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Drexel University's Art Therapy Faculty, Alumni and Students Well-represented at the Annual Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association Conference

October 26, 2015

The Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association (DVATA) is the local association for art therapists in southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Every year the DVATA sponsors a conference for continuing education of art therapists. This year the conference, which was held on October 10th, featured one of our most distinguished and accomplished alumni, Sandra Sheller‘04/’05, as the keynote speaker.

Sheller addressed the topic of art therapy in the treatment of trauma in her presentation entitled “An Art Therapist Explores the Heart and Soul of Trauma.” Sheller also offered an experiential workshop “Intimate Edge: Use of Therapist’s Art Making to Advance Art Therapy.”

In addition, art therapists representing the faculty from the Creative Art Therapy and Counseling and the PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies presented at the conference. Michelle Rattigan, MA, assistant clinical professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department, presented her work on “Self-Compassion and the Creative Clinician.”

From the doctorate program, Girija Kaimal, PhD, assistant professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department, presented her research on “Health Outcomes of Visual Self Expression,” and Nancy Gerber, PhD, director of the PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies, ably accompanied by Victoria Scotti, PhD candidate, presented their collaborative work on “Artistic Inquiry as a Pedagogy for Studying Intersubjectivity in the Creative Arts Therapies.”

Kaimal’s research, for which she was awarded the American Art Therapy Association Research Award, was recently highlighted in an issue of DrexelNow. Scotti recently published an article co-authored with her classmate Angela Libby Aicher related to the topic presented at the DVATA conference entitled “Veiling and Unveiling: An artistic exploration of self-other processes” in the Qualitative Inquiry Journal. Another related article was co-authored by Gioia Chilton, PhD, ’14 an alumnathe first graduate of our doctorate program, Gerber and Scotti. This article was entitled “Towards an Aesthetic Intersubjective Paradigm for Arts Based Research: An art therapy perspective.”

Art therapy alumni were also well-represented. In addition to Sandra Sheller, Mindy Jacobson Levy ‘78, Michelle Dean, ‘96 and Laurel Greberman, ‘91 contributed presentations to the program!