Summer 2018 International Program Visits Materials for the Arts

This summer, SVA MPS Art Therapy is partnering with the Art Therapy department at the Cork Institute of Technology in Cork, Ireland for a summer international exchange program.  Here, first-year MPS Art Therapy student, Jenny Asaro, writes about the first few days of the program:

SVA MPS Art Therapy students and CIT Art Therapy students and staff at Materials for the Arts

Graduate Art Therapy students from the Cork Institute of Technology in Cork,Ireland arrived on Saturday for a twelve day exchange with SVA MPS Art Therapy. The students are participating alongside some first year MPS Art Therapy students in an intensive Community Access course. The first day of this course included a visit to Materials for the Arts in Long Island City, a organization dedicated to providing recycled materials for art education at public schools and nonprofits. The visit was incorporated into the curriculum to share the resource with out visiting students, as well as to gather materials for an upcoming special project. The vast warehouse of donated and recycled materials was a novelty to explore; materials ranged from discarded books and clothing items, to vintage postcards and buttons, to tiles and fabric. Patrick Byrne, a CIT student, called the warehouse “a treasure trove” and expressed his connection to recycled materials in his own art process. He also shared his appreciation for the resource and acknowledged that he wished there was a similar organization in Cork City. It was exciting to utilize such a dynamic community resource that successfully counters the patterns of waste and excess in modern society.

Day Two of Summer 2018 International Exchange Program: Zine Making

The theme of recycling and reusing materials was continued in the second day of the course. SVA students are required to create a visual journal detailing their exchange experience as part of the curriculum. In preparation for this Aaron Cockle, MPS Art Therapy Graduate Advisor, led a workshop on creating sketchbooks from recycled paper. The basis for the workshop is in Aaron’s own art practice; recycled sketchbooks are a regular part of his creative process in creating comics and zines. A range of old event flyers, calendars and even tea bag wrappers were torn, folded and bound to create some truly unique sketchbooks. The class created in a flurry of activity; some students made as many as five separate books while others spent time working on one intricate piece. At the end of the workshop all participants placed their work on the same table. One CIT student commented that the various sizes and shapes looked like the Manhattan skyline; there was a hushed moment where the class observed their books, together in one space. It was agreed that the materials and guidance facilitated an frenzy of inspiration–culminating in a diverse and lovely range of work.
Posted in Faculty, In Class, International, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects, Students, Workshops

#CONNECTED: Exhibition + Panel Discussion

#CONNECTED Panel Discussion
Monday, June 11, 5:30-7pm
132 West 21 Street, 3rd Floor
FREE to the public, please RSVP to [email protected].

Art therapists and art therapy interns from Counseling In Schools will participate in an interactive panel discussion addressing the collaborative art exhibition #CONNECTED, clinical creative arts therapy in schools and this therapeutic exhibition process. The challenges connected to supporting digital natives will be addressed as well as how the themes of privacy/confidentiality, relationship-building, and education show up within the work. The panel discussion will run for approximately 40 minutes and then open up for questions. It will close with an art directive that reflects some of the work exhibited.

Panelists include:
Amanda Smith, LCAT-LP
Ingrid Mellor, ATR-BC, LCAT
Amanda Steerman, ATR-BC, LCAT
Alanna Miller, LCAT-LP
Tamara Sagar, Art Therapy Intern
Rivka Polisky, Art Therapy Intern
Christine Howell, MHC-LP, Moderator

#CONNECTED is on exhibit June 2-14 in the MPS Art Therapy Department at 132 West 21 Street, 5th Floor Gallery.

The opening reception is Wednesday, June 6, 5-8pm.

Additional viewing times by appointment, please contact 212.592.2610 /[email protected] to schedule.

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects, Workshops

Summer 2018 Continuing Education Courses

PDC-1026-A / Art Therapy as a Career
Tuesday, June 5-26, 6-9PM
4 sessions; 1CEU; $150
AhnHee Strain, ATR-BC, LCAT; art therapist, The Art Therapy Project

This course will provide an overview of careers in the field of art therapy. Topics will include: the history and theoretical foundations of art therapy; methods and materials; art development, assessment and diagnosis; the use of art therapy in a professional and community setting. Sessions will consist of lectures as well as art experientials.


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PDC-1023-A/ Studio Art Therapy Techniques
Friday, July 20-August 10, 6:30-9:30PM
4 sessions; 1 CEU; $150

Join other art therapists and artists in studio work that is designed to heighten perception and sensory awareness. Combining an open studio and thematic approach, experientials will be used to explore personal and artistic identity, as well as facilitate an understanding of the art-making processes art therapists employ with clients. While designed for art therapists, the course is open to all, and geared to help tap into your inherent creativity.

Posted in Alumni, In Class, Professional Development, Students, Workshops

Miscellaneous May Posting: Exhibits and Save-the-Dates

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Conference, Exhibition, Faculty, Galleries, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects

First-Year Student Perspective on Second-Year Thesis Presentations

The thesis presentations by the class of 2018 on Friday, April 20, 2018 were a success–a success that was shared with the upcoming class of 2019. As the class of 2018 will soon be out in the field, the current first-year students will soon be working on their thesis presentations. Last Friday first-year students were able to support their soon-to-be colleagues as the class of 2018 presented a variety of compelling research. This was also an opportunity for the class of 2019 to mentally prepare for the upcoming thesis work that will coincide with completion of the SVA MPS Art Therapy program. First-year students Ariel Roland Waring and Jenny Asaro shared their thoughts on the experience:

Ariel: The thesis presentations that stood out for me were the ones that utilized interviews–more of a traditional or experimental thesis, which is similar to my educational background. One focused on the experience of foreign-born art therapists [Haylie Chang, Class of 2018] and another on the experiences had by Muslim art therapists while working with clients, staff and in their education [Saeideh Golji, Class of 2018]. Seeing these presentations made the idea of a thesis less intimidating. I had been stewing ideas in my head, so it was validating to see others present case presentations with an experimental framework. I thought, “Oh this isn’t so bad. I can do this.” Also, it was exciting to see research happening in the field and not just reading about it in class. Seeing work done by future colleagues made me excited to add to it.

