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

Morning Breakout Sessions | 10:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.

“Unravelling Misconceptions of Hair”, Microaggressions and Post Historical Trauma

Naarah Macklin MS, LMHC, and Simone Alter Muri EdD, ATR-BC, ATCS, LMHC

As the prevalence of understanding diversity grows, two related concepts have seen scarce attention: post historical trauma and microaggressions. Presenters will discuss these concepts through an art therapy lens using case vignettes and the work of contemporary artists to increase awareness of the implications of discrimination and trauma from both the past and present. The purpose of this workshop is to expand knowledge of how microaggressions effect minority groups and the connection to post-historical trauma. Microaggressions are examined in this workshop through the preconceived notions or stereotypes about hair. Hair can be a symbol of identity and a vehicle for discrimination and internalized oppression. This is especially true in African American and BIPOC communities. Participants will address and explore the topic of hair, in relationship to race and post historical trauma. Participants will leave the session with tangible tools to navigate a therapeutic discussion about difficult issues, and learn how visual art can be a catalyst to begin conversations, bring awareness to cultural identity, and address microaggressions. Following this session, participants will be able to:

    1. Define microaggressions and 3 effects on BIPOC populations
    2. Name 3 artists whose art focuses on hair and will bring awareness to issues of microaggression
    3. Participants will list 3 ways that post historical trauma can impact art
      therapy/counseling practice


Teaching in Mixed Spaces: Decolonizing the Classroom as POC Instructors in Art Therapy

Fredelyn Calla LCPC, ATR-BC, and Ling Cheun Bianca Lee LCPC, ATR-BC

As the more recent ‘racial reckoning’ in the United States call for dismantling white supremacy, the art therapy field is also undergoing a similar process of uncovering racism in the profession and developing decolonial practices. However, conventional art therapy educational environments are still predominantly white. As we apply radical, intersectional, and decolonial theories in the application of art therapy, there has been minimal research and sustainable effort towards recruiting or retaining art therapy professionals of color in these settings. This calls for the urgency to address how the art therapy field, and the future of art therapy education must include multicultural perspectives and representation. Besides, this is only the beginning of lifting up LGBTQ and disabled voices to further diversify the art therapy conversation. Two POC presenters will share their efforts in decolonizing the classroom. Issues raised include pedagogy and creating a critical space where students can discuss and wonder about anti-oppressive and antiracist class content, and reflections related to the interweaving of power dynamics of white supremacy and academia. We will engage in a reflective art-making activity and facilitate a collective discussion to further apply liberatory and decolonial practices in the educational setting. Following this session, participants will have the ability to:

  1. Discuss the perspectives of POC instructors utilizing liberatory and decolonized practices
  2. Recognize how microaggression plays a role in an inclusive and equitable classroom
  3. Be more aware of the aspects of intersectionality and privilege in classroom dynamics

Your Storylines: Inflection Points in Racial Awareness

Rhonda Johnson, ATR-BC, and Pat B. Allen, PhD, ATR

Transforming our racial awareness is an inside job. Using Open Studio Process (OSP) we will identify points in personal history that make up our racial understanding. Inflection points refers to moments of recognition when something that was not known enters consciousness. Stories rarely arrive full blown but rather come in traces, hints and memories that lead to new understandings. We invite you to join us in an exploration of the strengths and vulnerabilities in our personal and collective stories. Following this session, participants will have the ability to:

  1. Set an intention about exploring racial awareness
  2. Create art about a point of personal history
  3. Witness their process and the affect and insight that may arise