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!

Three Benefits of Social Media in Times in Crisis

 

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Traumatic events that are in the form of natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding, and human created disasters related to disease outbreak, terrorism, gun violence and other occurrences of mass violence, can have an immense impact on mental health and vulnerability to traumatic stress. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-SAMHSA, 2019)

The use of social media can be a valuable tool in these times of crisis for survivors, first responders, affected communities and beyond. This post highlights three ways social media can play a beneficial role before, during and after times of distress and traumatic events.

  • Broadcasting critical information: Social media and their communication platforms can provide announcements and updates in regards to helping with preparation of impending events, provide warning, response, recovery, and education. A benefit of using social media for providing and receiving information, is that this content can be communicated in real time, as it becomes available and can be broadcasted to a broad audience easily and with a wide reach. Critical information can become accessible to many quickly. Social media is often used as the fastest way to inform others such as family and loved ones about safety status, needing help, or for others to assist in communicating these messages. This can help decrease fear and worry, as well as empower affected individuals, communities, and the public with a feeling of control amidst a situation that can be chaotic and overwhelming.
  • Promoting resiliency: An important factor that creates and strengthens resiliency and the ability to recover and come back from distressing events and experiences is connection to others. A sense of belonging and community that can be facilitated through social media can provide survivors and affected others know they are not alone, find support, and an outlet for coping. Social media can also be vital for sustaining ongoing connection and community in the aftermath of trauma and loss through our personal or group networks, offering digital spaces for sharing virtual memorials, memories, images, and story telling.
  • Access of resources: Sites in the form of social media networks, blogs, and websites offer a way to obtain and exchange information and resources in times of emergencies, crisis, or disaster. Some examples of tools online include:

Facebook Crisis Response: With this response tool, you can mark yourself safe for others you are connected to on Facebook be notified when an emergency takes place in your area. You can also use this tool to find or give assistance, and receive information during and after a crisis.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Alerts on Twitter- Center for Preparedness and Response provides crisis or emergency updates or follow Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Twitter that supports citizens and first responders before, during, and after emergencies.

SAMHSA also recommends these social media resources:

 – Disaster Distress Helpline– Provides readiness preparation information, education and coping strategies on Facebook, @distressline on Twitter, or Text TalkWithUs or Hablanos to 66746

The Red Cross Safe and Well Database- You can register yourself or search for others as a way to communicate safety when disaster happens.

Google People Finder: This Google tool helps people connect with loved ones in the aftermath of natural and humanitarian disasters.

A note of real caution with using social media of course is that misinformation can also quickly and widely spread, so it is important to be mindful of where you obtain information from online. A challenge of social media includes that information such as individual opinion be interpreted, reported, or shared on social media as fact. This confusion can cause additional uncertainty, heightened arousal and response in the face of critical situations. Filtering your social media exposure by using tools that are suggested above can help navigate and manage these risks. It is also valuable to be aware of privacy, security, and safety issues, such as disclosing personal or location information that could put you risk on social media, especially in moments of crisis or great need. And finally, an important consideration is to mindfully manage and monitor social media exposure and content that can become a source of anxiety, fear, panic, and distress.

Social media can certainly be a lifeline in critical times and I believe the benefits (and challenges) to bring assistance and resources to others prior, throughout, and following an event are worth us all becoming familiar with in this digitally connected world.

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Creating a Strong Digital Presence on Social Media: Professionally, Ethically, and Creatively

Excited to announce this Philadelphia workshop hosted by Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions’ Creative Arts Therapies Department on December 15, 10-4 pm with 5 CEs, including content in ethics— There is still time to register if you are interested in attending this offering in-person or online via Zoom live webcast.

This workshop presents practical content for creative arts therapists to consider for creating and maintaining a strong digital presence through the use of social media professionally, ethically, and creatively.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Digital boundaries
  • e-Professionalism
  • The impact of ones digital footprint
  • Introduction to ethical frameworks to help inform professional social media activity
  • Important strategies for promoting a presence online aligning with ones work, passions, values, and career interests.
  • Content delivered through lecture, discussion, and creative experientials.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Recognize 3 competences for developing an ethical and professional digital presence
  • Learn 3 strategies for professionally sharing content on social media
  • Identify 3 ethical frameworks and strategies to consider for professional social media use as a mental health professional

