Implications of National Trends in Digital Media Use for Art Therapy Practice

Implications of National Trends in Digital Media Use for Art Therapy Practice | Journal of Clinical Art Therapy

I am excited to announce that in the new issue of the Journal of Clinical Art Therapy (Volume 3, Issue 1) an article that I co-authored with Girija Kamal, Michele Rattigan, and Jennifer Haddy about digital media and considerations for art therapy practice was recently published.

Abstract: This paper presents an overview of national trends in visual art-making and art sharing using digital media, and, the authors’ reflections on the implications of these findings for art therapy practice. These findings were based on a secondary analysis of the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts administered by the National Endowment for the Arts. Survey findings indicated that increasing proportions of people in the United States are using digital media for creating, archiving, and sharing their art. Reflections by the authors on these findings include support for increase in use of digital media by art therapists for their own art and the need for research about, and, education on best practices for use of digital media.

You can download the full paper available via open access on the JCAT site here.

Many thanks to Girija for bringing us together to contribute to this publication, as well as JCAT’s Editor Einat S. Metzl and the JCAT Editorial Board for their interest in this topic.  🙂

Related Posts:

Exploring Internet Based Platforms with Digital Art-based Approaches

The Creative Leader & Creating an Environment for Innovation

Cultivating Creativity, Connection, and Community | TEDx Ursuline College






San Antonio Art Therapy Fun

Next week I’ll be heading to San Antonio to attend the national art therapy conference and I am looking forward to opportunities for learning, connecting, and community building.

San Antonio Art Therapy Fun: Artist Trading Card Exchange | creativity in motion
My ATCs for the San Antonio Art Therapy ATC Swap

Early on at the conference, Andrea Davis, LPC, ATR-BC and I have organized an artist trading card exchange and meet up exploring the theme of art therapy dreams. I am eager to spend time swapping art and re-connecting/connecting on site with art therapists and students I’ve met through the 6 Degrees of Creativity or Art Therapy Alliance communities, as well as meeting some new faces and enjoying the creative company of friends.

San Antonio Art Therapy Fun: Artist Trading Card Exchange | creativity in motion
Swapping & Meet Up Accessories

I hope this gathering will be a great space for networking & coming together through creativity!

Later on Thursday (5-7 pm), I’ll be participating in the Arts & Crafts Marketplace, offering some handmade pocket journals and books (created from miniature file folders, matchboxes, & inchies) for sale… Stop by table #5, say hello, and check out the creative goodness:

Matchbox Journals
Matchbox Journals


Inchie Love
Inchie Love


Inchie Inspiration Books
Inchie Inspiration Books


Marketplace Creative Goodness
Marketplace Creative Goodness


Pocket Journals
Pocket Journals


Pocket Journals
Pocket Journals


San Antonio Art Therapy Fun: Marketplace Creative Goodness | creativity in motion
Marketplace Creative Goodness

Following the Marketplace fun, I am looking forward to attending the free screening of Inocente and have the honor of leading a discussion following the film with audience attendees about the role and benefits of art expression in helping youth living with homeless.  Don’t miss out on seeing this inspiring and Academy award-winning film from 8-9:30 on Thursday evening- I hope to see you there!

INOCENTE Screening
INOCENTE Screening

On Saturday morning (10:30-11:20 am), I’ll be facilitating a Focus Group on one of my favorite topics: Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity. This focus group will stimulate innovative dialogue about social networking’s important role in building community, cultivating creativity, and creating connection for art therapists worldwide. Participants will engage in discussion about the power of social media to mobilize and engage a community, as well as how to leverage this participation to bring art therapists together for art-making, support, and crowdsourcing efforts. Discussion content will include websites, groups, and communities available on-line for art therapists and how to professionally get the most out the social media experience for networking, empowering creativity, and sustaining a sense of community and belonging.

Social Media & Art Therapy Focus Group
Social Media & Art Therapy Focus Group

I’m also excited to bring & share some of the Art Therapy Alliance‘s new Favicards to help spread the art therapy & social media love….. 🙂

2014 Art Therapy Alliance Favicards
2014 Art Therapy Alliance Favicards

And finally, if you want to join in on the conference’s social media activity while in San Antonio, AATA’s Social Media Committee will be hosting Pop Up Photo Taking & Hashtag Creative Fun in the Exhibit Hall @ the Marketplace of Ideas during Networking and Lunch Breaks Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  You are invited to stop by!  Also, if you will be in attendance at the conference and want to share your updates, check-ins & photos, use the event’s hashtag #AATA2014 on Twitter, Instagram, and on FB.

