Creative Action Link Round-Up: Racial Justice, Anti-Racism, & Social Change

This creative action link round up shares some art therapy and art-based resources to learn more about racial trauma, ways that art therapists can practice anti-racism, as well as how the arts are providing a voice to pain, loss, suffering, and bring communities together in protest, meaningful change, hope, solidarity, & advocacy.  This post also honors the contributions of African American pioneers in the field of art therapy.

  • Creative Healing Spaces: Healing From Racial Wounds: Three lessons art therapist Lindsey D. Vance has learned about changing the framework of therapy in her practice with clients of color to respond to racial trauma, engage in community based practice, and bring communities together through art.  Lindsey also participated last week in a Creative Justice FB Live with Sharon @ Spark Your Creative to discuss the intensity of what we are seeing and hearing, how it can deeply affect our ability to create , what we do create, and how we can heal ourselves and others affected by violence in our communities.
  • Cultural Humility in Art Therapy– In this book published early in 2020, art therapist Dr. Louvenia Jackson writes about cultural humility in art therapy, as a lens to address power differentials and encourage art therapists to examine privilege within social constructs, become mindful of our own bias, assumptions and beliefs.
  • Anti-racist Approach to Art Therapy: Re-examining Core Concepts– Three strategies from art therapist Dr. Jordan Potash for art therapists to confront race-based injustices & power differentials in our practice and with systems. Learn more about how art therapists can develop an anti-racist perspective, re-examine art therapy concepts through anti-racist paradigms, and advocate for system change.
  • Framing Race in the Context of Art Therapy: Art therapist Dr. Cheryl Doby-Copeland frames race in the context of art therapy through defining racism, racial trauma, & bringing awareness to the impact of societal discrimination & oppression with clients & families of color.

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  • Honoring African-American Art Therapy Pioneers : Learn about the contributions of Georgette Seabrooke Powell, Charles Anderson, Dr. Sarah McGee, Dr. Lucille Venture, and Cliff Joseph to the profession of art therapy as leaders, clinicians, educators, researchers, authors, artists, and advocates.

 

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My Own Call to Action: 

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COVID-19 Material Management and Best Practices for Art Therapy

This week I started to cautiously ease into providing in-person art therapy groups at one the sites I am at that has re-mobilized face to face group therapy programming for clients.  A lot of consideration has been made organizationally to create a physical environment that will be safe for clients needing services.  This starts with mandatory healthcare screening measures and clearance upon entering the overall facility such as temperature checks, self report questions about potential COVID-19 symptoms and risk, lots of signage and visual cues for physical distancing in common spaces, and being provided a mask to wear if you do not already have one.

Within the program space in which I provide services, every group member is required to physically distance at least 6 feet from other members and the facilitator, which also includes limiting the maximum number of clients allowed in the group space depending on the required amount of space needed for physical distancing.  Everyone on-site (group leaders, staff, and clients) wear masks throughout the day’s programming.

As an art therapist facilitating primarily group work, I want to keep clients, their families, staff, and myself as safe as possible during this transition of navigating to this next normal of gathering together again, even if it is 6 feet apart.  The usual use of art therapy materials that are commonly available to the group or used in a session (often shared or handled by multiple people and as a community), as well as the way materials are managed or distributed in the art therapy space required serious reconsideration.  In an effort to make sense of this new, developing practice for myself and help educate or reassure those coming into the art therapy space, I drafted this COVID-19 Material Management and Best Practices in Art Therapy two pager. 

The two pager provides practices on three areas: Hand Washing/Sanitizing,  Material Management, and Disinfection of Art Materials to help promote infection control and decrease the spread of germs and illness.  I also provided examples of media that I use in my art therapy space to help distinguish between supplies that would be considered single use or could be used multiple times if properly disinfected.  I also started to individually put art materials into ziploc bags that could be given to clients to use (and clean before putting back into the bag) or if not possible to clean (such as oil pastels) to keep for their own use at home or discard.  Obviously in a group setting, where the amount of clients and number of groups throughout the week can be several, there may not be the necessary budget to sustain giving materials away or throwing them out.

