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Dave Gussak

Published January 1, 2010

Professor of Art Therapy
Department of Art Education
Curriculum Vitae (CV)


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David Gussak, Ph.D., ATR-BC., has taught for the Florida State University Art Therapy program for more than 20 years; for 10 of those years, he also served as the Chairperson for the university’s Department of Art Education. Prior to this, he served as faculty and program director for Emporia State University’s Graduate Art Therapy program. He also provides numerous lectures and workshops for various educational programs all over the world. Dr. Gussak has more than 30 years of clinical and practical experience; this includes various forensic systems, several correctional institutions and settings, a private practice, and most recently, he currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the FSU/Fl Department of Corrections Art Therapy in Prisons program.

He has presented extensively internationally and nationally on—amongst many topics– forensic art therapy and art therapy in forensic settings. Along with almost 50 journal and chapter publications, he has authored his own books: Art on Trial: Art Therapy for Capital Murder Cases [2013, Columbia University Press] Art and Art Therapy with the Imprisoned: Re-Creating Identity [2019, Routledge Publishing] and, most recently The Frenzied Dance of Art and Violence [2022, Oxford University Press]. He has also co-edited several other editions, including [with Dr. Marcia Rosal] The Wiley Handbook of Art Therapy [2016, Wiley-Blackwell]. For several years Dr. Gussak also maintained a blog for Psychology Today entitled “Art on Trial: Confessions of a Serial Art Therapist”:, focusing on art therapy along the forensic continuum.

Dr. Gussak has served the art therapy field and community in many capacities. He served as chairperson, board or committee member for numerous professional and community organizations over the years, including for several state art therapy associations, AATA and the ATCB. These include his experiences as Past Board Director for the American Art Therapy Association, Treasurer of the Art therapy Credentials Board, chair for AATA’s Nomination Committee and its GAC, and member of the ATCB ethics committee. He currently sits on the editorial review board for Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association and the Arts In Psychotherapy, and is a frequent guest editor for The International Journal of Offender Treatment and Criminology.

After all this time, he still loves what he does, and still can’t believe that he gets paid to do it.

Teaching Areas

Theories of Art Therapy (ARE 5649)

Therapeutic Use of Art Materials (ARE 5460)

Practicum II (ARE 5942)

Ethics & Professional Issues (ARE 5640)

Research Areas

Forensic Art therapy in correctional settings working with aggressive and violent clients, the work of the art therapist; and the development of the professional art therapist.

Select Scholarly/Creative Works & Awards

– Gussak, D.E. (2022). The frenzied dance of art and violence. Oxford University Press.

– Soape, E., Barlow, C., Gussak, D. E., Brown, J., & Schubarth, A. (2021). Creative IDEA: Introducing a Statewide Art Therapy in Prisons Program. International Studies, 363–379.

– Gerber, N., Kapitan, L., Forinash, M., Gussak, D. E., La Civita, J., & Kaimal, G. (2021) Doctoral Education in Art Therapy: Current Trends and Future Directions, Art Therapy, 38:1, 42-49, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2020.1761735

– Malhotra, B., & Gussak, D. (2020) Journey: A Strength-Based Art Therapy Approach With Those Who Have Sexually Offended, Art Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2020.1823198

-Gussak, D. E. (2019). Art and art therapy with the imprisoned: Re-creating identity. Routledge.