 I hope our paths will cross at one of these happenings or at another offering throughout the week if we are both in San Antonio!


Related Posts:

INOCENTE: A Young Girl’s Story of Homelessness and the Transformative Power of Art

File Folder Art Journal [VIDEO] How to Tutorial

Social Media: Art Therapists and the Internet

The Power of Art: Healing Imagination VI @ Ursuline College

Photo: Sr. Kathleen Burke, PhD, OSU
Photo: Sr. Kathleen Burke, PhD, OSU

What a pleasure it was to attend another opening of Healing Imagination — 2014 celebrates VI (!)– an Art Therapy Juried Exhibition at Ursuline College’s Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery.

It was great to see so much beautiful art on display in a variety of mediums & forms: painting, sculpture, mixed media, textile, collage, photography, and more from Art Therapy and Counseling faculty, students, and alumni.

I am grateful that we were able to come together and honor the importance and practice of art making as artists and art therapists in this way.  To see the creative work of my colleagues, art therapy friends, and students in this collective showing is so energizing & inspiring.  How wonderful that the creative process and power of art is so essential in our work, service, and in our own lives.

The Power of Art: Healing Imagination VI | creativity in motion

My contribution to the exhibition was my 2013 365 revo’lution project and 2014 revo’lution altered book.  It was super nice to be reunited with both pieces again in the gallery.  In my creative space where I keep my 2013 365 project, I often take a look at the piece of art I created 365 days ago.  I’ll reflect on what the intention was, where I created the piece, and the materials I was using.  Looking at last year’s tiny image also helps reframe the present and recognize areas of growth & transformation that have taken place since making the piece 365 days ago and how it has supported my 2014 revo’lution.  So it’s been weird not having both pieces of art around! 🙂

While there have been small moments of anxiety separation from both of these pieces, it is refreshing to have my revo’lution projects visit this new space and fun to have others experience it outside of the virtual sharing and computer screens of social media and the Internet.  Thank you to Ursuline College’s Art Therapy & Counseling Program for the opportunity to be included in this show, bringing us together in this way, and continuing the Healing Imagination tradition!

The Power of Art: Healing Imagination VI | creativity in motion

In case you’re in the NE Ohio area and want to check the exhibition out,  The Healing Imagination VI is on display until August 1 at the Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery on the campus of Ursuline College.  Gallery hours are Tuesday- Friday, 12 – 5 PM, as well as Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 – 4:30 PM.


Related Posts:

Healing Imagination V @ Ursuline College

Heart Space: 365 Days of revo’lution making

Prepare > Intent > Create > Transform: ready for revo’lution [2014]

Career Spotlight on Art Therapy

Career Spotlight on Art Therapy | creativity in motion

Yesterday I had the pleasure and honor to be invited back for another Career Day for middle and high school students about the profession of Art Therapy and my work as an Art Therapist.  Last spring, I spoke to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at Mayfield Middle School and this year I spent the day with 8th-12th graders at Richmond Heights High School.  It’s great to have Art Therapy included in this day of sharing and learning about career possibilities.

Inspired by this event, I thought it would be nice to share some of the information I shared with this student audience about Art Therapy as a career, in hopes that it might be helpful to others interested in learning more, and as a reference for student requests at the college level I often receive for more information about the work I do.

Below is the basic presentation I shared with general information about what art therapy is, who art therapists are, where art therapists work, education, as well as important personal qualities associated with the career, and examples of job responsibilities:

I also shared some answers to common questions I get via e-mail or in conversation about art therapy and my work:

  • My motivation to become an art therapist developed from these three areas: My activity in and enjoyment with the arts since a child, my interest and curiosity in psychology that started to grow when I was high school, and a desire to help and work with others who were in need.  Art therapy combined these motivations together and created a purpose for my life’s work.  I was fortunate to attend college at a school (Bowling Green State University) that at the time, had a strong undergraduate art therapy program where I was able to learn so much about art therapy through classroom teachings, assigned readings, practicums, community service, leadership experiences, & more.  Obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy prepared me very well to enter graduate school at Ursuline College and their Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program, knowing that this was a career I wanted to wholeheartedly serve.

