Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair
During these challenging times of coronavirus, we understand the apprehension about making plans to attend a conference which may require air travel and a hotel stay—and is still five months away. Given the feedback we are receiving from our members, we are developing plans to ensure that everyone will have an opportunity to participate in the AATA 2020 Conference in some shape or form, be it in person or virtually.
Margaret Carlock-Russo, EdD, LCAT(NY), ATR-BC, ATCS, AATA President
We’ve all had to adjust our lives in many ways to protect ourselves and others during the novel coronavirus pandemic. For anyone, the adjustments, uncertainty, added precautions, social distancing, etc. can be challenging. For individuals with dementia and their caregivers, the difficulty is compounded by changes in availability of critical support systems, suspended in-home services, closed daycare centers, and stricter protocols in community residences. *A version of this article is also published on Faber Castell’s blog, Creativity for Life.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our second webinar, Mental Health on the Front Lines of COVID-19,
last week. You can now access the recording
on our online continuing education platform if you missed it and would like to earn continuing education credit (one clock hour). Panelists shared information on how they've adapted their practice, advocated for and protected themselves and their clients, and prepared to face the mental health challenges to come. This recording and all AATA content related to COVID-19 will remain free for members. (Check out our first webinar, Tools for Therapists to Care for Clients and Self during COVID-19
, if you missed it.)
AATA is pleased to announce that two art therapy master’s programs received initial accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) this spring.
Join the National Council for Behavioral Health and the American Art Therapy Association for Hill Day at Home
— June 23-24, 2020! The event includes a full day of sessions and workshops on behavioral health policy followed by a series of advocacy events you can participate in from home.
Join us on Thursday, May 28 at 8:00 pm (EDT) for the first of our new online meeting series. The special topic for May 2020 is "Staying Connected During Challenging Times: Exploring Resources for AATA Members." Join the AATA staff as we discuss the impact the pandemic is having on our community and answer questions from members. We’ll share initial results of our community wide survey, changes we’re making to conference planning, and resources for your career and community. This is a members-only event, so be sure to login to MyAATA before registering
. We want to hear from you and hope you will join us.
We know that it is a difficult time for many and that having support from your communities and organizations is important more than ever. AATA has implemented a 30-day grace period for all memberships, which means you will continue to have access to member resources and content for 30 days beyond their original membership expiration date. To check the dates of your membership term, please visit your MyAATA profile page
Jonathan Soard, MFA
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt deeply during my current internships. The semester began with three sites; juvenile detention, opioid treatment, and in-patient care. The plan was ambitious, well rounded, and demanding but two were cancelled due to COVID-19, even though I found client-therapist alliances forming through art therapy. Fortunately, I was still able to focus on in-patient treatment in a behavioral health facility. We observe every available safety guideline, and I practice self-imposed quarantine outside of the treatment facility like any other essential health care worker.
Gioia Chilton, PhD, ATR-BC, LCPAT, CSAC, Nominating Sub-Committee Chair
From responding to the global pandemic to moving forward with professional education and licensure, our art therapy association requires an active and engaged Board of Directors. Many of AATA’s members have incredible energy and skills that could benefit our organization. The Nominating Sub-Committee encourages you to bring forward that expertise through the nominations process and through participating in the association’s elections! Consider nominating yourself or a colleague for possible inclusion in the 2020 Candidate Slate for election to the AATA’s Board of Directors. Please submit Candidate Applications and Nomination Forms by June 18, 2020.
Andrea Davis, MA, ATR-BC, LPC-AT-S, Honors Working Group Chair
Hello from quarantine! As I sit here in my daytime pajamas, I am reminded it is time to recognize a colleague who is deserving of national recognition! This is your chance to recognize a colleague for their commitment to art therapy, whether it be through association work, educating the art therapists of tomorrow, or providing clinical services to those in need. Be sure to check out MyAATA to find nomination forms and more information, and get your application in by the deadline on June 15, 2020!
