Lindsay Lederman, ATR-BC, LCAT, ATCS, is a practicing art therapist and one of the newest additions to our faculty. She is currently teaching Adult Art Development with Judith A. Jordan, PHD, LCSW, CASAC. The class examines character development of adults over the life-cycle with a focus on trauma, clinical interventions and art therapy treatment approaches. Recently, Lindsay introduced soft art sculpture to the class in an experiential using fabric and sewing materials.
1.Can you describe your rationale behind presenting the soft arts to our MPS Art Therapy students?
The use of sewing materials and fabric brings up attachment content; the act of sewing is a metaphor for literal attachment and the softness of the fabric has a soothing quality, like a baby’s blanket. My second year internship supervisor ran a soft arts group, which has informed this work in the classroom. Experientials are a way to connect the reading and theory to the classroom experience, as well as to clinical use. Students should embody the processes that they will use with clients; the personal process informs the client experience. Covering attachment topics in class can be difficult, touching on students’ own traumas and attachment patterns. The self-soothing quality of this art process is a way to be able to connect to these themes while engaging in self-care. In this case, the students were able to walk away with an object, the soft sculpture, which can make learning about attachment feel safer.
2. How has your education at SVA informed the work you do now as a professor and an art therapist?
As a new professor I remember my experience as a student; I had a great experience at SVA and I hope to provide a similar experience for my students now. The classroom experience is a microcosm, an environment which can be very important to an art therapist in training. As a clinician, I find myself using a person-centered approach which I developed through my education at SVA. I practice meeting people where they are at and have learned to trust the process. Sometimes it is easy to question the impact of the work we do, but I recognize that movement and positive changes in treatment are sometimes hard to see. I find that reflecting on the art that comes from session allows me and the client to see changes through the artwork.
3. Can you discuss your own creative process and how that interacts with your professional life?
My world with art therapy started with my own art process, which is focused on painting. After completing my undergraduate in psychology I was taking art classes and a professor commented on the emotional quality of my artwork and suggested I look into the field of art therapy. Soon after I was in the library researching art therapy, amazed no one had suggested it to me before. Artwork is so reflective. It provides insight into the self–how you feel things, what you pick up from others. I truly believe art is a mirror to part of the psyche which, maybe some people have access to, but I don’t. I need to call myself on it when I don’t do art because I recognize the avoidance of an artwork as significant. It’s a way to hold myself accountable; I currently have a canvas in progress and a blank canvas at home. I find it easier sometimes to be creative during my breaks at work.
Lindsay is a dedicated professor, therapist and supervisor. She holds an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and her masters degree from SVA’s MPS Art Therapy Program. Lindsay began her career at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center as the first art therapist in their child and family outpatient clinic. Later she joined CARES–their adolescent day program. She then started the first art therapy program at Nemour’s Hospital for Children and is currently the Clinical Director at The Art Therapy Project. Lindsay’s work is enlivened by her passion for sharing the power of art therapy to help those who have endured trauma.
Written and compiled by Jenny Asaro, MPS Art Therapy Class of 2019