James Ryan, Dean of the School of Education at Harvard, gave the 2016 commencement speech - which I've listened to 3 times already. I can usually barely get through one.. This one is worth hearing and reading. He's funny, heartwarming, topical, and totally serious; and the 5 questions he poses are worth asking - as therapists!
"Asking good questions will be just as rewarding in your personal life. Good friends, as you know, ask great questions, as do good parents. They pose questions that, just in the asking, show how much they know and care about you. They ask questions that make you pause, that make you think, that provoke honesty, and that invite a deeper connection. They ask questions that don’t so much demand an answer as prove irresistible. My simple point is that posing irresistible questions is an art worth cultivating.
by Megan Thomas, NDNU Student Liaison
It was an uncommonly sunny Sunday at the northern edge of San Francisco, where the golden gate’s swooping lines decorate each backyard outlook. The Northern California Art Therapy Association (NotCATA) met in a small white house for their monthly board meeting, focusing particular attention to the upcoming conference. With September quickly approaching, committees are busy organizing workshops, social events, silent auctions and volunteer placements. Since this conference is open to art therapists up and down the west coast, the board is working hard to ensure a wonderful event.
After focused discussion over homemade lentil soup and warm baguette sandwiches, the board members endeavored on a hike of Land’s End. Self-care so often gets forgotten in favor of deadlines and accomplishments, so dedicating such a time to spend together, as a community, meant a great deal. We strolled and chatted; about the conference, our careers, families and lives. We shared the beautiful sun and the committed time with one another as we found our way to the Labyrinth. Robin Valicente, organizer and leader of the event, pulled watercolored paper disks and pencils from her backpack, and each member turned inward to create a bridge drawing. It was a fantastic Sunday, of both productive planning and relaxing exploration.
Keep an eye out for future NorCATA events, and be sure to join this vibrant community at the September conference in Berkeley.
NorCATA HLM Lisa Manthe and the Child Parent Institute honored as one of the Superbowl 50 Host Committee Playmakers Program...
50 Weeks. 50 Grants. 50 Playmakers
The 50 Fund’s Playmakers program recognizes the herculean efforts of community-based Bay Area nonprofits and the people who make those impacts possible.
One of the 50 Fund Playmakers is the Child Parent Institute (CPI), a parent education and children’s mental health agency, serving families throughout Sonoma County since 1978. Their mission is to end child abuse and strengthen the health of children, parents and families. CPI’s continuum of care includes children’s trauma counseling, parent education and support services, creative art therapy programs, support services for families with children on the autism spectrum, and a non-public school (New Directions) providing adolescent special education through trauma-informed educational services. Last year, CPI’s family-focused programs served more than 4,000 children and families. Their Playmaker grant will fund a multi-dimensional, three-month project called “IDin3D,” for 27students at New Directions between the ages of 13 and 24. This is a new program of art therapy that speaks directly to the neuro-developmental needs of the adolescent brain. It aims to enhance students’ imaginations, and help them find meaning in their lives.
CPI wants to recognize Mental Health Program Coordinator Lisa Manthe, who is an artist, therapist, researcher, and teacher who devotes her energy to helping low-income youth with mental health challenges to move beyond their early adversity and trauma. She has been with New Directions for 22 years. A Board Certified Art Therapist, Lisa counsels students individually, leads weekly art therapy groups, and supervises three therapists-in-training. Not only does Lisa work at the center, but she has also provided art therapy for more than six other Bay Area foundations. This is all not to mention that she is working towards her PhD in Clinical Art Therapy, focusing on adolescent anxiety and self-identity challenges.
Congratulations, Lisa and CPI!
Review of Lisa Mitchell's 1/31/16 workshop
by Megan Thomas, NDNU Student Liaison
When was the last time you named the unspoken? Or brainstormed sixty uses for a stool? Have you ridden the train for the sake of unblocking your creative process the way Richard Serra often does? How often do your thoughts include the word ‘should’? Lisa Mitchell has clarified the creative process, and it involves all these puzzle pieces. As a dynamic model, the anatomy of a painter’s process and a therapy session involve many of the same core concepts. Her upcoming book release: “Creativity as a Co-Therapist” supports her ongoing educational efforts to help therapists grab onto an idea with a light hand and a committed heart.