As this evolving situation with COVID-19 continues to emerge, additional practices and approaches will certainly also surface within the art therapy community.  Medical art therapists who regularly work with immune comprised patients have instituted infection control procedures with their materials and their way of working as a common form of practice.  Considerations are made for providing meaningful and therapeutic art interventions that not only emotionally support a patient they are working with and appropriate treatment goals, but also the necessary use of handling, prepping, and using materials in the physical space to ensure this is a safe practice and will do no harm to ones health and wellbeing.   Art therapists’ knowledge and understanding of materials are a primary foundation to our practice, expertise, and training.

The two pager I created was informed by the valuable experiences of the medical art therapy community, as well as art educators working in classrooms with lots of students who are trying to figure out how to teach and make art together safely as a group when they are finally able to return to some form of in-person learning.  This American Art Therapy Association (AATA) COVID-19 related resource and recent journal publication, as well as AATA webinars that were hosted in March and May also provided helpful information about working in this new environment.

I am curious if you have any suggestions for practices you’ve started to use or consider for face to face art material use in this time of COVID-19, especially related to work with groups or more than one individual at once?  We can definitely keep learning from eachother as we face unfamiliar situations and working because of this pandemic.

2018 Online Book Discussion Group

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!  🙂

 

Art Therapy In Action Interview Series

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has started to release a series of videos, Art Therapy in Action, that features credentialed art therapists talking about their work with a variety of populations, settings, and topics.  This series of interviews describe “how the unique and integrative properties of art therapy can enrich lives, support personal and relational treatment goals, address community concerns, and advance societal and ecological change”.  If you are interested in learning more about how art therapists work, these videos offer a great look into the different approaches, applications, and ways art therapy can be facilitated.

Some of the videos already released include interviews with art therapists who work with:

  • Adolescents
  • Children in Hospital Settings
  • Individuals in the LGBTQIA Community
  • Veterans and Military Service Members
  • Older Adults and Memory Care
  • Eating Disorders
  • Prisons and Correctional Settings
  • Research
  • Cross Cultural Projects and Communities

I am honored that I was also able to contribute to this series, participating in an interview about art therapy and trauma with art therapy colleagues Cheryl Doby-Copeland and Juliet King:

Future topics, interviews, and art therapists will continue to be added to this series, so stay tuned for more on AATA’s YouTube Channel or on the AATA website.

Some Art Therapy Meets Social Media Takeaways

Over the last month I have been sharing a weekly interview series featuring different art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.  It has been so fun to chat with everyone– many of the conversations have had crossover themes and topics, but at the same time uniquely different! I definitely recommend checking out and listening to the interviews- lots of inspiring reflections, resources, and experiences!

Below is my top 10 list of great takeaways inspired by this series:

  1. Even though the Internet and world of social media can seem soooo big- online communities, social networking sites, and groups create amazing opportunities for us to easily connect to others that share similar interests…. or can introduce us to new experiences and resources— no matter where we live!
  2. Activate your online experience! While there is a lot of value in obtaining and connecting to information shared in digital groups, communities, and virtual spaces- don’t be afraid to reach out to others, respond with feedback or questions and share your own experiences with others.
  3. Connecting with other art therapists online helps strengthen relational support and decrease isolation, especially for those in private practice, who work independently, or interested in expanding their professional community.
  4. Social media is a great tool for sharing our enthusiasm and drive for educating others about the field, art therapy, promoting services, and the work of art therapists.
  5. The amount of knowledge, resources, and information available at our fingertips makes researching information about art therapy, how to become an art therapist, and special interests so easy and accessible. Lots of great resources were shared and recommended during each interview!
  6. You don’t have to use every social networking platform out there.  You can manage your resources and time on social media with platforms that best fit you. Pacing yourself to develop a professional presence on different platforms over time can also be a helpful strategy.
  7. For many of the art therapists I chatted with, social media has been an inspiring place to connect with other artists, art-making, and art communities. Social media has helped positively motivate personal creative expression and art practices.
  8. Creating a social media strategy for sharing content can be an effective way to stay engaged and committed to ones professional digital presence.
  9. Blogging is a great way to share what inspires you, connect with others, and take stock about your work as an art therapist and artist.
  10. Everyone can contribute something valuable for others to learn from and be inspired by– you don’t have to be an expert, early adopter, or technology guru to start!

