Art Therapy Round Up: Connecting & Creating During COVID-19

A few years ago, the site brightdrops.com posted this about Albert Einstein’s very well known and inspiring quote “Creativity is Contagious” (a favorite!):

It’s funny to think of creativity being contagious, like a virus, but it really does spread from one person to another, just by the act of that second person watching the first be creative…Then find that others start acting the same way, and before long you’ve got a virtual creative epidemic on your hands. (brightdrops.com, 2016)

I think of creativity in this way a lot.  So much, it inspired me to dedicate an entire chapter in The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media about my concept of 6 Degrees of Creativity and examples of how our art making and creative deeds can have a profound influence among and around us, on and offline.  These times of COVID-19 create a unique lens (in many ways!) about our shared impact and aspirations related to the power of creativity and its contagion factor.

Art therapists and the art therapy community have been responding via social media and online in these times of COVID-19’s pandemic outbreak by spreading enhanced and new opportunities for virtual connection, community, and creativity. These efforts offer meaningful ways to support one another, exchange art in digital spaces, and manage this life altering experience together through creativity and acts of art.  This is very refreshing to see each day as we continue to navigate this crisis.

This post offers a round up of some of the online places, spaces, and projects  that have been mobilized and activated by members of the art therapy community to assist during this time with ways to connect & create:

  • The Potomac Art Therapy Association (PATA) on Facebook and Instagram has been regularly sharing and re-posting creative expressions that art therapists, graduate art therapy programs, and art therapy students have been making during these times of having to shelter in place, physical distancing, and spending more time at home.  PATA is using the hashtag #stayinandcreate if you want to follow what they share or use it while you are making art at home during this time.
  • Art therapists have been using their blogs to reach out with art-based resources and creative self-care strategies — some great examples are here from art therapist Sherri Jacob’s blog and here on art therapist Dr. Lani Gerity’s blog.
  • Digital art sharing &  making spaces have also been created by art therapists to respond to COVID-19, make art together virtually, and create creative connection such as the Facebook Groups Coronavirus Response Art by Art Therapists and #Coronart.  Creative Contact, an  artist trading card swap is bringing together art therapy practitioners, educators, and students to share miniature artworks and their creating process online during this time of staying home with the future goal to exchange our art with one another through the mail eventually.  This project has included virtual meet-ups where art-making takes place together as a group online.

Think about how you can start your own creative chain reaction of compassion, kindness, or connection during this challenging time through acts of art making and your social media activity.  Consider participating in a random act of creative kindness with hopeful messages to leave for others to discover.  Examples I have seen over the last few weeks include sidewalk chalk expressions, window art, or public and street art that others can take in from a safe physical distance or behind the screen of their device.  The round up links above are also good examples to start with for inspiration!

Digital Time Capsule: What Do Art Therapists Dislike & Like About Technology in 2020?

Inspired by contributions that are coming in for the Art Therapy & Technology Time Capsule, this week takes a look at what art therapists dislike & enjoy about technology in their 2020 lives:

Dislikes

  • Constant checking of email, social media and its impact on being truly present
  • Lacking mindful use with intention & purpose
  • Frustrating issues with connecting
  • Cyberbullying
  • Trolling
  • Cost
  • Concerns about the impact on mental health, especially for youth
  • Impact on anxiety, depression, suicide?
  • Feeling lost or immobilized without access to the Internet
  • Reliance on the quality of wifi
  • The time & energy it takes to learn, re-learn & navigate new technology or changes
  • Disclosure anxiety, digital permanence, its impact, safety concerns
  • Limited screen size/frames for interacting
  • Beliefs that teletherapy is less effective
  • Others that still do not understand how to use technology wisely
  • Lack of means to make envisioned tools & ideas come to life

Likes

Applications & Digital Media:

  • Available ways to create, especially via smartphones
  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • Virtual reality (VR)
  • Immersive environments
  • Taking photos of personal art & sharing this art on social media
  • Saves time

Accessibility to:

  • New ideas for self care, art therapy directives
  • See clients or supervisees not able to physically come to their office/studio
  • Support network
  • Collaboration
  • Professional training opportunities

Inspiration, Aspiration & Hopes:

