I've been asked by Gil Levin to facilitate this arts therapy discussion forum.
Here are some possible topics for discussion:
What research have you read lately about art therapy that grabbed your attention? What innovative programs have you seen lately? Give us a summary of art therapy presentations you may have attended at conferences. Let's share interesting information on this topic. If you are a creative arts therapist, substitute 'arts' for art in the above. If you are a therapist in another discipline, where have you encountered art therapy? How does what you saw compare with your own work?
Art Therapy FAQ: The following is some answers to frequently asked questions about art therapy and some links to provide more information.
Q: What is art therapy, anyway? A: Art therapy (as practised by qualified art therapists) is a form of psychotherapy that uses art expression and talking to communicate feelings, concerns and ideas and access creative problem-solving. The art is used to express feelings and to communicate with the therapist, in addition to verbal counselling. Art-making and verbal work each take about half the session time. Art therapists have two years of masters level training, and do the same kinds of work with the same kinds of clients as therapists with a M.A. in Psychology or Social work. Academic information on art therapy can be obtained through the journals (U.S.) _Art Therapy_ and _The Arts in Psychotherapy_.
Q: Do you have to be good at art to benefit from art therapy? A: No, you don't have to have any talent, skill or experience with art to find art therapy useful any more than you need to be an eloquent orator to be helped by verbal therapy. Art therapy is about personal expression, not aesthetics.
Q: So the client makes art and then you interpret it? A: No. Different colours, shapes and styles of drawing mean different things to different people and different cultures. (There may be some who disagree here, if the theory they work from emphasized therapist interpretation) In art therapy, the art means what its creator says it means. Exploring the art and explaining what it means is an important part of the process.
Q: Can a social worker or psychologist do art therapy? A: Not unless he/she is also an art therapist. Although other therapists can and do use art in therapeutic ways, doing art therapy requires two years of professional training at the Masters level. A 'real' art therapist will always be a member of a national association like the Canadian Art Therapy Association or American Art Therapy Association, or a provincial or state art therapy association. I repeat, just as it is unethical to call yourself a doctor or psychologist without proper training, it is unethical to use the term 'art therapy' to describe therapeutic work with art unless you are a qualified art therapist.
Art Therapy information on the net:
*The Art therapy in Canada homepage: general info about art therapy, conferences, research references, and links. http://www.io.org/~phansen/index.html This page includes links to the following pages:
*The C.A.T.S. creative arts therapy homepage:
*The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) which publishes the journal Art Therapy.
and several others.
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