Thank you to Carolyn, Petrea, Rachel, Lani, Theresa, and Jade for sharing their thoughts and experiences in this series.  I am also honored and so excited to include their work and many others in my forthcoming book.

Check out the series of interviews here!

 

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In addition, if you are planning to attend the 2017 American Art Therapy Association conference in Albuquerque New Mexico, this November I will be offering an Advanced Practice Course, The Art of Creating a Professional Digital Presence on the conference’s first day. If this topic interests you, the course presents practical content about how art therapists can create a strong professional digital presence through the use of social media. Participants will be introduced to strategies and considerations for cultivating a presence online that aligns with ones professional work, passions, values, and career interests.

Course objectives:

  • Discover ways an individual art therapist’s digital presence can positively impact the art therapy field at large;
  • Learn strategies to use for professionally sharing content on social media;
  • Identify approaches that social networking can help create or enhance a professionally focused profile or activities for art therapists.

Advanced registration is open until October 31, 2017.  Download the conference brochure here.

Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity

Earlier this month at the national art therapy conference in San Antonio, I was able to spend time dialoguing in a focus group I led about one of my favorite topics: the role of social media in creating connection, community, and sustaining creativity.

Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity | creativity in motion

This group time was a very nice opportunity to talk with art therapists and art therapy students about how they use social media, what interests & challenges them, as well as the different ways social media can be used within the art therapy community for networking, collaborating, art-making, and inspire one another.

In comparison to a focus group I led on this same topic at the national conference 5 years ago (2009), the awareness and use of social media seemed to be a lot more integrated into our regular professional interactions and activity.  This included, but was not limited to: connecting with other art therapists, inspiring & supporting our own creative process with art-making, taking to the social media air waves to promote what we are passionate about in art therapy (through blogging, creating Facebook pages, using hashtags, QR codes) and keeping updated on worldwide happenings and news in the art therapy community.  The increasing use of smartphones, tablets, and apps (vs. 2009) to access social media in mobile form definitely has contributed to this day to day practice.

Challenges voiced included understanding how to leverage the most out of different social media sites, having a mindful awareness of ones personal vs. professional life online, and keeping up with the constant changes, new developments, and activity in the world of social media.

Check out this SlideShare inspired by this focus group’s topic:

This was a great time to gather together about this topic off the grid!  Thank you to everyone who attended! It is inspiring to learn more about how we as art therapists continue to use social media to strengthen our professional connections, enhance the relationship with our creativity, & create online opportunities for supporting our work, interests, & practice.

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Spaces & Places: Where We Create Now Accepting Submissions | Art Therapy Photo Documentary Project

Spaces and Places: Where We Create is now accepting submissions from art therapists, art therapy students, expressive art therapists, and art organizations for this photo documentary project that aims to provide education, awareness, inspiration, and understanding about the spaces & places, settings, populations, and materials that the art therapy community works in and uses within their practice.

This collaborative event using social media and digital photo sharing via Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram invites participants to submit a photo or photos of their creative work space and favorite tools of the trade.  The project will be accepting submissions until May 31, 2012.

Learn more via the Art Therapy Alliance website for more information and details about how to participate: http://www.arttherapyalliance.org/WhereWeCreate.html

Open Heart Creating, Connecting & Community

In a couple of weeks, the 6 Degrees of Creativity Artist Trading Card (ATC) exchange will be underway and I’ve just finished creating a batch of ATCs to include as an extra ATC for each participant.  As the facilitator of this ATC workshop and organizer of the exchange, I wanted to make an ATC for each individual participating in the swap:

When creating my ATCs I reflected on the 6 Degrees of Creativity community as a whole, from each of the wonderful workshops being offered and instructors, the inspiring photos of art, comments, discussions, and overall community, connection, and spirit of creativity.