  • Technology’s potential
  • Expanding possibilities
  • Growth opportunities
  • Innovation
  • Possibilities and interest from clients

Connection with:

  • Colleagues
  • Art therapy information & resources
  • Community
  • People worldwide, near & far
  • Hearing about other art therapists
  • Seeing other people’s art
  • Having conversations with other art therapists no matter where they live
  • Communication across physical distances

At the beginning of this new year & decade, the idea of creating an art therapy & technology digital time capsule seemed like it would be a fun and collaborative project to invite current art therapists and future art therapists to participate in! This digital time capsule is an opportunity to document our relationship and activities with technology in 2020 as art therapists and re-visit the responses 10 years from now in 2030. Feel free to contribute your own response in the comments below. You can also connect to previous posts in this series here.

Art Therapy & Technology Digital Time Capsule: How Do You Use Technology as an Art Therapist in 2020?

At the beginning of this new year & decade, the idea of creating an art therapy & technology digital time capsule seemed like it would be a fun and collaborative project to invite current art therapists and future art therapists to participate in! This digital time capsule is an opportunity to document our relationship and activities with technology in 2020 as art therapists and re-visit the responses 10 years from now in 2030. As this time capsule project begins to take shape with contributions, sharing some of the questions & responses from the art therapy community also makes this process fun!

DigitalTimeCapsule

This first blog post features examples from art therapists about how they use current technology in 2020 as an art therapist. Responses are divided into seven areas and includes practices, tools, platforms, software, and activities related to therapeutic work, administrative tasks, learning & professional development, research, teaching & education, as well as professional connection and the art therapist’s own creative practice.

 Professional practice with clients:

  • Online group work, digital art therapy, telehealth & teletherapy, virtual reality
  • Populations: Young adults living w/ cancer, adolescents, older adults
  • Chatrooms, Skype Business, InTouch
  • Playing music via phone, using a customized, appropriate playlist created on Pandora
  • Setting timer(s) on phone for managing group time
  • Recommending, encouraging mental health apps for clients to use

Professional practice administrative tasks:

  • Photographing client art to insert digitally into their electronic medical record
  • Scheduling, Calendar use
  • Documentation: treatment plans, client notes, billing
  • Theranest, GoogleDocs
  • Social media (FB) for promoting practice, events
  • Professional website

Professional development, learning:

  • Accessing the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) journal online
  • Purchasing books online (i.e. Amazon)
  • Online CEUs
  • AATA Conference app

 Research:

  • Conduct research, project collaboration
  • Search online for literature, directives, news/research about art therapy
  • Dropbox, GoogleDocs, Twitter

Teaching, Education, Supervision:

  • Online course teaching via Blackboard. Moodle
  • Teaching graduate art therapy students about digital art therapy
  • Online supervision via Skype, Zoom, WebEx

Professional Connection:

  • Finding, sharing information and resources about art therapy
  • Promoting art therapy to others
  • Network with other art therapists, colleagues
  • Communicate with colleagues, art therapy friends via email, text
  • Communicate with national and state art therapy associations, professional organizations
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Art Therapist Creative Expression:

  • Digital & virtual painting
  • Virtual reality
  • Finding inspiration
  • Sharing own art via social media (i.e. Instagram)
  • ArtRage, altering photos

Contribute to our digital time capsule! What are some examples of how you use technology as an art therapist in 2020? Leave your responses below in the comments section!

Art Therapy Buffalo on the Grid

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

Last month this series spoke with Rachel Sikorski, one of the founding members of Art Therapy Buffalo about some of the efforts of this professional group for art therapists in the Buffalo and Niagara, New York region – including how their web presence has been helpful to supporting their mission.  This week’s chat features an interview that took place virtually during one of community’s monthly meet ups where members of Art Therapy Buffalo were able to add their own experiences. Their meeting was held at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art, where the group has had an exhibit on display since early June to “respond to the current economic-social-political climate, and how this has impacted art therapists both personally and professionally, as they use art to help clients of all ages who may be struggling with hopelessness, fear, and anxiety as it relates to changes in leadership and policy, on a personal and collective level.”