Jenny: I was pleased to see the work of the second-year students shared so eloquently–I walked away feeling inspired and more at ease with the idea of completing thesis research. In particular I was struck by a self-study which explored countertransference through process art [Glorianny Guzman, Class of 2018]. The presentation was insightful and showed how self-reflection could deeply inform clinical work and be shared for the work of others. It was helpful to see the variety of research presented, which also included individual and group case studies. Seeing the range of presentations opened up possibilities for my own research and helped to clarify what will be expected of my work next year. I feel relieved knowing it is attainable and excited to see the thesis research that develops from the work of my peers.

Artwork by Jenny Asaro, Class of 2019

Written and compiled by Jenny Asaro, Class of 2019

Posted in Art, Faculty, In Class, Professional Development, Students

3 Questions with Lindsay Lederman

Lindsay Lederman, ATR-BC, LCAT, ATCS

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.

Artwork by Jenny Asaro, Class of 2019

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.

Artwork by Jennifer James, Class of 2019

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

Posted in 3 Questions, Alumni, Art, Faculty, In Class, Professional Development, Students

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Posted in Faculty, In Class, Professional Development, Students

Virtual Reality in Art Therapy

The evolution of technology has undeniably revolutionized our interaction with the world. From our cultural mores to our daily regimens, technology’s advancement has largely industrialized humanity. Even so, the presence of technology among various occupational sectors is remarkable. Its incorporation into the workforce has provided some of the most advantageous solutions to cataclysmic conditions experienced by mankind. Art therapy is among one of the rising industries to embrace such change; technology is being interwoven into the field in marveling ways. One recent groundbreaking method has been the exploration and benefits of utilizing virtual reality within the art therapy practice.  There are several websites and apps, such as Sketchfab and Tilt Brush, that allow you to view and create VR artwork that utilizes both commercially accessible and high-end equipment. This creates a nice segue into virtual reality art, allowing the viewer to experience the scale, volume, brushstrokes, and animated qualities of VR forms even if direct access to high-end VR art-making tools are limited.Utilizing virtual reality in art therapy allows the participant to fully immerse themselves in the creative process while harmoniously integrating self-enrichment, expression, exploration, and encourages dialogue between the participant and their inner world. Due to its infinite canvas capabilities, virtual reality offers endless possibilities to engage both therapeutically and creatively in art making.

Video provided by Tilt Brush by Google [2016].

Posted in Art, Professional Development


MPS Art Therapy alum Karen Gibbons (Class of 2005) will be discussing her current show, Luminous Paradox, now on view at 440 Gallery, 440 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, on 

Join us for a lively conversation with Karen Gibbons about her solo show, Luminous Paradox.  Also joining in are the three artists in the project space discussing their  exhibition, Composite, featuring new work by Leigh Blanchard, Gail Flanery, and David Stock.  After the talk, stay for the closing party!

Karen Gibbons

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development

Boys Hope Girls Hope

Boys Hope Girls Hope, located in Brooklyn, NY, is a college preparatory boarding program that caters to socioeconomically and disadvantaged high school students who are academically capable and motivated for educational success. This non-profit organization provides young men and women with a safe and stable living environment, academic and social support, and the guidance necessary to actuate their potential for academic achievement. Additionally, BHGH scholars are offered a variety of workshops throughout the school year for both personal and professional enrichment. Art therapy has been integrated into the program to provide additional support to the scholars by offering a space for creative expression, awareness and development of interpersonal skills, group cohesion, and to explore one’s self identity. Art therapy at Boys Hope Girls Hope is offered in individual and group sessions, as well as open studio format.

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Corresponding the theme of Spring Forward, scholars participated in a 2-day expressive arts workshop aimed towards self-awareness by challenging them to assess deterring factors of the self and to identify the necessary actions to move toward growth through self-actualization. Scholars were able to choose between the following modalities of artistic expression: visual arts, theatre, poetry, and hip-hop. The visual arts workshop was held at the School of Visual Arts and was facilitated by alumna Naomi Cohen-Thompson (c/o 2008), ATR-BC, LCAT of Boys Hope Girls Hope NY, and SVA MPS Art Therapy students William McMillin, Amanda Clelland, Kayley Giorgini, and KasMoné Williams. Scholars were offered a variety of materials to communicate their move toward growth through mixed media.

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Performances by scholars who participated in the other expressive arts will take place at the Spring Forward exhibition reception held tonight, Friday, April 13, 2018 at 5:30 to 7pm, curated by Naomi Cohen-Thompson, ATR-BC, LCAT. The event is free and open to the public. The artwork created for the Spring Forward exhibition is available to view until April 14, 2018 by appointment through the MPS Art Therapy Department at the School of Visual Arts.

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Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development, Students