On Friday June 12 at 4 p.m., the Trump Administration finalized a Health and Human Services (HHS) rule
enabling health care providers to refuse care to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery. The rule change
reverses an Obama-era regulation interpreting the ban on sex discrimination under the Affordable Care Act to apply to cases of transgender discrimination. The Human Rights Campaign has already announced
that it will file a lawsuit challenging this ruling. The timing of this was interesting to say the least, as June is Pride Month, and the regularly scheduled celebratory parades were cancelled due to COVID-19.
“AATA stands firmly in support of the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) communities and continues to reject each individual effort the Administration makes to systematically rollback protections for these communities.”
(Read the full statement
from AATA responding to multiple federal agencies being encouraged to adopt a similar binary definition of sex in 2018.)
Then on June 15, a landmark Supreme Court ruling
brought something to celebrate this Pride Month. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that workplace discrimination protections based on sex in civil rights law includes sexual orientation and transgender status. “We no longer live in a society where a gay couple can be married on Friday and fired for that marriage on Monday,” one of the lawyers explained
Juneteenth marks the occasion on June 19, 1865, in which slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally told that President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery—more than two years later. Since then, the event has become the most widely
recognized celebration of the end of slavery. As the national dialogue about race continues amidst the protests following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, this year’s Juneteenth offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the history of this date. Already, many corporations including Twitter, Target, Nike and the National Football League, have declared Juneteenth a company holiday—and state and federal lawmakers are introducing legislation to do the same. Others are commemorating Juneteenth with a focus on mental health and racial trauma.
During the final meeting of the Art Therapy Advisory Committee on June 16, the first set of licensure applications (approximately 15-20) were approved! However, after a four-year journey of implementing the art therapy license enacted in 2016, the way forward in the application process is once again uncertain as authority to process applications transitions from the current Advisory Committee of the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners to a new State Board of Creative Arts Therapies, effective June 19, 2020.
How do we ensure funding is in place to meet the needs of underserved communities?
What effects will prolonged social isolation have on individuals living with mental illness and addictions?
Telehealth expansion has opened up access to our workforce like never before, but where do we go from here?
These are some of the most pressing questions facing our workforce in the wake of COVID-19. And we’ll be tackling these and more at Hill Day At Home
. Register for free
to join the AATA and the National Council for Behavioral Health on June 23-24 for a full day of sessions and workshops on behavioral health policy followed by a series of advocacy events you can participate in from home. Let’s come together as a unified voice to bring vital mental health issues to Congress.
The Multicultural Committee
Coming soon! AATA's Multicultural Committee is launching a digital art project for which we encourage art therapy professionals, students, local chapters, and graduate and undergraduate programs to contribute a digital copy of an artwork for our project, the Healing Quilt. We realize there is a need to address the hurt, pain, and unease within our art therapy community and society at large as we all try to come to terms with the life altering impact of both a worldwide pandemic and nationwide pattern of systemic racism and abuse.
Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair
The recent events surrounding the death of George Floyd have yet again opened a deep wound of racial injustice in our country. At the same time, art therapists have continued to work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 global crisis. Now more than ever, we need healing. Our Friday plenary, Altered Altars: Collective Healing will be a cornerstone of our efforts to provide the space and content for self-reflection and healing at the conference.
Janet Kempf, ATR-BC, Chair, ACATE
The Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE) is currently seeking applications for an open educator member position. Please consider applying or nominating someone that you believe will work tirelessly to promote best practices for art therapy educational programs. Members of ACATE will be on the forefront of the implementation of the new accreditation standards and will help to educate all art therapy education stakeholders.
Ori Cruz, MPS, LCAT
The murder of George Floyd has impacted everyone at the job in some way — from discussions with patients, with other staff members and amongst the patients, the statewide Steering Committee to every worker at the hospital. I am a cis-gender male, Puerto Rican and gay, and I suffer from anxiety. Issues of privilege are not strangers to me. I also work with sex offenders. Getting my patients to talk about it is an ongoing task. Racism, sexism and homophobia are on a parallel vibration for me. It is something I have been battling since childhood.
In our previous issue of Art Therapy Today
, we highlighted some of the many mental health advocates and artists in the Black community and shared mental health resources and materials to better educate ourselves around anti-racism. We know that we barely scratched the surface on this topic and invite you to join the conversation on our forum
. Please share what you have been reading, watching, thinking, and doing to move us towards a just society.
Gioia Chilton, PhD, ATR-BC, LCPAT, CSAC, Nominating Sub-Committee Chair
We need leadership that is ready to tackle systemic racism, a global pandemic, and other, as yet unknown, challenges we will be facing in the coming years. At the same time, AATA leaders will be continuing efforts on educational, licensure, membership, and public awareness fronts to advance the profession of art therapy. Complete your Candidate Applications and Nomination Forms by midnight EDT today, June 18, 2020.
Each Mind Matters
Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, the date when former slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which meant they were free. On Juneteenth, we should reflect on the lingering impact of trauma stemming from slavery and institutional racism on the enslaved's descendants.
"Art speaks to people on levels that words cannot reach or cannot describe," Liz Zaiman of One Family One Soul told KARE 11. Murals and art projects have been appearing across the Twin Cities to honor George Floyd.
Is it possible that art can help doctors understand their patients and address racial disparities? “Prescribing Art: How Observation Enhances Medicine” is a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Medicine, the Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The collaboration helps medical students improve their observational skills to make more accurate diagnoses.
COVID-19 is changing the way art therapists serve clients that may be facing increased levels of anxiety stemming from the pandemic. “I feel like I’m working nonstop now, because the need is so great for people to talk about their experiences, and their depression and anxiety,” Katherine Jackson, an art therapist and associate professor at Ursuline College, told ideastream.
The Royal Gazette
Richelle Richards, 46, can still remember how difficult it was to be a teenager. She is the creator of Brave Girls Academy, a five-week online empowerment programme. Richards is an art therapist and has used her skills to create exercises that encourage girls to think about self-confidence, courage and setting boundaries.
Block Club Chicago
Far South Side, an arts education nonprofit, delivers art supplies to local students to provide a therapeutic outlet for youth experiencing instability related to COVID-19. When the nonprofit asked local families what they needed, more than half requested art therapy for their kids. SkyART also offers virtual art therapy sessions to some kids served by partner schools, homeless shelters and social service centers.
For hundreds of years, artists from Francisco Goya to Frida Kahlo have used art for healing and as a tool to share gratitude, compassion, love, and solidarity in crises of health. Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movement, the current generation of artists is spreading compassion and healing through painting, sculpture, textiles, drawings, and design.
In 2014, Tania Kaczynski founded the New Art Studio, which provides a therapeutic studio space for asylum seekers and refugees. It is the only organisation of its kind in London, U.K. During international Refugee Week - whose theme this year is “Imagine” - Kaczynski is the lead art therapist and writes about the impact lockdown has had on her members and how the organization has adapted to run remotely.
At Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Head Start/Early Head Start, staff members are focusing on wellness in a creative way as they navigate through the pandemic. Staff from each of the centers took part in a series of SIUE/STL Art Hives hosted virtually, using artistic expression to connect, relax and decompress.
One year ago, bullets flew into Bob Montague’s office. He was so focused on his work that he didn’t know what was happening at first. It took a chunk of drywall hitting the Virginia Beach Public Utilities director for it to register. As Montague sat there, all he could do was wait and see if the gunman would open his door and take aim. Following the tragedy, Virginia Beach brought in different counselors and therapists for employees.