This conversation features Rachel, Teresa Weston, Carla Reeves, Michelle Price, Sandie Crocker, Karie Schwartz, Katie Mullaney, Madonna Adymy, Andrea Koch, and Lisa Horlein who share more about their work and how the community of Art Therapy Buffalo has helped decrease a sense of isolation, foster support, and awareness about art therapy.  You can also learn additional information about the art therapy work of the entire Art Therapy Buffalo team here.

A few of the topics discussed in this chat include:

  • How community building and networking benefits art therapists
  • The role social media can play in outreach efforts
  • Exhibits as a form of advocacy and awareness about art therapy and a voice during times of change & uncertainty

Listen to the meet up below!

If you are interested in connecting with the Art Therapy Buffalo community to learn more about art therapy, obtain services in Western New York, or network with art therapists in this area, please visit arttherapybuffalo.com.

Resources mentioned in our conversation:

Spending time to virtually meet up with the art therapists of Art Therapy Buffalo was great— thank you to everyone who was able to attend and chat about their experiences!

This entire series and all the art therapists who have contributed about how they have leveraged and navigated the Internet and social media has been inspiring to share. Many of the conversations have had crossover themes and topics, but at the same time uniquely different reflections, resources, and experiences. A top ten summary of content inspired by this series can be read here.  Thank you for listening and tuning in!

Art Therapist on the Grid: Jade Herriman

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

Art Therapist on the Grid: Jade Herriman | The Art Therapist's Guide to Social MediaThis week’s interview features Jade Herriman, a transpersonal Art Therapist and accredited Barbara Sher Life Coach based in Sydney, Australia. She works as an art therapist with clients in mental health, women’s health, and parents and children, as well as supporting professional women with many interests to bring their creative dreams to life. She is a keen art maker, participates in multiple mail art projects, and loves the way creativity can be a release, joy, mirror, comfort, inspiration and more. She loves social media for the connections it brings.

In this chat Jade reflects on her digital presence online as an art therapist and artist, including her blogging practices and strategies for engaging on different social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Jade also shares her insights about the benefits of using social media as an art therapist, as well as some of the challenges.

Listen to the chat below!

Connect with Jade online here:

Resources and sites mentioned in our conversation:

Thanks to Jade for this lovely conversation and sharing her experiences! Stay connected for a new chat coming soon….

Previous Interviews:

Art Therapist on the Grid: Theresa Zip

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

This week’s chat features Theresa Zip, MA, BEd, a Registered Art Therapist practicing in Edmonton, Canada.  Theresa always has loved making art. She got 3/4 of her BFA in art (from 2 different schools!) then switched to art education. She began teaching in 1983, back when technology was the hand-cranked purple-ink spirit duplicator! She remembers her first foray into word-processed exams, students freaked out that they wouldn’t be able to recognize familiar content in this weirdly professional looking format. Teaching for over 20 years (mostly high school, with some elementary and junior high sprinkled in) it was two years teaching art in a maximum-security juvenile detention facility that convinced her to make the shift to study art therapy.

For the past eight years, Theresa has had her own private practice. For the past six, she has focused exclusively on working with children and youth referred through her local Children’s Services department. Her studio, The Big Picture, is a modest basement hideaway, chock-full of a wide range of raw materials for making art. It is a tiny wonderland of exploration and empowerment for clients and art therapist alike!

The flip side of the perks of being independent, hidden away, and working one-to-one also has its drawbacks: among them can be feelings of invisibility, self-doubt and professional isolation. While nothing can replace face-to-face mutual support, Theresa has found valuable encouragement and community in several online art therapy related groups, projects, mental health resources, and art communities.  In this conversation, Theresa speaks to how she has accessed and benefitted from these resources for professional development, support, and self-care as an independent art therapy practitioner.

Listen to the interview:

Inspiration & resources mentioned in our conversation:

Some of the projects Theresa has participated in:

Theresa also recommends:

Many thanks to Theresa for sharing her experiences with the resources she accesses online and its impact!  Interview #6 goes live next week! 🙂

Previous Interviews:

Art Therapist on the Grid: Lani Gerity

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

This interview features Lani Gerity, DA, ATR a puppet-maker, author, world traveller, and a trained art therapist with a master’s degree and a doctorate from New York University (NYU). Lani studied with art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer and edited Edith’s last book, Art as Therapy and Creativity and the Dissociative Patient as well as articles and chapters in other’s books. Lani is also co-editor of the forthcoming book, The Legacy of Edith Kramer- A Multifaceted View to be published by Routledge in December 2017.