Her workshop on a sunny afternoon at San Francisco’s beautiful Fort Mason drew participants through the error-phobic constructs of our culture as manifested in evidence-based practice, managed healthcare systems, and a mark orientation that prioritizes the product over the process. Yet, in the creation of both art and mental health, the process of incubating an idea, pursuing a wide breadth of learning, and playfully facing the unknown help guide us via process to insight and resonance. By making artists blocks, participants explored what steps in the creative process they are often frozen in. Exposed to a beautifully synthesized presentation of theory, artist quotes, and real examples, we were shown a path towards flow and creative therapy. Experiences of anxiety and flow can co-occur, compassion and empathy can facilitate the healing dialogue, and the restorative process of creative expression is something without a right or a wrong. Lisa Mitchell reminded us to practice what we preach, to be kind to ourselves and to adopt the amateur spirit in a cycle of exploration and experimentation.
author: Megan Thomas, MAc
On a sunny San Francisco Sunday, Linda Chapman, MA, ATR-BC a force in the local art therapy community, met with members for a brief introduction to her neurodevelopmental art therapy approach. Drawing on the paradigm shift from rational and analytical analysis of behaviors, Chapman and the field of art therapy itself have embodied an emphasis on the integrative and affective right brain where the mind-body-self connection lies. With 70% of physical and mental growth occurring post-natal, the ability to understand and create secure attachment without spoken, rational language is essential in developing the supportive structures in the central nervous system. Based in this sound developmental model, Chapman explored her four-phase treatment structure that emphasizes right hemisphere interactions, developmentally appropriate and supportive art constructs, as well as unwavering safety, consistency and regulation modeling. With a slew of intriguing art directives from bilateral drawing warm-ups to long-term ‘A Room of One’s Own’ sculptures, Chapman shared her experience, courage and innovation in her work with chronically traumatized youth at the Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods.
As a new student in the field, I was amazed at her broad repertoire of art tasks and the almost limitless ways she spoke about engaging and helping her clients grow. A final task invited us to think of something challenging we were facing, absorb how it made us feel or think, and then to draw those reactions in an abstract or formless way. The ensuing discussion brought insight, both into the formal practice of dialoguing with an image, and into the personal realm of self-awareness. When Linda asked who learned something from the short, ten minute experiential, every single person raised their hand. It goes to show, modeling and preparing a space for thought and expression truly does allow for astounding growth and creation. I left the workshop calmed, inspired, and hungry to learn more. If you would like to learn more about her professional work, her book Neurobiologically Informed Trauma Therapy with Children and Adolescents is available, and workshop listings can be found at http://www.arttherapyredwoods.com/workshops-overview/
Thank you to all the members of NorCATA who support, attend, and contribute to the field. As a beginner in the field, experiences like these inspire and renew my commitment to this powerful practice.
Late Fall Seminar 2014 Review: Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy & Mindfulness Practice presented by Laury Rappaport, Phd, MFT, ATR-BC, REAT
author: Steve Schreibman, LCSW
On December 7 Laury Rappaport, Phd, MFT, ATR-BC, REAT presented Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy & Mindfulness Practice at the Child Parent Institute in Rohnert Park.
The presentation began with a presentation about Focusing which is the mindful awareness of the body. We learned about a clinical practice attitude which welcomes and listens to what the body is offering us. The foundation of this practice is based on the principals of: being present, creating a safe healing space, reflection, communication, empathy, clinical sensitivity and grounding.
The overriding attitude of this practice is to bring a friendly, non critical, non judgmental attitude to conflicts or issues that might be coming up. Self criticism was something to dialog with and something to be treat with curiosity. Ones issues are to be visualized and held,
In the days practice we were given a hugh array of fine art materials to express the issues our body was presenting. We had private time and time to dialog with fellow participants.
We were also given training in mindfulness practice as we furthered our non judgemental awareness while becoming present. We learned to become aware without criticism as we grounded ourselves in our breath. Positive affirmations were offered, such as the words "breathe in flower, breathe out fresh"; "breathe in mountain, breathe our solid." We concluded our process by creating imagery reflecting our inner awareness.
We were also shown videos using these skills with clients. Various client practices included bringing a theme to a group; creating a clear space to create so to further ones awareness and the use of process oriented individual therapy
For myself i was taken by the affirmation to breath in the image of a mountain and to breath out solid.
My art was a mountain with my golden glittered head atop.
Thank you Laury for a very inspiring heart felt afternoon. We left with practical tools to take to our practice and with a sense of well being among our fellow art therapists.
NDNU Liaison here sharing information on two exciting events coming this Fall at Notre Dame de Namur University…
Hey, where’d the summer go?
As the “dog days of summer” wind down and preparations for the upcoming Fall Semester are in full swing, the NDNU Student and Alumni Art Show is gearing up for Sunday, 8/31.
The show’s theme is “Process” and features Rosine Ferber’s mixed media works as well as many entries from Art Therapy students and alums. The show will be held at the Twin Pines Manor House in Belmont instead of the Gallery on the NDNU campus.
Here’s a link to the event.
Here's an update from NDNU --
NDNU is hosting a table again at the AATA conference in July in San Antonio, TX and would love to see NORCATA members stop by to say hello! We will be advertising the PhD program and our other educational opportunities.
Amy Backos and Gwen Sanders are taking another class of current Art Therapy students and alumni to Nicaragua this August. We are hoping to raise money to help the students pay for their flights and to purchase art supplies for our Art Therapy groups there. Here is a link to more information and fundraising opportunities. If members are not able to contribute, perhaps they can share the link – it is good advertising for art therapy too!
This blog is authored by members of our board, regional representatives and by various guest authors who are NorCATA members.