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Theresa Van Lith

Published January 1, 2010

Theresa Van Lith
Practicum Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Art Therapy
Department of Art Education
Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Social Media


Dr. Theresa Van Lith moved from Melbourne, Australia in May 2013 to join the Art Therapy program at Florida State University. In 2012 she completed her Ph.D. in Public Health, with a specialization in Art Therapy, at La Trobe University, titled: ‘When change is the only constant: The role of art making in mental health recovery’. Dr. Van Lith has presented her research at numerous Australian and American conferences primarily on the benefits of art therapy for the mental health field.

Dr. Van Lith has primarily worked in community and acute mental health facilities with her focus on using art therapy as a coping and meaning making tool throughout the mental health recovery process. This has involved planning, implementing and evaluating art therapy programs, as well as organizing art exhibitions and retreats. Previous to this, she worked in the disability sector running art workshops focused on skill development. More recently her interest has focused on the welfare sector with a particular interest in using art therapy with marginalized groups.


Ph.D., in Public Health with specialization in Art Therapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. 2013.
MA in Art Therapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. 2006.
BA Psychology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. 2003.

Areas of Responsibility

Dr. Van Lith is the Practicum Coordinator for students in the Art Therapy Master’s program. This role involves liaising with students to organize and prepare them for their practicums during the program. Additionally, establish and maintain working relationships with the agencies that host our students for their practicum.

Teaching Areas

Multicultural Issues & Art Therapy (ARE 5935)
Practicum I (ARE 5941)
Art Therapy Special Populations (ARE 5554)
Research Survey (ARE 5745)
Master’s Thesis (ARE 5971)

Research Areas

1) Art therapy professional development, 2) art therapy service delivery models within mental health services, 3) art therapy evaluation models for mental health services, 4) qualitative research, 5) art-based research in art therapy.

Select Scholarly/Creative Works & Awards

  • Van Lith, T. (in press). The art making process as a coping tool in the journey of mental health recovery. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 24 pages.
  • Van Lith, T. (2014). A meeting with ‘I-Thou’: Exploring the intersection between mental health recovery and art making through a co-operative inquiry. Action Research Journal, 0(0), 20. doi:10.1177/1476750314529599
  • Van Lith, T. (2014). “Painting to find my spirit”: Art making as the vehicle to find meaning and connection in the mental health recovery process. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 16(1), 19-36.
  • Varney, H., Van Lith, T., Rumbold, J., Morris, D., Fegan, S., Rankin, B., Horsford, R., & Brophy-Dixon, J. (2014). Losing, and finding, spaces to learn in the university. Emotion, Space and Society, 11, 36-42.
  • Van Lith, T., Schofield, M., & Fenner, P. (2013). Identifying the evidence-base for art-based practices and their potential benefit for mental health recovery: A critical review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(6), 1309-1323. doi:10.3109/09638288.2012.732188