Motivation for Art Therapy Career Path | creativity in motion

  • In the 15 years I have been practicing as an Art Therapist, I’ve worked mostly with children and adolescents, which includes the first part of my career dedicated to developing, as well as implementing art therapy programming and services for youth in a residential treatment setting & partial hospitalization programs. My work in residential treatment with youth who had experienced pervasive early childhood neglect, abuse, and abandonment motivated me to learn more about trauma and loss. With this experience and the mentoring of supervisors at work, inspired me to obtain trauma certification through The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC).  My art therapy work over the last decade has included providing art therapy to survivors of domestic violence, grieving children and adolescents who have experienced a death of a loved one, and families living with or transitioning out of homelessness.
  • Most of the art therapy services I provide are group orientated and theme based around a trauma-informed topics connected to the population and setting I am working in. Group work can be a beneficial approach with trauma survivors as a form of support, belonging, validation, and normalizing of ones experience. Art expression provides a visual voice for unspeakable memories and experiences, as well as helps re-establish safety and well-being. You can learn more about my art therapy group work with trauma and loss in some of these presentations or from this past post.  One of the examples I like to share at Career Day is this video from a Peacemakers Art Therapy group I facilitated with youth ages 6-12 who engaged in papermaking to transform hurtful feelings and experiences about bullying into positive, kind messages about how to be a caring, peaceful person:

  • Rewards & Challenges: Being able to help people feel better, make meaning, and discover themselves through art-making and the creative process is very rewarding and one of the reasons I enjoy and am honored to the work I do as an Art Therapist. What I find most powerful about art therapy is its ability and permission to give individual’s a voice to express, reflect on, and honor ones feelings, thoughts, memories, and experiences in a safe and creative environment. I also believe art-making is a life affirming act of hope and strength to help manage and cope with the challenges or struggles we face. An important consideration to remember about this work however, is to take time for your own self-care, decompressing, and balancing the emotional demands of hearing, as well as seeing through image making, the intensity and rawness unearthed from deep within.
  • Giving Back: My love for this work motivates me to keep sharing, promoting, and nurturing efforts, learning, and energy in support of the higher good of the art therapy community and the amazing work art therapists do everyday.  Contributing to this through community organizing, leadership, teaching, supervision, and outreach helps our efforts and positive energy grow… and to inspire new possibilities for our field and the future of art therapy.

Many thanks to Richmond Heights High School for the opportunity to introduce and share Art Therapy during their Career Day!

Additional Resources to learn more about art therapy:

  • About Art Therapy: Includes art therapist blogs, websites, and sites about art therapy organizations around the world.

Where We Create: Wonder, Inspiration, Motivation, Connection

Today marks the last day for the art therapy photo documentary Spaces & Places: Where We Create, an online project that Magdalena Karlick and I launched back in February inviting art therapists, art therapy students, and art organizations to submit digital pics and descriptions about the creative spaces they work & create in, as well as favorite or common materials and media used.

Over the last 4 months it has been a pleasure to see this project unfold…with wonder, inspiration, motivation, and connection.  Over 200 photos from Italy, India, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, the US, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Australia were shared via The Art Therapy Alliance community on Facebook, through Flickr, and posted on the go with Instagram.

I’ve enjoyed experiencing through with project and its collection of photos where art therapy happens, art materials that are offered, and the creative spaces we make our own art.  Equally enjoyable  for me has been the connection the photos have inspired.  Through the power of social media, there’s been many supportive exchanges & interactions in the form of sharing, tweeting, liking, or commenting  that have helped foster community, connection, and creativity.

More to come soon from Magdalena and I on the Art Therapy Alliance’s posterous, as we share our reflections and thoughts regarding Spaces & Places: Where We Create.   A big thank you to Magdalena for co-organizing this project with me, the project’s endorsers, and to each and every art therapist, art therapy student and organization who contributed photos and shared their Spaces & Places.  I invite you to take the time to view all the photos, comments, and connection inspired by Spaces & Places: Where We Create here on Facebook.

I wanted to make my final photo contribution to Spaces & Places: Where We Create with some pics of the art therapy space I worked in today: my art therapy office (below from my previous #wherewecreate submission) where I facilitate individual and group community based services with youth.  In this space today, it was the last session of a children’s trauma and loss art therapy group that I have been meeting with over the last 8 weeks:

Art Therapy Office Space
Art Therapy Supply Stash for Groupwork

For many of my last group sessions, but especially for this children’s trauma & loss group because it helps reinforce themes related to resiliency, I like to spend some time focusing on an experience I introduce as “Stones of Strength”. Each child has the opportunity to select their own personal stone to embellish, make his/her own with permanent marker and by writing one word on the surface that brings him/her feelings of comfort and safety.