Jill McNutt, Ph.D., ATRL, LPC, ATCS, Research Committee Chair
Opportunities to participate in research and learn more about the status of evidence-based practice in art therapy include, annual research grants and awards, paper and panel presentations at the annual conference including a Research Roundtable, and a student poster presentation. The 2020 research awards and grants include: the Rawley Silver Research Award, a Seed Grant for Clinical Art Therapy Research, and the Gladys Agell Award for Excellence in Research. Applications are due by June 15, 2020.
Girija Kaimal, EdD, MA, ATR-BC, President-Elect
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, two exciting seed grants to promote art therapy research were funded in 2018. Read about these two initial projects, one funded to study art therapy as a treatment for pain and the second to support immigrant and refugee mental health at the U.S./Mexico border. We are delighted to offer another Seed Grant for Art Therapy Clinical Research this year! If you have an innovative and collaborative research idea, make sure to submit your application by the June 15, 2020 deadline.
The Nancy Schoebel Distinguished Legislative Award is designed to recognize AATA members’ ongoing efforts to elevate the art therapy profession. We know that any legislative success is thanks to the hard work and perseverance of volunteers on the ground. Now is your chance to recognize those colleagues who are making a difference in your community by nominating them for this prestigious award! The deadline for nominations is June 15, 2020.
The Washington Post
Artist Marilee Shapiro Asher turned 107 last year, and columnist Petula Dvorak was looking forward to going to one of her shows this month to see what she’s been up to since their last meeting. Marilee had her first art show in Chicago in 1938. Her pieces were sold in Washington galleries for decades. She also used her talents for good as an art therapist at the National Institute of Mental Health. The COVID-19 pandemic not only cancelled the show but also threatened Marilee’s life.
The Middletown Press
“Stars cannot shine without darkness” was just one of the hopeful messages that teens in care at the state’s psychiatric facility shared to thank the therapists and others helping change their lives. The youth, who work with rehabilitation art therapists at the facility, are using their creative skills to work through their traumas and also praise others as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Concordia University graduate students Alexandra Bischoff and Marbella Carlos are two of the finalists for 2020’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Storytellers competition. Carlos is an MA student in the Department of Creative Art Therapies and was selected for her submission called, “Healing in the Margins: Using Art to Address the Gaps in Mental Health for People of Colour.” The piece examines access to mental health therapies for racialized people in Canada.
Melanie Arroyo is an art therapist and staff counselor at University of Missouri-Kansas City and has seen two extremes among her clients, most of whom are Hispanic or Latinx. On one end of the spectrum, clients are in denial and on the other they are experiencing heightened anxiety prompting panic attacks.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nine-year-old Landon Whitewood was a busy kid. His schedule included Cub Scouts, swimming lessons, karate and hanging out with friends. His mothers Deb and Susan Whitewood, who adopted him from the foster care system as a toddler, have also prioritized time for trauma therapy, family-focused therapy and art therapy through Wesley Family Services three days a week. When Pittsburgh started shutting down due to the pandemic in mid-March, these activities ceased for the Whitewood family — except for therapy. Landon’s parents knew it would be essential for him to access mental health services during an international crisis.
VIDEO: WDRB reporter Keith Kaiser spent time at Louisville Expressive Therapies (LET) to learn how to reduce anxiety through different activities. LET was founded by three friends, Theresa Adamchik (art therapist), Emily Ibershoff and Julia Purcell (music therapists), and it continues its mission and has expanded to include counseling services.
The New York Times
The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing Medicare to make telemedicine more financially feasible. Now doctors, patients and regulators will be watching to see if the changes become permanent. In March, Mary Jane Sturgis received call from her doctor’s office, saying that her physician was now working from home and suggesting an alternative for her scheduled checkup: an appointment on Zoom.
The Washington Post
While other artists stood proudly beside their works of art at a gallery at St. John’s University in Queens, Fevzi Yazici missed the opening night, which would have been his first professional art exhibit. Instead, he was 5,000 miles away locked away in a prison cell in Turkey.
Librarian and art psychotherapist Patrick Byrne is taking leave from his job as a librarian to venture into what he calls "the unknown." Byrne plans to set up a practice as an art psychotherapist. He is also currently doing what he calls ‘playing’ – making and sending colourful postcards with abstract designs, to friends, people he likes, people who have been kind to him and even to someone he burned bridges with.