Lani maintains a website, blogs, and online groups filled with encouragement and alternative arts for artists, art therapists, and art educators. In 2006, she founded the online art community 14 Secrets for a Happy Artist’s Life. 14 Secrets created a safe space online where art therapists and other artists could come together in a “virtual art studio” to inspire art making, exchanging, and support creative practice.

“Art inspired activity in the form of exchanges, collaborations, prompts, and dialogue in the virtual creative space of 14 Secrets explores themes related to resilience, generosity, as well as concepts rooted in positive psychology and self care. Gerity’s innovative use of the Internet at this time offered an important need among art therapists longing to reconnect with or sustain personal art making for their own well-being.” (Chapter 7- Social Media and the Art Therapist’s Creative Practice, The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media)

In this chat, Lani shares:

  • inspirations and influences that helped form and develop 14 Secrets
  • the value of online art communities and the virtual art studio concept
  • how social media can intersect with creative daily practice
  • how Edith Kramer’s mentoring & values impact Lani’s own happy artist’s life online and beyond

Listen to the interview:

Learn more about Lani’s creative work and connect to her online here:

Other inspiration & resources mentioned in our conversation:

 

  • Gretchen Miller’s round robin book from a 14 Secrets mail art project. Page by Lani Gerity (2009).

    Thank you to Lani for contributing to this series and all her inspiration on and offline- Stay connected for another art therapist interview next week! 🙂

Previous Interviews:

Art Therapist on the Grid: Rachel Sikorski

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

This week’s topic focuses on the value of community for art therapists and the role social media can play in strengthening a sense of belonging, decrease isolation, provide support, and educate others about art therapy. Chapter 4 of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media is completely dedicated to exploring this subject. One of the categories that digital communities can focus on is related to geographic area and serving a specific location.

“Many professionally driven regional art therapy groups use social media to enhance their group’s capacity building, local efforts, and the group’s overall mission while joining art therapists together who share a mutual geographic locality. Many state art therapy chapters and academic programs have organized communities in the form of digital groups for its members, students, or alumni. An example of a growing community leveraging the power of social media to mobilize engagement, advocacy, support, and advance the art therapy profession in their area is Art Therapy Buffalo. This group of art therapists serving the Buffalo and Western New York areas use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to not only promote art therapy, but bring art therapists together in these vicinities for professional connection, art-making, and exchanging of ideas, both on and offline.”

The group’s online presence inspired inviting one of the founders of Art Therapy Buffalo for a chat in this series to speak more about the beginnings of their community, how social media has been helpful, challenges encountered, and ways art therapists can learn from the group’s experiences and efforts.

Rachel SikorskiLCAT, ATR-BC is a New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and nationally registered board-certified art therapist.  She earned her Master’s degree in Art Therapy from Nazareth College in Rochester, and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Canisius College in Buffalo. 

She currently maintains a full-time private practice in the heart of the city of Buffalo and is a founding member and webmaster of Art Therapy Buffalo, whose mission is to advocate for increased awareness and access to professional art therapy services in the Buffalo-Niagara communities of Western New York.  The members of Art Therapy Buffalo gather monthly to make art for self-care, network, and plan for community education and advocacy activities. Rachel also serves as Social Media Marketing Secretary on the board of the Western New York Art Therapy Association (WNYATA).

Listen to our conversation here:

“We really felt this need to connect- who else is out there working in Buffalo that we don’t know… We shouldn’t be all disconnected from one another- we can band together. This will be good for the field, it will be good for each of us…who knows what we could do.” ~Rachel Sikorski, Art Therapy Buffalo

Learn more about Art Therapy Buffalo and connect to the community online here:

Other links & resources mentioned in our conversation:

Many thanks to Rachel for this awesome chat! At the end of this series, another conversation is planned with Rachel and members of Art Therapy Buffalo to further our discussion on this topic–Stay connected for more about this… A new art therapist interview will go live next week!