The stone can then be used as a tangible, creative, and personalized reminder to keep and use for coping in times of worry, stress, or  difficult days.

A batch of stones from the photo below were creatively developed & dedicated by this group of 6-12 year olds for kindness, love, friendship, and hope, to  just to name a few.

Stones of Strength

Plain Dealer Spotlights Art Therapy: Art Therapists Help Others Find a Voice

I received the above quote as part of a kind note from a co-worker who was leaving our agency this week with the observation that it made her think of me and my work with art therapy.  My co-worker also expressed that this sentiment came through in an article I recently did for the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Today’s Top Jobs after career writer Terri Mrosko invited me to share my work as an art therapist.

I was happy to learn about Terri’s interest in art therapy and the opportunity to promote the field within my local community as one example of what an art therapist does, as well as the educational standards and professional credentialing involved for this career path.

Cleveland Plain Dealer-Today’s Top Jobs

Spotlighting art therapy as a career choice is also significant and timely in Ohio, as legislation for art therapy licensure (SB 205) is currently active in the Senate’s Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee with hopes that the bill will continue to keep moving forward. Legislation for art therapy in the state of Ohio is very important for a number of reasons, one of which is that regulation provides consumers the peace of mind that they are receiving art therapy services from an individual who has obtained the proper educational training and professional standards to practice as an art therapist.  Employers will also know who is appropriately qualified to offer art therapy services.

It would be great to see this achievement for art therapy in Ohio finally happen!

To learn more about SB 205 check out this article and if you (or others you know) live in Ohio, find out how you can help advocate for this legislation through visiting the Buckeye Art Therapy Association website.

Thank you to Terri Mrosko, photographer George Shuba, and the Plain Dealer for putting together a nice piece promoting art therapy- Much gratitude!

My Creative Spaces, Places & More #wherewecreate

The Art Therapist Is In

This past week, I’ve started to upload preview photos for the art therapy photo documentary project Spaces & Places: Where We Create.  It has been very inspiring to see and learn about the creative spaces of the project’s endorsers who are offering a sneak peek into their work, spaces,  and favorite tools of the trade.  I am looking forward to learning even more from future submissions when Spaces & Places: Where We Create officially launches to the art therapy community on February 13.

I’ve been working on getting my photos together for the project, both my own personal art-making space and favorite materials, as well as the different spaces and such that I use as an art therapist.   Here are some initial pics that I have taken:

My Own Creative Space

These series of photos (above) show my creative space and office used for my own art-making, art therapy supervision, and small group art meet ups with friends & colleagues. The space is packed with my favorite art supplies (for collage, art journaling, altered art & bookmaking, painting, & drawing), inspiring photos, art, notes, toys, books, and more.

Some of my favorite materials to use in my own art

I have also started to take photos of the art therapy spaces,  favorite materials and approaches I use in my work as an Art Therapist with survivors of domestic violence in Cleveland, Ohio:

Art Therapy Spaces, Paper House Making, & Art Journaling

Part of my work at DVCAC includes providing community based art therapy to youth exposed to domestic violence through individual or support group services.  I also offer individual and group art therapy to youth and women who come to shelter to escape domestic violence.   As seen in previous posts here, I often use Paper House Making to explore and address safety planning, safe places, and to help contain overwhelming feelings associated with the worry,  fear, and terror that children and adolescents from violent homes experience.   Another photo I included is a material pic connected an art journaling group I recently started for women in shelter as a non-threatening space and means to manage traumatic stress and strengthen coping.

If you are interested in checking out the other photos that have been submitted so far (or future photos), check out the Art Therapy Alliance’s Set on Flickr for the project or follow photos via the Art Therapy Alliance’s Facebook page.

Revolution Visual Journaling: Fiona Fitzpatrick

Since the launch of my ready to revolution eBook, I’ve been receiving some images and word on art journaling pages from individuals working on their 2012 Revolution!  This has been so very cool to receive and learn more about!

In this post I wanted to highlight Art Therapist Fiona Fitzpatrick who recently sent me some of her revolution art after checking out ready for revolution.  Fiona has been involved with art journaling for a few years now, which also includes teaching Visual Journaling: Where Images and Words Meet at Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education in Australia to introduce and explore its benefits. During our e-mail exchanges, Fiona expressed that she enjoys the process of combining images with writing in the format of a book and keeps various journals and altered books for different areas of her life, both personal and work related.  Great self-care and a nice way to maintain your personal creative practice with art-making!