I chose a series of words to describe this experience and included six dots on each ATC to represent the concept of 6 Degrees and how we are all connected through our creativity, as well as having the opportunity to spread this energy and inspiration among ourselves and to others in our personal and professional lives. The words highlighted on each of my ATC cards express my collective response I’ve witnessed.

I recently re-read the post Creating with an Open Heart, Creating a Movement on one of my favorite creativity blogs, A Big Creative Yes which reminded me about my intention behind bringing together 6 Degrees of Creativity.  Dan Goodwin writes about the experience, importance, and sharing of creating with “an open heart” and how this practice inspires others to also create:

“By your example of creating, they then muster enough courage to try it for themselves. Then maybe this same thing happens with a couple of other people over a few months, and they too come out in public with their journals, their camera, their sketchbooks, because of your example. Maybe then each of these people you’ve directly inspired are then seen by three others, and they are encouraged to create more.  In a short space of time, your act of creating with an open heart has lead to nine others doing the same. A month or two later, each of them are seen, and inspire three others, meaning now 27 people are openly creating, all as a direct result of your initial courage to do so… By creating with an open heart, you’ve created a movement.”

It’s been a pleasure to actively engage with so many excited about creating, sharing, and experiencing this joy within this creative community. Creating with an open heart happens at 6 Degrees of Creativity everyday and that is awesome.  Lots and lots of creative goodness spreading everywhere… to our friends, colleagues, family, clients and more….And very soon, the sending out  of our ATC mail art exchange will create a little more- I can’t wait!

I look forward to sharing how the ATC exchange went in a couple of weeks so stay connected for more!

Get Your Camera Ready! Spaces & Places: Where We Create Starts in February

It’s exciting to announce a new art collaboration coming in February being organized by The Art Therapy AllianceSpaces & Places: Where We Create will be an art therapy community photo documentary project developed by me and Magdalena Karlick, ATR, LPAT, LPCC inviting participants to submit a photo of their creative work space and favorite tools of the trade.

Through social media and digital photo sharing with Flickr & Instagram, this collaborative project aims to provide education, awareness, inspiration, and understanding about the spaces & places, settings, populations, and materials that art therapists, art therapy students, expressive arts therapists, and art organizations work in and use for their practice.

Photos (or video!) that this project will be looking for include:
  • Images of your creative space:  Where you work, intern, or your own personal art-making space
  • Commonly used art supplies and media in your art therapy work or internship with clients
  • Favorite technique: An art intervention or technique approach with individuals or in groups
  • If your creative space has changed: Before and after photos
Submission guidelines and more details to be announced when the project officially launches next month!  Information will be posted to the Spaces & Places: Where We Create project page February 13.

We are also looking for organizations, programs, and blogs interested in becoming an endorser of this project.  Feel free to contact me via info@arttherapyalliance.org for more information. 

The Art Therapy Alliance is proud to be partnering with Art Therapy Without Borders and International Art Therapy Organization for this new project, with endorsement by  Southwestern College, PeaceLove Studios, Art Therapy Institute North Carolina, and Sock Monkey Art Therapy.

If you want to receive updates and news about the project, RSVP to the project’s event page on Facebook. Yay to a new art therapy collab for 2012!  Get your camera ready!

BATA Silent Art Auction to Benefit SB 205 | Legislation to License Ohio Art Therapists

I just finished a mini painting to be donated for the Buckeye Art Therapy Association’s Silent Art Auction during the organization’s 30th Annual Symposium,  Resiliency & Empathy: The Art of Healing Trauma being held this week on September 30th and October 1, 2011.

All proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit BATA’s Legislative Fund and efforts associated with Senate Bill 205, legislation to license art therapists and the practice of art therapy in the State of Ohio.   Check out this article to learn more about the bill and how to help here.

I can’t wait to see what other art is donated this year for this important event!  If you are attending, don’t forget to bring something to help out the cause!


When the world says, “Give up,”  Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”  ~Author Unknown