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The AATA is thrilled to announce that licensure of art therapists in the District of Columbia is now official law! The art therapy licensure legislation passed congressional review, the final step of the legislative process, and was assigned Law Number L23-0115 on June 24, 2020. With the Virginia license recently enacted in May of 2020, art therapy licensure is now the law throughout the entire DMV (District – Maryland – Virginia) area.
July is known as Minority Mental Health Month and, more recently, people have been using the more inclusive term, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month. As Mental Health America puts it, "The continued use of 'minority or marginalized' sets up BIPOC communities in terms of their quantity instead of their quality and removes their personhood...The word 'minority' also emphasizes the power differential between 'majority' and 'minority' groups and can make BIPOC feel as though 'minority' is synonymous with inferiority."
Gabrielle Cooper, BS
As art therapists, it is our duty to stay up to date on social issues and how they affect our clients. Black people, LGBTQIA+ people, and those with intersecting identities are especially traumatized by the videos and knowledge of what is continuing to happen in America today. Right now is a perfect time for art therapists to show how much we care and support this movement by centering the voices of the most marginalized, evaluating our personal biases, and advocating for our clients.
The current issue of Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association is a special issue on the topic art therapy and disability studies. Co-guest editors Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi and Catherine Hyland Moon described the impetus for this focus in their editorial, "Though the art therapy field has long provided services for people with disabilities, it has not fully engaged with the underlying conditions that lead to social exclusion, mental distress, disempowerment, and discrimination. Disability studies provides a means to challenge and broaden art therapy theory and practice..."
The issue contains nine articles, brief reports, viewpoints, and cover art that integrate lived experience with critical perspectives that address structural oppression, intersectionality, and stigma in order to increase access and improve art therapy services, research, and education.
Journal cover artwork: "Whitman and the Meandering River" by Jennifer Radil
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 that may require air travel and a hotel stay—and is still four months away. We are pleased to announce that we revised our conference refund policy to make it even more flexible than before. Due to the unprecedented nature of this year’s conference, we have revised the policy to include a refund for attendees who may need to cancel their participation for any reason related to COVID-19.
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.
Virtual Member Meeting with AATA's President: AATA's Focus on Equity, Where We've Been, and Where We're Going
The last four years have been tumultuous for our nation, and today we find ourselves confronting two simultaneous pandemics – racism and COVID-19. Debate in the art therapy community regarding Karen Pence's support of art therapy fueled a journey of listening and learning for the AATA that motivated and informed a needed plan of integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of our work as an association.
Hosted by AATA President Dr. Carlock-Russo, this meeting will review events that led to where AATA is today on what has been a multi-year journey of increasing our actions and advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion and all of the values we share as an organization and profession. We will discuss divisions in the field, lessons learned, areas of growth, what still needs to be done, what is happening, and AATA's commitment to increased transparency and equity – now and moving forward.
We invite questions to be sent to email@example.com. This is a members-only event, so be sure to login with your MyAATA credentials before registering.
Farah Salem A., MAATC
I currently work at Between Friends Chicago where I offer services to children, youth, adults and families who have survived domestic violence (DV). Since the shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19, many domestic violence cases have increased. Many domestic violence survivors have been highly impacted and crisis calls have increased. My work with DV survivors has always prioritized safety planning, however, since the pandemic started, I am now focusing even more on offering direct services, which involves creative safety strategies considering the shelter-in-place order.
Art Therapy in the News
Spotify - Source of Zeal
PODCAST: In this episode, Lindsey Vance, art therapist and creator of ArTestimony, shares how she got started in art therapy, the importance of creative expression, how creativity can help the younger generation grow, and more.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has given researchers from Florida State University’s Art Therapy Program a $99,000 grant to study the use of the arts as a proactive mental health strategy for Generation Z.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs has granted initial accreditation to the Springfield College Art Therapy/Counseling master’s degree program effective immediately.
The Nexus TJU
Rachel Brandoff, PhD, practices and teaches art therapy at Thomas Jefferson University, and uses materials like beads and wire to help clients work through manageable problems, such as deciding which beads to choose, as a bridge to more difficult problems. “Art therapy is a space for problem-solving which is a skill that takes practice,” says Dr. Brandoff, “and that can be generalized to other parts of life.”
The Mercury News
Growing up in Ethiopia, Netsanet Tesfay remembers sitting at the kitchen table for hours drawing everything she saw, including pots, pans and a long-necked jebana — or kettle — for coffee. Now, the artist and mother of two who is known for her bold and bright female imagery is finding inspiration in a similar way, especially during spring’s sheltering in place.
Phil Wall is a United Kingdom-based Instagram artist who goes by the name Never Stay Dead. He uses his art to show common mental health disorders as monsters that loom over those affected by them. While Wall shares a variety of work on his Instagram page, this effort is focused on raising awareness and understanding about what it's like to live with an invisible disorder or mental illness.
Children who come from low-income families will have a chance to color their world a little brighter this summer. Arts organization Kids Create Change, in partnership with Northwestern University and with help from the community, is providing free art materials and virtual activities through a program called Access Art.
Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph, adults with intellectual disabilities at Divine Providence Village (DPV) are discovering their artistic and athletic talents, led by a credentialed art therapist. The money will enable DPV to purchase art supplies, physical fitness items and sensory materials for residents of its campus.
A SkyArt employee puts together and delivers around 50 kits with art supplies, such as colored pencils, sketchbooks and canvases, to kids attending the community center twice a week. “SkyArt is the only free accessible art program in the whole city of Chicago,” said executive director Sarah Ward. Some of the kits encourage creativity, while others are created specifically for art therapy sessions.
Creativity has the power to support mental health. With everything going on in the world, art may be an especially healing and underrated mode of self-care. “Creativity is a wellspring, and you can always tap into it,” Leah Guzman, board-certified art therapist and author of Essential Art Therapy Exercises, tells SELF. “With guided support, such as art therapy, you can learn to cope with traumatizing events that are happening now or have happened in the past.”
Since children can greatly benefit from art therapy, it is important to define it and distinguish it as its own profession from what it’s not. While engagement in the arts in any way is beneficial, art therapy is a much deeper experience that is rather unique and powerful, especially for children.
As businesses across the country closed and the COVID-19 death rate climbed into the thousands, Dr. Jennifer Mullan, a New Jersey-based psychologist, found herself busier than usual. In May, after George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, launching weeks of protests against police brutality and racial injustice and bringing decades of racial trauma to the surface for many Black Americans, Mullan's workload skyrocketed once again.
The Syndey Morning Herald
Juliette Bourne, 14, sees more than just her face staring back at her when she looks at her self-portrait. Rather, she sees a reflection of the strange times that COVID-19 has brought on. “To someone viewing the artwork, they might think it’s just a portrait that doesn’t show much… but with my process that I took, it reflects a lot of my life in quarantine,” Bourne told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The AATA's Art Therapy Today includes a digest of the most important news selected for the AATA from thousands of sources. Guest articles may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Publication of any guest article is at the sole discretion of the AATA. The opinions expressed and/or contents of guest articles, advertisements, and external links included in any AATA publication do not represent the positions or policies of the AATA. The AATA makes no warrenty or representation concerning the accuracy of such content.