makers and legislators about matters involving social change, leadership, community engagement, arts business, and more. A really valuable presentation I attended at the 2017 American Art Therapy Association conference in November was a legislative advocacy and lobbying information session led by Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts Jay Dick. This session presented positive ways art therapists can leverage legislator relationships to meet licensure and advocacy goals;

  • Also in November the Americans for the Arts reported that $150 million has been proposed for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities funding in 2018.  This news was a huge win for arts advocacy efforts, as it was recommended by the current administration that funding for these vital government programs be completely eliminated. These monies will also continue to fund NEA’s Creative Forces, a military healing arts network, which includes art therapy services for veterans and service members;
  • Art Therapist Lani Gerity’s 2017 blog posts (#157-#171) Out of A Thousand Ways to Have a Happy Artist’s Life series has also highlighted much needed reminders about how the arts, creativity, and imagination can be used to help us be more resilient, kinder, and peaceful when facing dark and unsettling times.


I wish you a 2018 full of artful abundance and creative spirit…. Happy New Year to you and yours!

2018 Online Book Discussion Group

December 10, 2017

Re-publishing this announcement from The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media blog:

Coming in 2018: An online Facebook book discussion group for readers ofThe Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media!  An opportunity for art therapists, art therapy students, and other interested readers to dialogue weekly about each chapter of the book.  A great way to spend the cold, winter months at the warm keyboard of your tablet, mobile device, or desktop!  So get your copy ready to join the group (any or all!) beginning January through March 2018 every Sunday 5:00-6:30 pm EST. Tell your colleagues, classmates, students, and friends (off and online!).  Sign up here through the site’s contact form if you are interested in a group invitation to participate!

Tentative Schedule:

  • January 7

Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Networking and Social Media

  • January 14

Chapter 2: The Challenges and Benefits of Social Networking

  • January 21

Chapter 3: Social Media, Art Therapy, and Professionalism

  • January 28

Chapter 4: The Value of Digital Community for Art Therapists

  • February 4

Chapter 5: Strengthening the Art Therapy Profession through Social Media

  • February 11

Chapter 6: Social Networking and the Global Art Therapy Community

  • February 18

Chapter 7: Social Media and the Art Therapist’s Creative Practice

  • February 25

Chapter 8: 6 Degrees of Creativity

  • March 4

Chapter 9: Future Considerations: Social Media and Art Therapists

Routledge is also having an end of the year sale of all its book titles, which includes a 20% discount of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media if you still need to purchase a copy in time for the discussion group!  🙂


Trauma Informed Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

December 1, 2017

The holiday season is upon us: at home, in the workplace, in our communities, classrooms, and far and wide in the media, online, and in neighborhood stores.

This time of year can inspire festive gatherings and activities of joy, togetherness, and heartfelt memories with family and friends. For some, though, the holidays can be a challenging time of stress, adversity, and a difficult trigger of strong emotions, pressures, or traumatic experiences. This topic is the focus of my new guest post for The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s (TLC) blog, helping to provide a trauma informed considerations for the holidays and additional resources to learn more.  Read more here.

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