Make Your Own Combat Paper

Congratulations to the Combat Paper Project for their featured segment on PBS NewsHour! They’re doing such amazing work with our Veterans!

Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to make your own Combat Paper – AKA paper made from fabric:

Watch Making Your Own ‘Combat Paper’: A Step-by-Step Tutorial on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

And, in case you missed it, here’s a portion of the broadcast that aired yesterday:

Watch Combat Paper: Veterans Battle War Demons With Paper-Making on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Announcement from Find Art Directives Users Group

Via LinkedIn’s Find Art Directives Users Group:

Greetings members. I have run a new set of statistics on the web database:

746 ————-> Number of users.
714 (96%) –> Number of users with AT training.
75 ————-> Number of Public Directives (directives that you
have created and shared with others)
15 (2%) ——> Number of users contributing Public Directives.

Sadly,a mere 2% — 15 out of 746 people have contributed directives to the database. I am truly disappointed in this! The database has been up for almost 2 years, and so many people are obviously interested in it, considering how many have signed up. But it appears that everyone is just looking and not contributing.

The database CANNOT grow by itself! I maintain this database for free on my own time. I approve users and review directives and add directives. I maintain this group as well. I have personally added 32 directives. That is nearly half the total directives!

Bottom line: IF there is not a significant increase in contributions to the directives in the database, I will shut down the site and this discussion group.

IF USERS (that means you!) DO NOT ADD AT LEAST 100 NEW DIRECTIVES TO BY AUGUST 2012, I will close the site.

I consider it impractical to supply a resource that is not being used!

Posted By Carol McCullough-Dieter

Have you been on the Find Art Directives website? It’s pretty much unusable. Is that why only 2% of 746 people have added to the list? My guess is yes. If the goal of your website is to encourage people to add information or look up information, but it’s hard to do so, then you can’t expect people to interact with your website in the way you want them to. This is not the pre-CSS, UI/UX internet. Even if you’re an excellent programmer, you cannot code your website without paying attention to it’s design and the way people interact with your product.

To the tech-savvy art therapy community – please! Let’s up our game, even if it’s a volunteer project…think of it as building out your portfolio/resume. If you’re willing to put in X amount of time into building something useful for our community, spend the extra hours working on the user experience. It’s a shame to have to close down a webpage simply because this feature was overlooked.

Expressive Therapies Summit

From Judy Rubin via LinkedIn:

Dear Friends. Family & Colleagues,

I’m writing to you to let you know about an event in NY that I think is worth your while if you are in or want to visit the area. It’s a 4-day Expressive Therapies Summit with over a hundred presentations, workshops, and courses, on all of the creative arts therapies and related areas.

In addition, this year there is a special all day Symposium on Liberating Creativity through Analysis & the Arts which will end with a special Film Premiere – a $10 ticket buys you a film,. a panel of the artists in it, and a lovely reception.

If you can’t make it or even if you can, please let friends and colleagues know about it. The proceeds from this event will allow our very nonprofit nonprofit, Expressive Media, to continue to make teaching films about the arts in healing.

I hope to see you there!



Art Therapy and At-Risk Youth

The following is a guest post (a first for this blog!), written by Philip J Reed, on behalf of Corona Regional Medical Center.

One of art therapy’s major benefits is its ability to engage the imagination so completely that it temporarily halts a person’s capacity to label and make judgments. When this takes place, individuals are able to rely more completely on their intuition, trust others, and learn more about acceptance and change. For at-risk children and adolescents in particular, art therapy has proven quite effective in addressing problematic behaviors and emotions.

Feelings are a tricky thing with kids. While some older children might be hesitant to speak with a professional about their struggles, art and imagery hail back to their earliest ways of learning how to interact with the world and communicate. By combining art with language, behavioral health specialists are able to gain greater insight into the help a child may require but may not be able to express verbally. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Art creates a safe place for children to express themselves and illustrate their thoughts and feelings. For examples, therapists have seen artistic expression work for children dangerously close to failing school. Concentration levels can increase, self-esteem and self-control are benefited, and angry feelings may diminish. By building an artistic talent, children often start feeling better about themselves.

