Celeste Schexnaydre BFA, MA, ATR-BC
As someone who lives with a compromised immune system, I have been inside for at least a week longer than the general public. I moved my art therapy private practice inside my home and onto a HIPAA compliant platform immediately after having a cough and wanting to protect my clients as well as myself. This wasn’t a surprise to many of them as some are aware of my health concerns. I have had to re-imagine my career frequently due to these health limitations.
In this special report, authors share their a variety of timely information, including:
- Personal experiences working through the SARS and Ebola pandemics,
- Supporting the mental health of medical professionals on the frontlines of the Coronavirus response,
- Building creative and connected virtual communities, and
- Concrete ways art therapists can promote public health psychosocial guidelines
REMINDER - In addition to the print issues, members have access to the full digital archive of our Journal. You can access this article and others on MyAATA (first option under “Research” header in the Professional Development section).
Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair
We invite you to attend the American Art Therapy Association's 51st Annual Conference to be held in Washington, DC, October 29 to November 1, 2020. Early bird registration is now open
, and we have a lot of news to share, from our keynote speaker Candy Chang
, to new flexible child care and cancellation policies, to local announcements, so read on!
Every year, AATA participates as a National Partner in Americans for the Arts' National Arts Action Summit. We were disappointed when the in-person event had to be cancelled, but we are excited to participate in the first ever Digital Summit! You can register
for the entire Digital Summit, or for individual sessions based on your preference. Don't miss two breakout sessions featuring AATA Past President Dr. Donna Betts with live events on April 28, Advancing Arts and Health (1 PM EDT) and Supporting our Military and Veterans through the Arts (3 PM EDT).
Thank you to everyone who has already participated in sharing your creativity online! We know our members are making creative and innovative art for all kinds of reasons — practical uses or to stay busy and grounded. We would love to see your creativity and spread it widely! Please join in on the fun on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!
Shelli McCaffrey, MS
I work in a group home campus setting, and my clients have been quarantined to their homes for over a month, unable to see their loved ones. Their lives have drastically changed and they have varying levels of understanding why. Staff are required to wear PPE, including face masks. Besides attempting to limit contact and the use of art materials, I’ve found wearing a mask to be most disruptive to the therapeutic process. Many of my clients have various communication challenges and rely on facial expressions to understand cues. With most of my face being covered, nonverbal communication is nearly impossible.
Denise R. Wolf MA ATR-BC, ATCS, LPC, AATA Scholarship Chair
Every year, the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) celebrates individual members who are making an impact in our profession, community, and elevating the field. Part of this recognition includes supporting the next generation of art therapists who will transform the future of the profession. There are plenty of reasons that make you uniquely talented and qualified, as an art therapy student or new professional to be honored for your hard work, achievements and contributions. This is your year to shine!
Craig Siegel, ATR-BC, ATCS, Multicultural Committee Chair, CSAC
The Multicultural Committee sponsors the annual Pearlie Roberson Scholarship Award, named after an African American artist and art therapy client who requested that the scholarship provide an opportunity to “remember me” and to support efforts to “explore, express, connect…to enhance the multicultural aspects of the therapeutic experience.”
Every year, we recognize members who are elevating the field, and we support the next generation of art therapists who will transform the profession. This is your opportunity to honor colleagues and recognize the unsung heroes and visionaries of the field or take the next step in your career by applying for a scholarship. Read below and find more information on MyAATA for opportunities in the following categories (listed by application deadline): Scholarships (May 1), Honors (June 15), Research (June 15) and Governmental Affairs (June 15)
. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
with any questions.
Members can now access our webinar, Tools for Therapists to Care for Clients and Self during COVID-19
for free on our online continuing education platform
and earn one clock-hour credit. Our speakers covered best-practices for providing safe and hygienic materials, pivoting toward telehealth, and maintaining wellness and self-care during social distancing.
Our new technology means the end of separate passwords for membership, conference registration and online learning with AATA! If you haven't logged in yet, come check it out! You can always reset your password from the member login page.
Or, if you have questions or need assistance, please contact
the National Office.
Many parents are likely concerned about how the pandemic is affecting their children. This becomes especially challenging if a child cannot easily communicate their feelings verbally. In these circumstances, art can be used as a "communication bridge" for families, according Nadia Paredes, a California-based registered art therapist.
Emily Wexler, a 24-year-old second-year art therapy and counseling graduate student at Drexel University, is spearheading an online Mindfulness Art-making course, designed to promote the therapeutic use of art among health care and behavioral health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarah Taylor, an art therapy master’s student at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana, was already used to online classes long before COVID-19 forced most schools to use a virtual format. Despite being accustomed to virtual classes, her trajectory is still affected: she expects she'll graduate at least a semester late.
Eyewitness News 3
Video: A Connecticut therapist is using art and technology to ensure her high school students aren’t alone during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep providing services during quarantine, the health care field has put a focus on telehealth. Certain fields are finding the transition a bit more challenging. For example, art therapy is a bit more complicated when therapists can’t meet clients in-person. But counselors are adjusting and finding creative ways to make it work. “Art therapy can be helpful especially if somebody is having difficulty accessing words for what’s going on,” said art therapist Maureen Kelleher.
Many people across America are turning to creative outlets to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. For art therapists, however, patients and clients already know how to use creativity to manage in difficult times. Telehealth is being used more frequently, and while treating someone over a video call seems more difficult, art therapists are making it work. “They say, ‘Hey, what do you have in the house?’ ‘I don’t have anything.’ ‘Do you have a piece of paper? Everybody has a piece of paper. Do you have a magazine?’” said Terri Digennaro, CEO of the HELMS Foundation.
Around the world, therapists are coming to terms with how digital media is affecting their practices. Many are learning about and shocked at the intimacy teletherapy can bring, or are surprised at how effective practicing over video chat is.
Looking for a way to give people a space to express emotions, art teacher Laura Ruggles and her daughter Alyssa Anderson came up with an idea. They recently launched the Artistic Response Project, designed to inspire people of all ages to create art on the back of a postcard. Anderson, who is currently working toward a master’s degree in art therapy, hopes the project will have a positive impact on people’s mental health.
Emporia State University
Lyrah Wallace, an art therapy graduate student, was recently surprised with being named the 2020-21 Nancy Knapp Scholar. Late last week, they were asked by art therapy faculty to attend a virtual meeting to check in about a summer internship. When Wallace logged in, it wasn’t just faculty on the screen: images of classmates in their separate locations held up signs saying, “Congratulations!” “Go, Lyrah!” “Yaaaaaaay!”
Fairytales don’t feature turmoil and conflict for no reason. These storylines are meant to prepare the young developing mind-body for the challenges most adults face: loss, grief, this pandemic. “My own first response work, particularly directing child therapy after the Sandy Hook School Massacre, compels me to share a new folktale that is helping my three year old cope with and control her own perceptions of the coronavirus,” writes Nicole Porter Davis, first responder, art therapist and meditation coach at The Emerald Sketch.
The coronavirus has significantly impacted America’s arts sector economically. Since the first U.S. case was reported in January, thousands of arts organizations across the country have faced cancellations and closings, leading to a reported $4.5 billion loss to the bottom lines and a total impact of $10.7 billion.
“From the time I could move an arm or palm a brush, I started painting,” writes Matthew Wetschler MD, MPH, about his post-injury experience. “I had the support of an art therapist who kind of arranged materials for me and I used really everything I could find. I was using iodine and surgical tubing, gloves, syringes, a really sort of reprocessing the environment that I had experienced as a patient into these art pieces.”