Fall Workshops Inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media

Coming this fall….. Workshops inspired by the The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media:

As part of the 2018 Expressive Therapies Summit in New York City, Social Media, The Arts, and Community Engaged Projects (October 12, 7-9 pm) explores the power of the arts and how creative, interactive community based projects using social media can motivate positive change, hope, and well being. Public projects inspired by abandonment art, random acts of kindness, and other creative deeds not only motivate art making, enhance emotional development, and support compassionate acts, but also offer meaningful opportunities to connect and positively influence others that their art comes into contact with, both on and offline. As a result, this inspiration has the possibility to keep spreading its creative message from person to person. Participants will be introduced to art-based projects and experience how-to ideas for implementing this kind of creative chain reaction for use in treatment with clients and ways to facilitate this approach within a therapeutic context for individuals, groups, or communities.  Registration is now open here.

Social Media and Art Therapists: Exploring Our Digital Footprint and Presence Online (November 3, 10:15-11:45 am) will be offered at the 2018 American Art Therapy Association Conference in Miami, Florida.  This workshop invites art therapists to consider and reflect upon the impact of our digital footprint and its influence. Through didactic presentation, experiential art-making, and group discussion attendees will be encouraged to explore topics that foster an awareness about creating a digital presence online that aligns with ones goals, passions, values, and career interests.  Pre-registration required and space availability is limited. Advanced registration is open online until 9/28 via http://www.arttherapyconference.com

Also being included this fall as part of Southwestern College’s Masters in Art Therapy/Counseling Professional Ethics Course and the college’s Masters in Art Therapy for Clinical Professionals, will be an online webinar/guest lecture for students about Social Media and E-Professionalism Considerations for Art TherapistsThis 30 minute webinar presents how art therapists can create a strong professional digital presence through the use of social media. Topics explored include:

  • Digital ecosystems
  • E-professionalism
  • Online disinhibition effect
  • The art of creating a professional digital presence
  • Digital footprint considerations

If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate this webinar or guest lecture into any of your art therapy coursework, please submit an information request here.

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Past 2018 Events

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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! 🙂

The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media Sticker Sheets!

STICKER SHEETS!

8 x 11 inch UV coated white vinyl multi-sticker sheet of 6 different designs inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media. A fun way to show your love of art therapy, use of social media, connection, community, and creativity!

Designed by the book’s Illustrator Nate Fehlauer of Wiscy Jones Creative:

BookStickerSheet(Front)

8-x-11-White-Vinyl-Sticker-Sheets Liner (Back Liner)

$5.00 USD  (includes US shipping)

Please note: If interested in international shipping, please email info@arttherapistsguidetosocialmedia.com for more information.

Buy Now

A collection of sticker sightings as seen on Instagram!

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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!

Acknowledgments

As 2017 comes to a close, thanks to everyone who was part of making The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media lots of fun to launch this year! Gratitude to everyone who helped, contributed to, and supported this labor of love. From Routledge, contributors, readers, friends, family to colleagues from the art therapy community and more- Thank you!   Looking forward to some book inspired happenings in 2018!

Author’s Acknowledgments (pp. xxii-xxiii):

First and foremost, I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the teachers and mentors that have guided and supported my development – personally and professionally. This book is a labor of love, truly manifested by 20 years of connection, community, and creativity I have experienced within the art therapy field related to technology. This book could not have become a reality without the contributions and inspirations of so many on and offline. A special thank you to peers and colleagues from the Art Therapy Alliance and 6 Degrees of Creativity communities- two of my digital tribes, as well as Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association and the American Art Therapy Association for supporting my interests in using technology to promote art therapy. To the numerous art therapists and other artists from all around the world that I have had the pleasure to connect with through social media: on networks, various art exchanges, collaborations, groups, and creative adventures that we have experienced together – your motivation, enthusiasm, and creative goodness is something I hold sacred and value. My deep appreciation goes to Dr. Jordan Potash for his invaluable help throughout my entire writing and editing process, as well as ongoing encouragement from my colleagues in the Counseling & Art Therapy Program at Ursuline College. In addition, I want to extend an expression of heartfelt thanks to Dr. Lynn Kapitan for contributing this book’s inspiring foreword. I am grateful as well for the amazing graphic design skills of Nate Fehlauer of Wiscy Jones Creative who did a wonderful job with the book’s illustrations. Thanks to the editorial and production staff at Routledge, especially to then commissioning editor Christopher Teja who patiently recruited me to write this book, editor Elizabeth Graber, and editorial assistant Nina Guttapalle who were vital in assisting me throughout this new experience and journey. Of course, the most notable acknowledgement of thanks and love goes to my incredible partner Kevin King, my family, and friends who have always unconditionally supported all my art therapy endeavors and service within this remarkable profession.

