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The insurrection at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 was not only a flagrant assault to our democracy, but a very traumatic event for millions of Americans across the country. Even if we were not physically in the Capitol on that day, we share a sense of horror, helplessness, and grief simply from viewing the video footage. And with the FBI’s recent warning of more violent demonstrations in all 50 states prior to President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, our fear and trauma only grow—with serious consequences to our mental health.
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) condemns this violent attack that has resulted in senseless loss of life, injury, and widespread trauma. This attack, rooted in misinformation, hate, and conspiracy theories, represents the antithesis of our values as an association and profession. AATA firmly denounces hate speech, violence, and the rhetoric that led to this attack and threatens to incite future attacks.
Feeling Stressed About the Capitol Attacks? Here Are Some Tools to Help Cope from a Trauma Art Therapist
Raquel Farrell-Kirk, MS, ATR-BC
I kept the television off and focused on my day at home with my 10-year-old son. At first, I easily ignored the text updates I was receiving from friends about the rally in Washington D.C., but as the situation escalated into an attack on the Capitol building, I could ignore the news no more.
I provided art therapy to community members in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, and remembering the way the impact of that event rippled out across the community motivated me to write this piece and share these strategies. These are tools my clients have found effective for managing stress, relieving tension and expressing sadness, anger and frustration.
Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair
Mark your calendar for AATA’s 52nd Annual Conference to be held at the newly renovated Town & Country Resort and Convention Center in sunny San Diego, CA! The core conference program will be Thursday, Oct. 28 to Saturday, Oct. 30.
Heather Denning, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LSW, Undergraduate Education Sub-Committee
The Undergraduate Education Sub-Committee is happy to announce it will be hosting the Undergraduate Poster Session virtually on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. EST. Although this event could not be hosted during the annual AATA conference in 2020, the committee is now able to host this event online showcasing student achievement and scholarship. This event requires pre-registration, is free, and is open to the public. Register today to help us celebrate our students’ work and scholarship!
Elisha-Rio P. Apilado, BFA, RBT
As a woman of color student, race has also been at the forefront of my mind and life. Although it is disheartening to see that it took another black man’s life for others to see how much of a more significant issue this is, hearing and seeing advocates and community organizers do their best to bring justice gives me hope. As a student, I am continuously questioning the books I read, films we’re assigned and make it a point to bring up questions that may be sometimes uncomfortable to talk about in class. Unfortunately, a lot of the work I’ve been reading still lacks research and support for other cultures, specifically Filipino cultures, and does not include an even wider cultural lens of treating this population.
Art Therapy in the News
Happy Hour With Operation Happy Nurse
PODCAST: In Happy Hour Season 1 Episode 3, Olivia and Carley interview Dr. Margaret Carlock-Russo, President of the American Art Therapy Association. Margaret goes into the difference between Art Therapy and utilizing adult coloring books for stress relief, as well as reminding us that “every single human being has creative potential, and can be creative, it’s just a matter of finding your way of doing that.”
The Washington Post
This slice of typical youth chaos at the subsidized Langston Lane Apartments in Southeast Washington is a remnant of more normal times that — with a lot of determination and private donations — has, so far, managed to survive the pandemic. The TraRon Center is an after-school program turned full-day pandemic learning pod that uses art therapy for children affected by gun violence.
AUDIO: Art therapy can be an effective form of treatment for people with dementia. The Arts in MIND program, created by Angel Duncan, M.A.-MFT, ATR in partnership with Yale University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit and the Yale University Art Gallery, targets younger patients with early onset dementia and those in the early stages of dementia.
Herald Times Reporter
Rather than ridding ourselves of holiday weight and bad habits, maybe we should instead focus on things we want to build: inner peace, contemplation, empathy and kindness. Art for wellness informed by art therapy research is an inexpensive and accessible approach to setting intentions and beginning the new year on a positive note. Diana Bolander spoke with Dr. Emily Nolan, a highly accomplished art therapist in Milwaukee, on some exercises and best practices for the new year.
The Zoe Report
"As a creative person, an occasional rut comes with the territory. Inspiration doesn’t always strike, (at least, not precisely when I need it to) but for the most part I’m usually hungry for a brainstorm or outlet to express my creative energy," writes Gina Marinelli for The Zoe Report. Marinelli spoke over the phone with Dr. Girija Kaimal, an associate professor at Drexel University’s Creative Arts Therapies PhD program and president-elect of the American Art Therapy Association. “Just absolutely be kind to yourself,” Kaimal told her. “Know that whatever you’re doing, whatever you can do, is enough."
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle
“Life changed pretty significantly the day we were told to go home and stay there for an indefinite period of time,” art therapist Angelica Joy Miskanin told the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. “I’m a therapist who is also a parent. So, what changed was not only starting to do virtual sessions and work from home but also be there for my five-year-old who was home with me.”
VIDEO: Art therapist Susan Devine curated artwork from friends and clients to show the various emotions people tie to COVID-19. Devine's clients talk about COVID so much that she thought about compiling pieces to show people they're not alone. “This is just a small token, but my hope and prayer is that my clients, people who have contributed to this will feel heard and know that they are not alone.”
Spectrum News 1
Chemotherapy can be emotionally and physically exhausting, but it's helped Dan Bulleit manage anxiety. Bulleit was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2018. He has been passionate about art his whole life, and it's now his therapy of choice after Laura Chamberlin, art therapist with Norton Cancer Institute, led him through several sessions.
Recounted in a 1949 children’s book called The Animals’ Conference, this story by Erich Kästner vividly captured both the yearnings and the frustrations motivating pacifists in the years following World War II. Considered today, it shows how little has changed (aside from the fact that many of the animals depicted in Kästner’s book are now facing extinction).
Guelph Mercury Tribune
How do you thrive creatively in a pandemic? That's what Monika Grau of Guelph is asking members of the public as she works on the final project of her graduate-level diploma in art therapy. “It has been so cool to see the public relate to it,” Grau told the Mercury Tribune.
Door County Pulse
"In a way, [art therapist] Jodi Rose spent 10 years working on the life-sized, bejeweled dress titled 'Timberella 3,' even though she only started actually working on it in 2018. 'When I started grad school for art therapy, the techniques started to open up a new journey. I became fascinated by the intersection of creativity, group process and communion with nature, so I decided to pursue art therapy, and that started an entire journey.'"
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.