Q&A: Jennifer Byxbee, ATR-BC, LCAT

MPS Art Therapy is excited to welcome Jennifer Byxbee, ATR-BC, LCAT, MPS, for our next community lecture on Friday, November 22nd! Jennifer will be speaking about Digital Media Ethical Use and Considerations for Therapists. In this era of social media, our networks are much larger, we have more access to people and communication can be both immediate and permanent. This presents challenges and benefits in our work as therapists. In the lecture, she will discuss the relevant ethical issues as they pertain to therapists’ use of digital and social media in their personal and professional lives.

In anticipation of Friday’s lecture, we chatted with Jennifer to get a sneak peek!

MPS AT: Tell us about your background. 

Jennifer: I graduated from SVA in 2007 and I have been working in a variety of settings as an art therapist since then including hospitals, shelters, community-based programs, and schools. In 2012 I went back for institute training at Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy to complete a clinical fellowship program and I currently work in private practice as an Art and Gestalt therapist here in the city.

MPS AT: What about digital media ethics interests you?

Jennifer: In 2014, another SVA alum, Amanda Zucker and I started a blogging project with middle and high school students in partnership with Counseling in Schools and SVA to help teach them some basic coding and web design as a part of an Art Therapy group. Throughout the two years that Status Update ran many questions came up about using digital media with clients as well as the participants (ours and the students) own personal use of social media sites. Amanda and I co-authored a paper about our project that was published in a book, Combining the Creative Art Therapies with Technology in 2017. The experience of working with students using social media made me consider the ethical implications of treating clients using technology. In starting a private practice, however, I was faced with far more personal ethical questions as I was then considering my own use of digital technology and social media both as a professional and as a human living in the 21st Century. In this landscape that is constantly changing, I think it’s important to continue to reevaluate our ethical standards and how we negotiate being a therapist with being a person. 

MPS AT: How has investigating digital media usage informed your practice as an art therapist?

Jennifer: I think I touched on this a bit in the last question but I think as a business owner, a therapist and a human I am immersed in digital media in many different ways. I think having a dialogue about this topic with other professionals as well as my clients has informed my practice immensely. It has caused me to examine myself and be accountable to my clients, and transparent with my clients in ways that I’m not sure we had to 20 years ago. 

MPS AT: What would you say is the most important thing for an art therapist to consider when using social media?

Jennifer: I think the most important thing to consider here is that if we are not honest with ourselves or in this field about the ways in which we use social media we cannot create best practices around these topics. The use of digital media is a complex topic and I hope that we can have an engaging open dialogue about it on the 22nd.

MPS AT: Thank you so much, Jennifer! We are looking forward to having you speak!

Jennifer’s lecture is FREE and open to the public. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-lecture-series-digital-media-ethical-use-and-consideration-for-therapists-tickets-61806010441?fbclid=IwAR1yjgq6q9AKPl1vjg-Jhm5bxXAMZPPewX1UQ-Uwy8qZbN7ZWFBB7sYzdFg

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