A recognition of gratitude to the following global group of friends, art therapists and artists who generously contributed their art for this book or shared their experiences and insights:

Joni Becker, Diane Fleisch Hughes, Sze-Chin Lee, Dr. David Gussak, Carla Lopez, Dr. Sheila Lorenzo de la Peña, Dr. Gussie Klorer, Yu-Chu Wang, Carolyn Mehlomakulu, Molly K. Kometiani, Andrea Davis, Victoria Scarborough, Jen Berlingo, Kelly Darke, Dr. Gioia Chilton, Dr. James Nolan, Dr. Jordan Potash, Mónika Király, Jeanette Chan, Katarina Thorsen, Fredrik Thorsen, Theresa Zip, Jolie Buchanan, Bonnie Sailer, Janeane Grisez, Jade Herriman, Misty Ramos Saviano, Kat Michel, Dr. Savneet Talwar, Kristy Anatol, Kelley Luckett, Natalie Coriell, Lisa Mitchell, Dr. Donna Betts, Michela Baretti, Tia Pleiman, Rachel Mims, Lizzie Bellotto, Lisa Miller, Melissa Hladek, Nancy Lautenbach, Amity K. Miller, Eva Miller, Lisa Fam, Debbie Anderson, Petrea Hansen-Adamidis, Dr. Lani Gerity, and Dr. Natalie Carlton.

Special thanks to Dr. Donna Betts, Dr. Penelope Orr, and Dr. Judith Rubin for their book reviews and endorsements.

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!  🙂

Celebrating: Connection, Community, and Creativity

Here are some event updates celebrating not only the release of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media last month, but also the value of connection, community, and creativity:

Ursuline College Book Reception & Author Signing

On the campus of Ursuline College and in the Parker Hannifin Center for Healing Arts and Sciences (home of the Counseling and Art Therapy Graduate Program), a book reception and author signing brought out students, alumni, faculty, book contributors, friends, and family to celebrate the book’s release in good company! Thank you to Ursuline College and the CAT Program for their event support. Much appreciation to friends who helped with contributing to the event with art-making, social media balloon art, and managing book sales. A very fun evening!

Virtual Book Release Party on Facebook

This online event included friends, colleagues, book contributors, and supporters from around the US, Canada, Ireland, Taiwan, and Australia.  The evening was chock full of trivia and contests inspired by the book, as well as giveaways of items to those who participated.  Thank you to everyone who was able to attend!

AATA Advanced Practice Course

At the 2017 American Art Therapy Association conference, there were two program offerings that explored the professional use of social media among art therapists: an all day advanced practice course about digital presence and a discussion focus group that provided an opportunity for conference attendees to dialogue about issues and topics related to social networking.  Connecting with art therapists about these topics generated great discussion and considerations about ways we and the field can use social media professionally, ethically, and creatively.  During the advanced practice course attendees also made art to further address their social media use, digital ecosystems, and digital footprints as art therapists (Photographed and posted with participant permission).

Meet the Author and Book Signing at the American Art Therapy Association Conference

The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media was included in the AATA conference’s official bookstore, Baystate Professional Book Services and part of the conference’s meet the authors and signing event.  Coming together with colleagues, students, friends, and meeting new faces in this setting was so fun!   Thank you to Baystate and everyone who purchased the book on site from the bookstore!

Upcoming Events

Author Q&A on Facebook– December 3 (begins 5:00 pm EST):  This event next month features an opportunity for attendees to ask questions related to the writing of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media and its contents. Free signed book giveaway will take place during the meet-up!

Thanks again to everyone who attended these events last and this month, as well as purchased copies of the book— Gratitude!   A friendly reminder that Routledge continues to offer a 20% discount through the end of 2017 when using the code IRK71 when checking out on their site.

Related Posts

Chapter Abstracts: The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media

Art Therapists on the Grid Convo Series

About the Book