Along with improving their feelings about themselves, art becomes a medium over which children have control. While the child has the right to choose the materials he uses, the art therapist contributes their understanding of media. For example, whether it might be helpful to use oil pastel versus paint or clay to express a certain image. Through helping to facilitate art making, the therapist can make additional connections without the child feeling pressured to talk if he doesn’t want to. From one session to another, the therapist can gauge how the art changes, which is a powerful assessment tool.

Eventually, relationships with the therapist become strengthened by trust, and the child may be ready to create a deeper connection. The potential for where art therapy can lead is tremendous. In some cases, art therapists find that children who aren’t formally a part of the art therapy program ask to participate in various projects, simply to let their feelings out. Art truly “has a soothing and healing quality to it. Art is a language of its very own, especially for kids.

For more reading, check out Shirely Riley’s article on art therapy with adolescents and Letitia Star’s article on Fine Art and At Risk Youth.

A randomized trial to test the effectiveness of art therapy for children with asthma

Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. I don’t have access to the full article, but maybe some of you do, so I decided to include this as a post :)



Art therapy has been used to help children cope with chronic illness but has not been specifically tested with children who have asthma.


To test an art therapy intervention in a randomized controlled trial in children with asthma.


Twenty-two children with asthma were randomized to an active art therapy or wait-list control group. Those in the active art therapy group participated in 60-minute art therapy sessions once a week for 7 weeks. Sessions included specific art therapy tasks designed to encourage expression, discussion, and problem-solving in response to the emotional burden of chronic illness. Measures taken at baseline, immediately after, and 6 months after the final art therapy session included the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale applied to the Person Picking an Apple from a Tree assessment, the parent and child versions of the Pediatric Quality of Life Asthma Module, and the Beck Youth Inventories. Those children assigned to the wait-list control group completed all evaluations at the same intervals as the children receiving art therapy but did not receive the art therapy interventions.


Score changes from baseline to completion of art therapy indicated (1) improved problem-solving and affect drawing scores; (2) improved worry, communication, and total quality of life scores; and (3) improved Beck anxiety and self concept scores in the active group relative to the control group. At 6 months, the active group maintained some positive changes relative to the control group including (1) drawing affect scores, (2) the worry and quality of life scores, and (3) the Beck anxiety score. Frequency of asthma exacerbations before and after the 6-month study interval did not differ between the 2 groups.


This was the first randomized trial demonstrating that children with asthma receive benefit from art therapy that includes decreased anxiety and increased quality of life.

Linehan Talks About Her Personal Struggle With Mental Illness

Marsha Linehan—NYT

Marsha Linehan—NYT

This is a must read article about Marsha Linehan‘s struggle with mental illness. For those of you unfamiliar with Linehan’s work, she is the founder of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, possibly most effective therapeutic treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder available today.

Marsha Linehan arrived at the Institute of Living on March 9, 1961, at age 17, and quickly became the sole occupant of the seclusion room on the unit known as Thompson Two, for the most severely ill patients. The staff saw no alternative: The girl attacked herself habitually, burning her wrists with cigarettes, slashing her arms, her legs, her midsection, using any sharp object she could get her hands on…

“I was in hell,” she said. “And I made a vow: when I get out, I’m going to come back and get others out of here.”

Art Seeking: Using Works of Art by Other Artists as Therapy

Jeremy Siegel, MD explains Art Seeking on his blog and it’s relationship to art therapy. Here’s a snipet of his recent post More Art Seeking Q & A:

Q. How is this different from the branch of psychotherapy known as art therapy?

A. Art seeking is distinctly different from art therapy. In art therapy you might be asked by a therapist to don a smock and soften clay or paint something. Art seeking requires none of this. In art seeking you don’t get your physical hands dirty. There is so much art all around us that already exists-made by artists over the centuries including that made in recent years-that we simply can begin to avail ourselves of what may be the greatest untapped resource for psychological healing.

Seems like Art Seeking is akin to collage, either magazine or online photos…don’t you think?