Previous Interviews:

Art Therapist on the Grid: Petrea Hansen-Adamidis

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

Before the arrival of what we all know now as social media there were art therapists in the 1990s who were already leading the way on the Internet to connect members of the art therapy community with information, resources, and discussion sites, as well as a way to inform the public about art therapy. This week’s chat features Petrea Hansen-Adamidis DTATI, RCAT, RP a Registered Art Therapist and Registered Psychotherapist. In 1996, Petrea created one of the first art therapy sites that was online, ArtTherapyinCanada (archived at adamidis.ca).  It is fun to visit Petrea’s old site to remember what art therapy resources and sites often looked like 20+ years ago! It is great to show Petrea’s original site to art therapy students as an example of the early days of online connection for art therapy. How things have changed!  In this conversation, Petrea talks about what inspired her to create her first site and how she uses social media now to share her work and creative interests as an art therapist and artist. 

Petrea has been working in the field of art therapy for over 22 years and for the past 15, has worked as an Expressive Arts Therapist in an outpatient services program at a large children’s mental health center in Toronto, Ontario.  Petrea additionally works as an art therapist clinician, providing trauma assessments and treatment in parent-child expressive arts therapy. She is also an art therapy supervisor and instructor at The Toronto Art Therapy Institute. As part of her private practice, Petrea runs self-exploration art workshops for health, wellbeing, and self-care in Toronto and also offers online expressive arts e-courses.

From Petrea’s current site relaunched as arttherapist.ca:  

“When I first began this site over 15 years ago, I was a newly trained Art Therapist, eager to share with the world the wonderful world of art therapy. It was one of the first pages up on the Internet with resources on art therapy including information about associations around the world. art therapy books, conference announcements, plus my own workshops.”

My first online community, The Art Therapy Student Networking Forum that I founded as a graduate student in the late 1990s (hosted then on Delphi Forums) was one of the many resources that Petrea included on her site, which was very cool and something we chat about!

Listen to our interview here:

Learn more about Petrea’s work and connect to her online:

Other resources mentioned in our conversation:

Thank you to Petrea for sharing her inspiring experiences, then and now! Stay connected for a new interview next week as this series continues…

Previous Interviews:

Art Therapist on the Grid: Carolyn Mehlomakulu

Art Therapist on the Grid: Carolyn Mehlomakulu

Today launches Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations, a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more!

 

It is such a pleasure to kick off this series with Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor and a Registered Art Therapist. In her private practice based in Austin, Texas, Carolyn works with children, teens, and families to overcome struggles like depression, anxiety, and trauma. Carolyn graduated from the MFT and Art Therapy program at Loyola Marymount University in 2007. She started the Creativity in Therapy blog in 2012 to share about art therapy and creativity with other counselors, therapists, and art therapists.

I invited Carolyn to contribute to this interview series as an opportunity to share more about her intentions, reflections, and tips about blogging as a way to inspire and help other art therapists new to or interested in this type of digital connection. Carolyn also shares some of the challenges and benefits she has experienced as a blogger.

 

Listen to our interview here:

You can also read about Carolyn’s blogging experience in The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media coming in October:

I started blogging during a transitional point in my life and career. At that point I knew that I wanted to start a private practice soon and thought that blogging would help establish my professional identity online, as well as demonstrate expertise as an art therapist. I was also at a point where I had completed my ATR and was feeling more confident in my abilities as an art therapist, so I liked the idea of sharing knowledge and teaching others through a blog. As a student and early therapist, I had often wanted more resources for new art therapy ideas. Of course there are a lot more resources now (both online and books), but creating the blog was still a way to give to others what I had been wanting in the past and found lacking. Another benefit of the blog that helps me stay motivated to keep working on it is the ways that it keeps me connected to my identity as an art therapist and encourages me to keep learning and developing my skills. Coming up with new ideas for the blog means that I need to keep learning, read books and blogs for ideas from others, talk to my colleagues about their art therapy approaches, and try new things with my own clients. I also mention sometimes on the blog that I often need a project or challenge to prioritize my own art-making. Consistently blogging means I am frequently making art and trying new techniques so that I can share examples and experiences on the blog.

Creativity in Therapy is a great resource– I hope you will check out Carolyn’s blog here and subscribe to her future posts…Thank you to Carolyn for sharing her experiences here!

Learn more about Carolyn’s work and connect to her online here:

Stay connected for a new interview next week!