Using Visual Art in Therapy: Understanding the Possibilities and Limitations


While many social workers, mental health professionals, and creative arts therapists who work in other modalities (music, dance, drama)  appreciate the value of visual expression in practice, it is important to be educated about when and how to use art materials with clients in an effective and ethical manner.

Using Visual Art in Therapy: Understanding the Possibilities and Limitations

*this course is appropriate for MT, RDT, or DMTs interested in enhancing their ability to effectively integrate visual arts into their practice.
Taught by: Drena Fagen, LCSW-R, LCAT, ATR-BC and Nadia Jenefsky, MPS, LCAT, ATR-BC
Sunday, August 26
11:30 - 4:30pm
Location: 11 Peekskill Road, Cold Spring, NY  
Where is Cold Spring?
$150 Includes all art supplies, plus coffee, tea and an afternoon snack

This 5 hour (5 CEs) workshop will provide clinicians with a beginning knowledge on the practical use of visual arts in psychotherapy.

5.0 learning clock hours
11:00 - 11:30 Registration. Coffee and tea provided.
11:30-12:00 Presentation, introduction to the field of art therapy and scope of practice guidelines
12:00- 2:00 Hands-on art projects and discussion of theory and clinical rationale for interventions
2:00-2:15 Break
2:15 - 4:15  More art making and practice engaging with the artwork to effectively support psychotherapy work

4:15 - 4:30 Evaluation forms and CE certificate distribution

Description of course activity content:
This course will examine the clinical implications of incorporating the arts in therapy. Participants will be introduced to responsible techniques for how to understand artwork’s meaning, such as how to identify and expand narratives and metaphors and co-construct meaning. Other topics covered in this intensive course include techniques for engagement, issues of resistance specific to art therapy; planning interventions to fit treatment goals, clinical decision-making for when a therapist joins in art making, and appropriate/ ethical handling of artwork.

Discussion will include an overview of art therapy practice including New York State licensing, national certification and scope of practice guidelines. Course will review the advantages of art and nonverbal interventions including an understanding of basic media along the expressive continuum of control vs. regression.

A description of the teaching methods to be used:

  • Lecture and discussion to introduce creative arts therapy theory.
  • Role-play dyads of ‘therapist-client’ to practice activities and demonstrate the application of theory.
  • Group discussion of role-play experiences and impressions of activities to enhance learning and to gain perspective on the varied subjective experiences of group participants and to identify resistances that clients may experience when asked to complete tasks in a group setting.

The learning objectives of the course. Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the possibilities and limitations for the use of the arts in therapy for mental health professionals who are not licensed as creative arts therapists.
  2. List art materials along a continuum from regressive to controlled media and understand rationale for material choices used in treatment
  3. Describe responsible techniques for discussing client artwork and co-constructing meaning that will forward the work of therapy to meet treatment goals.
  4. Identify the three examples of commonly seen resistance to client engagement in the creative arts therapies.

New York Creative Arts Therapists PLLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0275, and is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed creative arts therapists #CAT-0026 and licensed mental health counselors (pending #MHC-0065). New York Creative Arts Therapists PLLC may offer NYSED approved clock hours for events or educational programs that have been approved by the department. Sessions for which NYSED-approved clock hours will be awarded are identified on our website

Price: $150.00
Sunday, August 26 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM
This training was actually real experiential learning ..... It was very clinical and so applicable to any work that we do. I felt so rejuvenated after the workshop. It was truly so inspiring.

Participant from a course that was taught for the NYC Chapter of NASW.