Symposium Program

Art as Liberation: Creative Arts Therapy for Change, Equity, and Community | Saturday, May 14, 2022

Online, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST | 6 CEUs

Artwork by symposium presenter Amber Bliss

Afternoon Breakout Sessions | 1:10 - 3:10 p.m.

The Art Therapist as a Holder of Complicated Truths: Learning from Our Work with Clients Impacted by an Unfair World

Einat Metzl, PHD, LMFT, ATR-BC; Maru Serricchio-Joiner, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC

Based on clinical experiences as an art therapist and art therapy educators in the United States, Israel, Spain and Mexico, this workshop will help participants use art making and narrative tools to consider their own experiences and roles when working with communities and clients impacted by an unfair system and a biased global society. Participants will first review and discuss prominent models of multicultural and cross-cultural training, leading to the current model of cultural humility in Art Therapy, and then utilize art making, intra- and inter-personal reflections to consider their responses and roles when working as part of a biased system and serving clients impacted differently by societal, legal, and economic disparities. The workshop is intended to increase awareness to socio-cultural pitfalls and examine art therapists’ possibility to generate a more conscious stance to actively promote change. Following this session, participants will have the ability to:

  1. Describe 3 main models of considering cultural differences within therapy
  2. Explore 1 clinical situation where they had been able to acknowledge and support a client impacted by a biased system / situation and 1 clinical scenario where they had failed to do so
  3. Integrate observations of their awareness, knowledge and skills with current models of art therapy and cultural humility to consider 1 place where they might shift their current clinical interventions

Radical Acceptance: Mindfulness Through Drama Therapy Action Methods: Collaboration, Improvisation, and Storytelling

Bobbi Kidder, MA, RDT/BCT

We have inherited a great house,” said Dr. King in 1964, “a great world house in which we have to live together… or perish as fools.” This workshop brings together Radical Acceptance, part of the canon of Mindfulness approaches, and the active, embodied methods of drama therapy to give participants the opportunity to practice empathic curiosity and receptivity to the compassionate humanity that animates us all. The merging of these two approaches offers insight into the continuing work of building equity in community. 

This workshop will be broken up into three parts: 1.) Finding Ourselves: Engaging in mindful attunement through a Walking Meditation activity; 2.) Finding Each Other: Exploring the Bronenbrennen Ecological system, looking at what aggressions inhabit our current lived experience; and 3.) Finding the Work: Addressing the tenets of Radical Acceptance, participants will engage in therapeutic improvisation activities, accessible to all levels of experience as participants examine the Carl Rogers paradox: “When I accept myself as I am, I can change.”

Elements of role method and Theatre of the Oppressed will be utilized in exploring issues emerging from participants in the group, who will co-lead designs for expanding and finding liberation strategies. During this session, participants will: 

  1. Examine personal sense of cultural responsibility
  2. Explore action methods of drama therapy
  3. Express and process options for liberation and change
  4. Learn to name two tenets of radical acceptance that distinguish it from resignation

Resourcing for Antiracism: Exploring Creative Anchoring Practices for Resilience and Repair

Mylinda Baits, PhD(c); Alyssa Griskiewicz, ATR-BC, LMHC, RYT; Shabrae Jackson, MA; and Ruth Yeo-Peterman, MA

Addressing issues of difference, power, discrimination, and marginalization requires creativity, courage and commitment. Holding generational harm and trauma from systemic racism and oppression, recognizing and addressing personal and collective shame, fear and bias, and repairing kinship breaches of relational trust all can zap our energy and stunt our capacity for growth. How do we resource ourselves and others to stay engaged in the long haul healing work of collective liberation?

When the white supremacy culture norms of right to comfort, either/or thinking, individualism, perfectionism, urgency, defensiveness, and power hoarding show up in us and our relationships, we need both individual and collective resources to help us resist, repair and remain resilient. In this workshop, we’ll explore accessible, playful and creative ways to lean into discomfort, courage and care and let go of burdensome legacies, leanings and lies that keep us from living well in community. Participants will explore how simple, accessible, evidence-based daily expressive arts practices may provide supportive antidotes and soul sustaining anchors in the storms of racialized trauma and disruption. During this session, participants will:

  1. Be introduced to the characteristics of white supremacy culture and how the arts may serve as antidote against its harms
  2. Practice trauma-informed, expressive arts-based micro practices for emotional awareness, self-regulation and community connection
  3. Create a personal antidote plan to nurture their own racialized healing while decreasing negative collective trends of racialized harm and violence.