THIS POST INCLUDES:

1. Article purpose
2. Article Proposal
3. Further reading
4. Free Download Research Summary Template

ARTICLE PURPOSE

ABSTRACT

Quoted from original article:
“In this viewpoint the author makes a case for developing a clear and concise definition of art therapy that can easily be adopted by art therapists working across a spectrum of theoretical frameworks. The reader is asked to widen the lens through which art therapy is defined by considering its influence on society, the mind, health, and behavior. Reenvisioning art therapy in this way could promote its mission with individuals, organizations, and communities. Rather than suggesting a specific definition, it is hoped that this viewpoint will inspire new ideas for those who actively seek to more accurately define the field.”

ARTICLE PROPOSAL

CULTIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

 
The article suggests that research about the arts and health comes from groups outside of the art therapy field. This includes research about medical arts, education, and public health that occurs within larger institutions such as hospitals, universities, and government departments.
 
As art therapy is a smaller field, it is unfortunately not aligned with institutions that have financial resources and human resources that can be allocated to undertake research that specifically focuses on art therapy.
 
Art therapists have a significant amount of client experience to offer more formal institutions who have the funds and resources to explore the links between art and improving mental health.
 

POSITION ART THERAPISTS AS LEADERS

 
In addition to linking art therapists to institutional research, the author Heather Spooner suggests there are benefits to art therapists becoming more involved in the broader fields of art and health. 
 
There has long been a connection between art, health, and mental health and a number of organisations and institutions have attempted to establish patient/client programs and educational pathways to establish credentials. This is a perfect opportunity for art therapists to get involved and help establish a range of art therapy training programs that can unite the art and health fields.
 

CREATE A UNIFIED DEFINITION

 
The author Heather Spooner feels that art therapy doesn’t present with a strong identity or brand position and that the general public doesn’t have a consistent message about art therapy.
 
Heather mentions that there is an awareness of the value of engaging in art for wellness purposes. This is evidenced by the popularity of adult colouring books. Unfortunately, due to a lack of strong branding, many people in the general public believe adult colouring books fall under the domain of art therapy.
 
With an increasing focus in society on fostering self-esteem, developing self-awareness, mindfulness and resilience, the field of art therapy can play a strong role in supporting these endeavours if the art therapy community can create a unified definition of art therapy and it’s benefits.
 

OTHER PROPOSALS

The article mentions other proposals worth considering are:
 
  • Encourage graduate art therapy programs to customise curricula
  • Focus on creating a distinct identity and professional credentials

FURTHER READING

To read more about this topic of defining art therapy, a number of resources are provided below from the original article. Some resources are links or complete pdfs to download:
 

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Research Review: Embracing a Full Spectrum Definition of Art Therapy
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