Spotlight: Plenaries & Lunch Talks at Our 3rd Annual Conference

From learning about the neuroscience of creative activity to the healing power of sound, there’s no shortage of extraordinary experiences at this year’s conference.

KEYNOTE || The Neuroscience of Contemplative Practices, Rituals, and Trance States: Implications for Clinicians
Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 4:45 to 5:45 pm
Andrew B. Newberg, MD

What happens in the brain during moments of ecstasy, sacredness, mindfulness, flow, connectedness, or self-transcendence? Brain imaging studies of contemplative practices, rituals, and trance states enable us not only to see where activity is occurring in the brain but also to understand their impact on how we feel. In his keynote lecture, Dr.Newberg will explain the relevance of this work to therapeutic arts practices, as creative activity can be, in itself, a pathway to altered states of mind. He will also discuss specific research on the neurophysiology of engagement in music and movement-related rituals, as well as the clinical and brain effects of mindfulness and art therapy in the treatment of cancer patients. Learn about how the exciting new field of neurotheology can increase our effectiveness as clinicians.

Awakening to the Untarnished Self: Helping Alienated Youth Embrace Their Unique Identity
Thursday, March 28 from 8:40 to 9:40 am
Akuyoe Graham

Akuyoe Graham will share inspirational stories of how she helps alienated and incarcerated youth awaken to their untarnished self behind postures and masks – beyond the circumstances of birth and stories of life. These teens and young adults come to embrace who they truly and uniquely are through a transformational, creative process of writing and performing their remarkable stories. Through Ms. Graham’s Writes of Passage program, people of all ages can fulfill their greater potential by reconnecting with their original spirit, casting their current condition in a new light, and dreaming again of who they can be in the world.

Liquid Flow: Moving Mind, Body & Spirit in Community
Friday, March 29 & Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 8:00 to 8:30 am/8:45 am respectively
Aleta Hayes, MFA

Get out of your bed and into your body! Experience the joy of fluid, juicy movement and playful dancing with freedom and ease through Liquid Flow, a combination of dance improvisation, yoga, and Tai Chi. This method is for beginners, athletes, dancers, and anyone else who wants to develop more grace and who desires more beauty and fluidity in everyday life. Be prepared for an experience that has been previously described as “surprisingly fun” and “beyond wonderful.”

Music Medicine: Four Keys to Self-Care
Friday, March 29, 2019 from 8:40 to 9:40 am
Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, MA

In this hour-long morning plenary presentation, you’ll be introduced to the science and spirit of healing through sound. Experience four keys to self-care: rhythm as medicine for the body, melody for the heart, harmony for the soul, and silence for the mind. This session will provide you with accessible take-away tools for use in your clinical practice. Tune your body, mind, and spirit through music medicine. No prior musical experience necessary; instruments provided.

Inspirational Marketing for a Successful Career in Expressive Arts Therapy
Friday, March 29, 2019 from 1:30 to 2:20 pm
Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, MA

Do you find it hard to market yourself professionally? Is it challenging to articulate the breadth or depth of the services you offer? In this dynamic and interactive presentation, you will learn “do’s and don’ts” for effective marketing,including four types of communication, buzz words, and the art of crafting bios. You will learn how to grow your practice—and expand our field—through clear and creative communication that also conveys the poetry of our work in the contemporary world.

Culturally-Informed Clinical Practice with African Americans: A Narrative Approach
Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 12:30 to 1:20 pm
Denise Boston, PhD, RDT

This brief lunchtime lecture will introduce participants to the Tree of Life, a visual-narrative approach that can be applied in a distinctly African-centered therapeutic context. The process begins with drawing a personalized tree that reflects roots (family and heritage), trunk (skills and knowledge), branches (hopes and dreams), leaves, and fruits, including other elements symbolizing a tree’s life cycle and growth. It is a method that enables people and communities to speak about their lives in a way that is not re-traumatizing, and instead strengthens their relationships with their history, culture, and significant people in their lives. By integrating African-centered values and traditions, the Tree of Life can nurture healing in communities in the African diaspora who have experienced trauma, violence, and marginalization.By examining how this process illuminates the historical, social, and cultural factors that affect healing for African Americans, attendees can consider how it can be applied to other populations as well.

Art as Species: What I Have Learned About Art Therapy from Dogs
Sunday, March 31, 2019 from 12:30 to 1:20 pm
Michael Franklin, PhD, ATR-BC

This 50-minute lunchtime talk argues that understanding artworks is similar to understanding non-verbal, interspecies communication. Art therapists, in particular, spend a lot of time looking at art, trying to decipher the silent language of images. The best way to begin unfolding meaning in artworks, or with animals, is to approach with precise observational attunement. For example, the better we are at observing the formal elements within artworks, the closer we come to understanding the enlivened content contained within the lines, shapes, and colors we are seeing. However, ascertaining the implicit meaning of symbolic communication is an inexact practice, at best. Professional disciplines that turn their attention towards non-verbal artifacts, old and new, struggle to discern the differences between fixed interpretations and following the beckoning call of archetypally-saturated imagery. For instance, Jung and later archetypal and imaginal psychologists persuasively argued that images exist as independent entities carrying potent narrative meaning. McNiff suggested that this connection is a foundational tenet of art therapy. Moon even argued that artworks have rights—as if they were alive—and that art therapists are ethically responsible for protecting images. Additionally, Kramer and Henley have discussed ethology and ritualistic animal behavior as a way to study the precursors of artistic sublimation. This presentation extends these trends by examining what art therapy can learn from dogs, especially the challenge of understanding interspecies, non-verbal communication.

For more information, and to register for the conference, and any of the above workshops, visit our conference website.