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David Gussak, Ph.D., ATR-BC: Book Signing at FSU Bookstore

Published November 19, 2013

FSU Department of Art Education Professor and Chair, Dave Gussak, has recently received noteworthy recognition and press for the release of his new book, Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases.

Please join us for a very special event on Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at 7:00PM, [after-hours!!], at the FSU Bookstore for our last book signing of the year for David Gussak’sArt on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases!Preceding the actual signing of the books, Dr. Gussak will once again provide insight into the murderer and the trial that inspired this noteworthy publication.



This past September, Dr. Gussak held a book signing at Barnes & Noble where more than 100 people attended, much greater than the anticipated 30, to hear him speak about his experiences in using art therapy with prison inmates, as well as the five year process that lead to the publishing of Art on Trial.  On Friday, November 15th, Dave also provided a 3 hour lecture in Washington DC on Art Therapy and Forensics, culminating in another book signing. This event, sponsored by the George Washington University’s Art Therapy Program and Forensic Psychology Program, and the Potomac Art Therapy Association, saw almost 140 people in attendance. He is next scheduled for a discussion and signing in Rochester, NY, at Nazareth College, Monday, November 25th, sponsored by its art therapy program.
In addition to this event, Dr. Gussak was recently featured on WFSU, the NPR station for Tallahassee, as a guest of Tom Flanigan to further discuss Art on Trial. Listen Now!

If the audio player does not show up in your browser,  LISTEN HERE

 Order Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases Now! Available on

More on Art on Trial


Art on Trial: Art Therapy
in Capital Murder Cases

by Dave Gussak, PhD, ATR-BC

A man murdered one of his children and attempted to kill the other. The prosecution sought the death penalty. The defense exhausted all typical strategies to demonstrate mental illness and they believed the defendant’s art held the answers.

Drawing upon the experiences of an art therapist serving as an expert witness, Art on Trial details in a clear narrative:

  • Art as evidence for a death row case
  • A comprehensive assessment of 60 pieces of art
  • An account of all court proceedings
  • Ethical, moral and legal ramifications

For professionals and general readers, this volume presents a gripping case that art can be evidence of a damaged and dangerous psyche.

David Gussak, Ph.D., ATR-BC, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Art Education and Clinical Coordinator of the Graduate Art Therapy Program at Florida State University. He has published and lectured extensively on the use of art therapy in correctional settings and with violent and aggressive clients.


Dave Gussak, Ph.D

David Gussak, Ph.D., ATR-BC., began his work in prison as an art therapist in 1991, in California. Upon moving to Kansas, where he became director of the Graduate Art Therapy Program in the Department of Psychology and Special Education at Emporia State University in Kansas, he continued his involvement with corrections by working as an art therapist for a short-lived grant funded program that provided such services to the Juvenile Justice and Family Courts systems. He also began placing his graduate students from Emporia State program, in prison as interns. Since arriving at Florida State University in January 2002, he has created and expanded correctional placements for the art therapy students.

Currently, David is an associate professor and chairperson for The Florida State University, Department of Art Education. He lectures for the FSU Holocaust Institute every year on the art of the Holocaust. David also serves as is an editor on the editorial board for the AATA Journal. He also served as Treasurer and Executive Committee Member on the Board of Directors for the Art Therapy Credentials Board

He has also been an adjunct and visiting professor for several art therapy programs across the United States.

Presenting internationally, nationally and regionally, David focuses on such topics as art therapy in forensic settings; working with aggressive and violent clients; various governmental and legislative issues facing the field: and professional issues of the art therapist. One of the papers he presented on his work in the prisons for the 1st Annual Art Therapy World Congress in Budapest, Hungary has been re-printed in a Slovakian art therapy journal. He authored a chapter in Dee Spring’s book A Transatlantic Dialogue that has been republished in the Russian Art Therapy Journal. He has also contributed a chapter to Springer’s Encyclopedia of Adolescents, a grand project with many volumes, where he focused on the aggressive and violent adolescents.

Recognized for this astounding work, Gussak has been featured in the Tallahassee Democrat article “Literary notes“, and in a series of blogs on Psychology Today.

He also is the creator and author of his website,