The summer was full of adventure for Florida State University’s (FSU) Department of Art Education! Between July 8-12, 2015, over 100 students, faculty, and alumni traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the American Art Therapy Association’s 46th annual conference, as well as the Friends and Alumni Reception. Both were phenomenal events.
This year, the American Art Therapy Association’s conference was titled Bridging Cultural Terrains: Expanding the Lens of Art Therapy, which focused on art therapy’s promotion of healing, health, and wellness in an array of settings. Among other topics, presentations included theories, research, and innovative ways to apply art therapy in the world. Florida State University’s Art Therapy Program was a strong presence at this year’s AATA Conference. Faculty and student presentations stood out among the many presentations this year. In particular, we would like to thank FSU faculty members Dr. David Gussak, Dr. Marcia Rosal, and Dr. Carolyn Brown Treadon, as well as Meredith McMackin and Lorelei Voronin, two FSU Art Therapy students, for their contributions and presentations during the conference.
Dr. David Gussak is a professor of Art Therapy and the Chairperson for Florida State’s Department of Art Education. Dr. Gussak’s paper, Bridging Art Therapy & Forensic Communities: Peering Through a Fragmented Lens, focused on his research and experience as an art therapist to examine the challenges of offering art therapy in non-therapeutic environments. The following discussion also focused on the successful collaboration and negotiation with non-clinical professionals. Dr. Gussak also lead a masters supervision group discussion entitled “Art Therapy and Forensics” which explored the continuum between forensic art therapy and art therapy in a forensic setting. He drew from his personal experience as an expert witness in two murder trials as well as his research on art therapy in forensic settings.
In addition, Dr. Marcia Rosal also led several presentations. Dr. Rosal is a professor and the director of Florida State’s Art Therapy program. In partnership with other program directors, (Cheryl Shiflett, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, Mary Roberts, EdS, ATR-BC, LPC, Heidi Bardot, MA, ATR-BC, Simone Alter-Muri, PhD, ATR-BC, ATCS, LMHC, and Lori Mackey, DAT, ATR-BC, LPC, CCLS) Dr. Rosal co-led a panel called “Assessing Student Performance: Evaluation, Remediation, and Dismissal Policies in Art Therapy Education” to discuss professional performance evaluations for graduate students. Existing assessment policies and procedures, evaluation criteria, and challenging cases were explored. Dr. Rosal and Dr. Isis led a discussion, “Cognitive Behavioral Art Therapy and Mindfulness Based Art Therapy,” about the similarities between cognitive behavioral art therapy (CBAT) and mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT). The speakers drew from theoretical bases and case material to dispel the common misconception that these two approaches are on opposite ends of the treatment spectrum.
Dr. Carolyn Brown Treadon, an Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy at FSU, also directed two presentations at the conference. Dr. Treadon and Ms. Mary Ellen McAlevey, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LPC, ACS, co-led a discussion, “Creating a Bridge Between Graduate Students and Adjunct Faculty,” which focused on the relationship between adjunct faculty and their students. The difficult social and logistical adjustments to graduate programs combined with the limited availability and contact with adjunct faculty can strain the relationship formation. Both adjunct professors shared strategies and insights on remaining connected to students and balancing the needs of students with professorial expectations. Dr. Treadon also led a supervision group for professionals working with young children entitled, “Art Therapy with Young Children.” Participants engaged in discussion about the successes, difficulties, and techniques for engaging young children in the therapy process.
Meredith McMackin is a FSU Art Therapy PhD Candidate. Meredith McMackin, in partnership with Gretchen Miller,MA, ATR-BC, CTC-S, Genevieve Camp, MA, ATR-BC, LMHC, Rachel Mims, MS, Janice Havlena, MA, ATR-BC, and Amy Bucciarelli, MS, ATR-BC, LMHC, led a panel on “Art, Transformation, and Trauma: Papermaking as Art Therapy.” The panel featured art therapists who use papermaking inspired by the social action and art-based mission of Peace Paper. The content included papermaking as a form of trauma intervention, including vignettes addressing eating disorder recovery, managing illness and disability, grief and loss, and working with veterans.
Lorelei Voronin is a recent Masters Art Therapy graduate. Lorelei Voronin, in partnership with Chelsea Plotner, MS, presented on “Military Dependent Children: Art Therapy in a Summer Camp Setting.” This presentation focused upon the creation of a successful therapeutic summer arts camp servicing children of military dependents. The presentation included personal and theoretical insight on the emotional coping skills, needs, and resiliency of family and children of military veterans.
The Friends and Alumni Reception took place at the Gamut Gallery, just a few blocks from Hyatt Regency, the host hotel for the conference. The staff at Gamut were very helpful and ensured that the event was successful. Students from Florida State University, Notre Dame University, and Emporia State University worked together to plan and carry out the event. The reception was a casual get-together for students and alumni. Light oer d’oeuvres were served and wine. Everyone mingled throughout the night. The reception consisted of a combination of old colleagues catching up and new students within the field learning about what others are doing in art therapy. Dr. David Gussak thanked everyone for coming to the reception and acknowledged those responsible for putting on the event.
THANKS TO CAROLYN FOR PHOTOS