Fiona chose to simplify her revolution making process and decided on three intentions to focus on for 2012:

Fiona's Intentions Book Cover
Fiona's Stillness Spread
Fiona's Trust Spread
Fiona's Yes Spread

Thanks to Fiona for her willingness to share her art journaling with the Creativity in Motion community!  I definitely agree with Fiona’s thoughts about this kind of art-making and sharing being a nice balance for the art therapist’s creative self-expression and to just have fun!

Recent resources I also wanted to share on the topic of art journaling and its benefits:

Prayer Flag Exchanging!!

Since August, my ATR supervision group and I have been working on a prayer flag project and during our most recent group it was time to exchange our flags with one another!  I was excited to finally bring together our wishes and hopes into a collective string of intentions inspired by members of this group.

Each of us (6) created at least 6 flags: made with an intention and image that we wanted to focus on.  Simple cotton fabric squares about 6 x 6 inches were used with acrylic paint, paint markers, Sharpie markers, and ink stamping to embellish the print we made (read this post for info on this). A couple of inches were left at the top of each flag where the fabric could be folded back and glued/hot glued for yarn to be easily threaded through each flag for stringing.

For our exchange, each person went one at a time to display their flags among the group and had an opportunity to speak about their intention, its meaning, the image they created, and reflections about participating in this process before group members chose which flag they wanted to include in their collection.  The exchanging of flags created an opportunity to also offer our intention outside of ourselves to others.  Intentions that were featured within this project included: Balance, Wonder, Imagine, Clarity, Awareness, and Vision.


The intention I chose to focus on for this project included the concept of “Imagine” and a quote from one of my favorite books The Alchemist.  I attached this quote on each flag as a reminder stay to true to yourself and to always have heart in the dreams you imagine:  “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense“.

Below is an image of each prayer flag (larger images of each flag can be seen by clicking on the picture) contributed by members of the group: Margaret, Mary, Kristie, Frances, and Laura (thank you!).

Group Prayer Flags Together!

It is great to have them all together!  I’m still thinking about a special place to hang my string of these wonderful intentions…

Postcard Exchange Re-visited: One Year Later

This week-end I spent time putting together my presentation about Art Therapy Without Borders’ International Postcard Exchange for the Canadian Art Therapy Association and Ontario Art Therapy Association joint conference coming up during the first week of November.   I am really looking forward to presenting this paper focusing on the project, its impact, and the role of art and social networking to connect the art therapy community worldwide.

As I began to organize presentation content to highlight and include, I started to go through half of the postcards received over 6 months on behalf of ATWB from art therapists and art therapy students from all around the world.  I re-visited each one in my careful piles: where the postcard arrived from, the art created, media used, as well as the experiences/stories shared on the back about the individual’s work, studies, or interests related to art therapy.

I also remembered it was this time last year when the exchange started, mailing lists I organized from those who signed up were just sent out to over 300 participants, and the first postcards for the exchange were already starting to come in.  Last October, I could have never imagined the overall impact, enthusiasm, and outreach that launching this exchange of mail art would have on facilitating connection, building community, and empowering the international art therapy community.

Collectively re-visiting the postcards in one sitting and no longer in “organizing” mode gave me a new and simplified appreciation for the project and to reflect on what inspired me to organize the exchange in the first place.  Introduce a fun, creative way for art therapists and art therapy students to learn more about each other and use the power of social media and art-making to network, connect, and create/receive art.

I was inspired to do a different kind of and much-needed type of “organizing” that included finally finding a good solution to display and store the postcards I’ve had since the exchange closed April. Many times, I have attempted different options, with no success and struggled with frustration on how to bring everything together in a way that made sense.  Finally the idea to use 12×12 plastic sleeves (so both sides of the postcard could be viewed), some clear adhesive dots, and a scrapbooking album, came to mind as something that might actually work (duh).  After a trip to the craft aisle and a few hours later, an entire album was filled edge to edge with 26 pages of beautiful postcard art.

To view the postcards I received together in this way was amazing and creating this album helped me honor as well as process my own experience with the project as a participant, recipient, and organizer.   Thank you again to everyone who participated and contributed to this exchange.

To view all the postcard art from the exchange, you can check them all out here via Art Therapy Without Border’s Web Album on Google.