We are thrilled to share exciting news from our Art Therapy department! Dr. Nancy Gerber, alongside colleague and previous FSU faculty member, Dr. Theresa Van Lith and alumni, Maddie Centracchio, have recently published a new article representing the second installment and culmination of a three-year project to develop an art therapy research strategic plan.
Art therapy has long been recognized as a valuable form of psychotherapy for self-expression and insight, allowing individuals to explore their emotions and navigate complex psychological challenges through the creative process. Although built on clinical wisdom since the profession’s inception, Dr. Gerber’s latest publication emphasizes the increasing need for research to sustain and advance the art therapy field and contribute evidence to its practices.
In this new article, the second in a two article series, Dr. Gerber and her co-authors describe the multi-phase sequential mixed methods research project that laid the groundwork for this article. In the first phase, the team conducted a comprehensive scoping review of existing research, providing valuable insights into the current trends in art therapy research. Next, based upon the results of the scoping review, they engaged with art therapy practitioners through surveys and focus groups, capturing diverse perspectives and experiences from the art therapy community. Finally, the project culminated in a working symposium with a large international art therapy community, where a vibrant exchange of ideas, contributed to and was systematically integrated with the existing data from the first two phases. This led to the formation of a unified vision and a living community-driven strategic plan for art therapy research. The development of a strategic plan provides an evidence-based framework that empowers art therapy practitioners, researchers, and educators, to actively shape the future of the field. The implementation of the plan includes the building of an international art therapy research community. This community will develop workgroups based on the six goals and related action items in the strategic plan to foster collaborative, collective efforts to refine, implement, and evaluate the strategic plan.
Finally, through this process we realized that central to the success of any research strategic plan is the critical cultivation of diverse research teams and an international research community that can address relevant global issues and develop partnerships with organizations and stakeholders to expand the research mission and capacity.
The implications of Dr. Gerber’s publication extend far beyond academia. The strategic plan aims to make research accessible to art therapy practitioners, students, researchers, and educators to. build a strong, inclusive, and diverse research community. This multi-generational community will strengthen and sustain the efforts to systematically investigate clinical approaches, identify forms of evidence, and enhance therapeutic outcomes. As the field gains increased recognition, educational institutions like ours can incorporate these evidence-based practices into curricula, empowering a new generation of art therapists.
This publication serves as a catalyst for future research, inspiring scholars and researchers to explore uncharted territories in art therapy. We invite you to read the full publication by Dr. Nancy Gerber, Dr. Theresa Van Lith, and Maddie Centracchio to grasp the significance of their strategic plan in advancing the field of art therapy. Click here to access the article and visit the website https://www.artthxresearch.com/.