Look Back… Media & Technology 1968

It was a pleasure and honor to celebrate the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI)’s 50th Anniversary with an invitation to speak at the Institute’s special gala event held this week. The TATI, founded in 1968, was the first art therapy training program in Canada established by Dr. Martin Fischer, one of the early pioneers in the field.

The evening offered a look back at the TATI’s great history and legacy of art therapy in Canada, as well as an opportunity to give attention to its active presence of faculty, alumni, site supervisors, and students, as well as what the future of the art therapy field holds ahead. This also included looking at the impact of technology on the art therapist, especially in the last 20 years for connection, community, and creativity.

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So what was the media and technology like/starting to emerge in 1968 when TATI was founded?  Here is a fun look back:

  • Color television was just starting to become more conventional in use and the first live, network transmission of video took place (a view inside an orbiting U.S. space capsule).  Now television includes an endless amount of channels and programs for the viewer — through real time and recorded network broadcasting, live streaming, breaking news, DVR recording, Netflix watching, and on the Internet, our mobile devices, and without the use of the conventional television set .
  • Music in 1968 could be played on an 8 track, which was considered the portable format for this time. Video tapes, such as Beta or VHS would not be available until the 1970s.  Now, music and video have become digitized and very portable in the form of MP3s, media sharing and online content communities, YouTube, Vimeo, Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud, and podcasts are easily accessible through our computers and mobile devices.
  • Computers. Back in 1968, the “Nova” computer which only had 32 kilobytes of memory (!) sold for $8,000.   The computer that navigated the lunar module to the moon was introduced in 1968. Hewlett-Packard (HP) started promoting the first desktop computer this year too. The Internet as we now know it was very much undefined, but the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was starting to be developed in the early 1960s, which became the technical beginnings of the World Wide Web and Internet.  ARPANET published its first program plan and made its first network transmission the following year.  50 years later computers are less expensive, hold lots and lots of memory in miniature form, and is widely used by the masses (not just researchers, scientists, and academics) everyday, everywhere, anytime. The Internet (and now Wi-Fi too) instantly connects us to endless sites, networks, people, places, news, apps, experiences, and more all around the world.

Art therapists now live in a world of glocality (where the local and global co-exist!)  where we can easily connect to and virtually engage with our colleagues, beyond our local, regional, and national surroundings.  Platforms and programs like Skype, Zoom Facebook Live, What’s App, and more allow us to communicate and interact with one another.  The benefits of this connection are many- such as but not limited to:

  • Decreases isolation
  • Provides relational support
  • Obtain and exchange resources
  • Collegial engagement
  • Professional belonging
  • Creates opportunities for advocacy and awareness

The Internet has also held the concept of community as an important value to its early activity. Online resources and virtual spaces for art therapists were already surfacing in the mid 1990s, 15 years before social media really became widely embraced and used.  For example, Toronto art therapist, TATI alumna and faculty member Petrea Hansen-Adamidis created Art Therapy in Canada in 1996, the very first online web resource and forum in Canada. Learn more about Petrea’s experience and pioneering efforts with technology in this Art Therapists on the Grid interview here.

Online virtual communities can help art therapists:

  • Share and exchange information
  • Learn from one another
  • Create a sense of belonging
  • Strengthen professional identity

In addition, we can also keep strengthening our global digital citizenship as art therapists. We can enhance our understanding about the societal impact of living in a world without geographical boundaries due to technology and our use of social media.

This awareness first includes an individual understanding about how our personal and professional conduct online can impact the profession’s global digital footprint and art therapy’s international integrity. Having respect for the self, others, and what we access or engage with online deserves attention. Choosing to engage in online environments with empathy, compassion, generosity, and benevolence acknowledges the powerful influence our connections and interactions have on overall well-being, relationships, and creating community.  It also recognizes how we as art therapists have a valuable role in helping create a better digital world through our online presence and example.

Thank you to TATI for the opportunity to celebrate their historic milestone and include a little bit about technology and how it connects us all together, not just now but will continue to in the future. The media, programs, methods, and ways art therapists use technology will keep changing, developing, and offer new possibilities beyond our imagination for the future of the field… Also exciting to keep watching is how art therapists and future art therapists keep contributing to this digital landscape!

Congrats to TATI on their 50th year and here’s to 50+ more! 🙂

Spring 2018 Events

There are a couple of events taking place this spring inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media:

On the campus of Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania on Monday, April 16 I will be presenting a free community lecture sponsored by the school’s undergraduate art therapy program. The evening event (6-7:30 pm) also includes 1.5 free continuing education credits (CEU sign in and registration 5:15-6 pm) available for ATR-BCs, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

Social Media: Connection, Community, and Creativity will explore how social media can enhance and strengthen professional engagement, collegial relationships, and creative practice. Discover how, as mental health professionals we can take a meaningful look at some of the challenges and benefits that social media can have on the clients we serve, the therapeutic relationship, and how to best navigate social media with purpose and responsibility in our own use. The significance and value of digital community for professionals will also be explored and its role in building knowledge, cultivating collegiate relationships and exchange, support, and professional identity. Finally, the role of how social media sites can also support creative drive, artist identity, and enthusiasm for art making and art-based endeavors will be presented. Meet the author and book signing to follow the event.

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This all day workshop on Saturday, April 28 is presented by the New York Art Therapy Association and will be held on the campus of New York University in New York City and includes 6 ethics of continuing education for ATR-BCs and LCATs (and for less than $100!).

