The MPS Art Therapy 2017 Annual Conference, Creative Arts Therapies: Innovation and Integration, is coming up on September 8! In previous posts we introduced our guest speakers. This week we are featuring our panel moderator, Eileen McGann, who comments on her work and the conference theme of innovation and integration:
In reflecting upon the conference theme of innovation and integration my belief is that these two dynamics are easily interwoven when the process is genuine, emerges from and honors the individual. Innovation comes with understanding and experiencing the other as unique and focusing on their process of self-exploration and stability in emotional states of being. As human beings, while we may share common experiences, thoughts, feelings we also bring a personal history and relationships that are quite unique. My work as an art therapist has been with young people who have experienced complex trauma taking a studio based approach and developing with them a visual vocabulary through the arts.
As Director of the Arts and Creative Therapies at MercyFirst we have been using the arts as a catalyst for addressing issues of social justice. The focus of these artistic endeavors is to unify people in awareness, reduce perceptions of bias, increase tolerance, acceptance and affirmation of each other and build relationships that are inclusive: aspects of what we all need for a socially just world and from which we can all benefit.
The arts can provide us with a way of expressing and communicating personal experiences, feelings, dreams, fears, struggles, achievements and hope. Through visual narrative and symbolic expression, the individual and common human experience can be understood – a soulful expression that does not necessarily need language translation – the arts can unite us.
Eileen P McGann, ATR-BC, LCAT
Eileen has a broad range of clinical experience concentrated in therapeutic milieu and studio approach with young people who have experienced complex and chronic trauma, refugee children, as well as adult survivors of trauma and women veterans. Eileen developed and is the Director of the Arts and Creative Therapies program at Mercy First in Syosset, New York. Eileen’s writings about art therapy have been published nationally and internationally as well as translated into other languages. Her lectures and consultations include the United States, France, Estonia, Ireland, Turkey and in Slovakia where the United States Embassy sponsored her role. As a member of the Non-Governmental Organization Partnership for Global Justice, Eileen presented at a United Nations Orientation and writes for their newsletter. She recently participated as a faculty leader at the Salzburg Global Citizen Alliance in Austria. In addition to exhibitions, which include Long Island Museum, Islip Art Museum, Evers Gallery, Gallery North, Molloy College Art Gallery (solo), and New York University, The School of Eileen McGann’s artwork has been featured as book and journal covers. A former member of the Editorial Board of Art Therapy, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Eileen also holds a long-time connection as faculty member in the Honors program at Molloy College as well as the Graduate Art Therapy Programs at New York University and SVA.