I was blessed to be able to attend the American Art Therapy Association‘s 2012 Conference in Savannah last week. Although Savannah isn’t necessarily the first place you’d want to choose in the middle of July, it was a very enriching conference.
There is a strong movement among the association and its members regarding how to grow the profession into the modern economic, medical, and social environment. The executive director outlined a three-pronged mandate to art therapists which seems particularly pertinent. The urgency of these three points is underscored by the fact that they were reiterated during meetings with officials from the Office of Management and Budget and others in leadership and government.
These are points that have been articulated by many people through the years, but it seems very clear that they must be our strongest priority as professionals. I am very committed to doing my part toward achieving these three ends:
- Improving and increasing outcome studies to measure, compare, and understand the efficacy of art therapy.
- Ensuring that our educational standards meet or exceed those of other mental health professionals.
- Working toward a unified licensure in all states.
I’ll write more on this later, but below you’ll find a few more photos from my week.
To save money, I flew to Atlanta and drove the 4 hours to Savannah. The drive was actually enjoyable — chasing thunderstorms and driving through what looked like lush, peaceful woods on a Monday afternoon. I even spotted a double rainbow!
There were also wonderful research and clinical practice presentations. I was honored to present with my co-author on Art and Music Therapy Outcomes in a Pediatric Setting.
I attended lots of governmental advocacy presentations, the “art therapist town hall” meeting, and the business meeting. Here we are in the general assembly. The voting members are holding the green cards that we used to vote on resolutions and board business. This picture was taken before AATA Board President Mercedes ter Maat put on her red, glittery devil horns. I guess art therapists have trouble being too serious for too long.