The morning program, Bridging Social Media’s Digital Divide: Navigating Ethical Considerations as Art Therapists will be a didactic presentation looking at some of the challenges and benefits that social media can have on the clients we serve, the therapeutic relationship, and how to best navigate social media as an art therapist with purpose and ethical responsibility in our own use. Content will explore the role and influence social media can have on our lives and work, both negative and positive , as well as the challenges art therapists may face in their social media use related to privacy and  boundaries. Practical suggestions to help minimize potential risks will be also be presented, including strategies to help empower an art therapist’s digital presence with professional responsibility.

The afternoon program, Empowering Our Digital Presence: Art Therapists and Social Media Workshop explores how art therapists can empower their digital presence online with mindful attention to digital boundaries, ones digital footprint, and the ways we navigate social media personally, professionally, and creatively. Attendees will use art making to discover and learn more about these digital landscapes, the challenges art therapists can face, and ways we can leverage social media and ethical frameworks to promote our professional interests, values, and work.

An author Q&A and book signing will follow the event.  To register, visit this link.

Looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues from the art therapy community, as well as anyone interested in the event topics at both of these offerings!

An Art Therapist’s New Year Checklist for Social Media

This time of year can motivate us to make changes, embark on new things, and set goals we want to accomplish both personally and professionally. It is also a good time to try and start new practices and routines that will be of benefit to our wellbeing, relationships, work, and daily life in the year ahead.  This post inspired by topics in The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media, offers some to-do’s that art therapists to-be and art therapists can revisit, learn more about, or begin implementing related to professional social media use and online activity for the year ahead.

An Art Therapist’s New Year Checklist for Social Media:

☐ Take time to check your privacy settings on your social media profiles and sites. Remember to maintain awareness and management throughout the year;

☐ Find out about and review any social media policies or considerations that have been instituted at your university, workplace, and the communities or programs you are part of;

☐ Google your name to be aware of what content is available about you online. These results are also what others are viewing when they google or do an Internet search for you;

☐ Keep your LinkedIn profile updated;

☐ Be aware of your “Three Degrees of Influence”;

☐ Keep client content (art expressions, interactions, conversations- both negative, positive, and even when not using identifying information) off your personal social media networks of friends and family. When sharing online in professional or educational forums, protect identifying information, obtain consent, and consider the intention;

☐ If you are an art therapist in private practice or own an art therapy business, consider creating a social media policy to use with your clients;

☐ Strengthen your resources and understanding of digital social responsibility as a clinician;

☐ Remember to pause before you post online. Mindfully think about your post’s possible impact and influence, not just in relationship to your work as an art therapist, but also as a representative of the profession at-large. We are all ambassadors of art therapy on and offline;

☐ If you are an art therapy blogger, draft a one year editorial calendar to plan possible topics, content, and consistent scheduling;

☐ Practice and model global digital citizenship;

☐ Use social media to discover/learn a new art technique, media, artist, or creative inspiration;

☐ Identify and develop a social media sharing and delivery strategy that empowers your professional self, values, and work;

☐ Take an inventory of your digital assets. How you can leverage or enhance existing resources to promote and bring education to your work, art therapy, the populations you serve, and its benefits? Are there digital assets would you like to develop this year?

☐ Become aware of your digital footprint as you use the Internet and share online.

Taking on the above checklist can empower us as art therapists to take ownership of our digital presence, activity, and choices we make (or don’t make) online.  Smart practices to start and integrate!

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Upcoming event: Don’t forget the online book discussion group for The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media will be starting soon if you are interested in joining!  Learn more about how to join here.

2018 Online Book Discussion Group

Coming in 2018: An online Facebook book discussion group for readers of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media!  An opportunity for art therapists, art therapy students, and other interested readers to dialogue weekly about each chapter of the book.  A great way to spend the cold, winter months at the warm keyboard of your tablet, mobile device, or desktop!  So get your copy ready to join the group (any or all!) beginning January through March 2018 every Sunday 5:00-6:30 pm EST. Tell your colleagues, classmates, students, and friends (off and online!).  Sign up here through the site’s contact form if you are interested in a group invitation to participate!

Tentative Schedule:

  • January 7

Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Networking and Social Media

  • January 14

Chapter 2: The Challenges and Benefits of Social Networking

  • January 21

Chapter 3: Social Media, Art Therapy, and Professionalism

  • January 28

Chapter 4: The Value of Digital Community for Art Therapists

  • February 4

Chapter 5: Strengthening the Art Therapy Profession through Social Media

  • February 11

Chapter 6: Social Networking and the Global Art Therapy Community

  • February 18

Chapter 7: Social Media and the Art Therapist’s Creative Practice

  • February 25

Chapter 8: 6 Degrees of Creativity

  • March 4

Chapter 9: Future Considerations: Social Media and Art Therapists

Routledge is also having an end of the year sale of all its book titles, which includes a 20% discount of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media if you still need to purchase a copy in time for the discussion group!  🙂

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 Therapists on the Grid Convo Series

A fun interview podcast series will be launching soon about social media and how art therapists are using it for connection, community, & creativity. Definitely very inspiring— such great energy and experiences to share! A different online recording and art therapist will be featured here on this blog beginning mid June through July.  Hope you will be able to plug in and watch!

Art Therapists on the Grid Convo Series | Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

Pre-order Now Available

The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media is now available for pre-order! The book’s publisher, Routledge is currently having a sitewide sale (buy 1 book, save 20%) which also includes free standard shipping.  Check out the details on Routledge’s site here.  The book is also available for pre-order on Amazon here.

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media | Illustration by Nate Fehlauer