A Visual Reflection on Art Therapy Foundations

First-year MPS Art Therapy student, Athena Toldeo, reflects on the foundations of Art Therapy: “I started this illustration with a portrait of [Art Therapy pioneer] Margaret Naumburg – I then began to draw [another pioneer,] Edith Kramer on the far left corner. After contemplating their roles, I began to think beyond these figures and consider ancestral influences of art and culture. This led to the depictions of cave art on the top left corner. I feel it is a native and metaphysical force that drives creative action. The little orbs represent thought and how thoughts can be translated through virtual language.

The middle of Edith and Naumburg is a window, because along with Freud and Jung- these individuals were interested in entering the window of someone’s world through different forms of therapy.

On the bottom right is a New York City skyline because many of the institutions that help facilitate American art therapy training were first developed in New York. In the middle of the Hudson River is a huge iceberg, in reference to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.

On the right is a continuation of thought- as I feel the art therapy field runs deeper than the historic figures that helped structure its value. I feel art therapy is about having someone support you through a journey. In this case – I feel art therapy can help lead someone out of stormy waters. Art therapy can provide coping tools and lead to a road of discovery. Art therapy can help navigate through emotions that are difficult to articulate. Art therapy can reveal the power we have within to take agency in our lives.”

Thank you, Athena, for sharing your work!

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