Webinar—When Will It Be Posted?

I promised to have my webinar posted by ASAP, and y’all have been patiently waiting. I want to let you know that I’m having a bit of technical difficulty getting it up. The webinar was recorded by AATA, who use PCs, and I have a mac, so I’m dealing with a conversion issue :) I’m hoping I’ll be able to get the webinar up later tonight or tomorrow. If I can’t, then I’m going to re-record the presentation. Either way, I’ll be posting on my social networking sites when it’s available, plus I’ll be sure to email everyone who signed up for the webinar.

Thank you to all those who have asked and are interested in viewing the presentation!

What Is It About Art That Can Potentially Cause Harm?

Shared by Dr. Laura Dessauer via the Art Therapy Alliance on LinkedIn.

This article, found in the International Journal of Art Therapy, is an excellent reminder that although using art therapeutically may seem straight forward, it isn’t. Art making is powerful and reaches parts of oneself that may have been unconscious, semiconscious and defended away. Therefore, when therapists or therapeutic programs incorporate art into their practice with little training they may not realize they are exposing their clients to the risk of doing more harm than good.


The notion of arts-based risk is rarely acknowledged outside of art therapy. This paper describes an injury sustained as a result of art activity. The case was subject to legal proceedings which established arts practitioner and organisational negligence. The case was consequently settled out of court for a large sum. The paper reports the legal argument and explores what the process tells us about how art can both help and harm participants. This specifically concerns the power of art to make the subjective seem real and the need for practitioners to able to competently assess participants’ psychological vulnerability to this. The case represents an important milestone in the current arts and health debate, particularly with regard to the protection of the public. Lessons to be learnt for organisations seeking to deliver arts and health projects to vulnerable people are discussed.

Springham, Neil (2008) ‘Through the eyes of the law: What is it about art that can harm people?’, International Journal of Art Therapy, 13:2, 65 – 73

Demystifying the Online Presence: Art Therapists and the Internet

Save the date: August 4th, FREE webinar hosted by AATA with yours truly! Register here.

It’s natural to feel skeptical or overwhelmed about the changing nature of social interaction and marketing. Although disregarding these changes may feel like the safe choice, this also limits your ability to network professionally, reach new clients and help others.

This Webinar, presented by Liz Beck, a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) living in the San Francisco Bay Area, will address common questions asked by art therapists about the benefits and pitfalls of having a digital presence, giving you the tools to decide whether being available online is right for you.

Topics include:
• What it means to have an online presence, and how it’s useful.
• Common questions and concerns about having an online presence.
• Appropriate places for a therapist to build an online presence, including a discussion about Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
• Why having a website is important.
• Why it’s important to keep your online content updated.
• What information is useful to include on a professional website.
• Simple guidelines to keep your professional online presence ethical.

If you know anyone who would benefit from joining this webinar, please encourage them to attend. There are way too many art therapists out there who avoid getting online and using new technology to the benefit of themselves and their clients.

Thank you for your support!

Ethical Challenges and the Internet

Thinking about social media, email, google searches and it’s relationship to ethics in psychotherapy? Read this interesting and informative article written by Sara Martin of the Monitor, an APA publication.

Ethics codes are in desperate need to catch up to the times! But, that doesn’t mean we can’t use our common sense and knowledge to practice ethically to maintain a separation between our personal and professional lives.

Facebook and Privacy

It was recently reported that Facebook will begin selling some of our personal information to companies in order to facilitate “word of mouth” marketing, similar to what one finds on Yelp or Citysearch.

In case you were unaware, your name and profile picture (as well as other information), is always accessible to everyone. When you “like” a page or content on a website, your name and picture can show up on that page or website, depending on the settings the administrator chose when adding the “like” button to their page. There is no way to opt out of your name and profile picture being accessible to everyone:

Connecting on Facebook: Your name, profile picture, gender, networks and username are available to everyone because this info is essential to helping you connect with your friends and family.

  • Name and profile picture help friends recognize you.
  • Gender helps us describe you (for example, “Add her as a friend”).
  • Networks are open to everyone so network members can see who they will be sharing information with before they choose “Friends and Networks” for any privacy settings.
  • Other information in this section, including hometown, activities and experiences, is open to everyone by default to help you connect with friends and get the most out of your Facebook experience.”
  • Similarly, what you “like”, mentions of brands that you make on your wall, and where you check in online can now be sold by Facebook to any company who wants to buy them. This information is then used to create an ad using you’re face, name and quote/like/where you are. If your privacy settings are such that you only share your wall and your check ins with friends only, then the ad will only be shared with your friends. If your privacy settings are set to everyone, the ad can be used across Facebook. These types of ads are called Sponsored Stories, and are placed on the right hand section where the ads are currently located. There is no way to opt out of being a part of a Sponsored Stories ad campaign. You can only tighten your security settings to limit the number of people who would receive the ad (i.e., to your friends only, friends of friends, etc).

    Sponsored Ads, hat tip Wired's Jacqui Cheng

    According to Wired and Forbes, this is not the first time Facebook has tried to use our personal info for advertising purposes. In the past, these attempts were thwarted by class action lawsuits, but clearly this type of advertising is so lucrative that Facebook continues to find ways to make it work. Even though your content belongs to you, whatever you post is available to Facebook royalty free, according to how you set your privacy settings:

    Sharing Your Content and Information:

    You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
    For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

    So…what does this mean for Art Therapists? The full extent of these issues are yet to be seen, but for those of us on Facebook, we must make a strong effort to keep up with the changing times; The launch of Sponsored Stories was a quiet one.

    As I analyze this issue, I find myself assuming that the art therapist reading this post has chosen to separate their personal space from their business space, thereby having a personal Facebook Page and possibly a professional/business page for their private practice.

    It’s unclear to me how Sponsored Stories works in relation to Business Pages. If your private practice/organization “likes” something, can that information be marketed to your fans (who maybe colleagues or clients)? Granted this “like” will show up on your fan page wall regardless of Sponsored Stories, and will also pop up on your fans’ newsfeed…so what’s the difference if it shows up on the right hand side of the page too? It may not make a difference to you, but the point is to know that it’s happening. Things move fast, and being aware of the current helps guide your interaction with social networking sites.

    Furthermore, those of us with Business Pages must be aware that when you endorse something on that page, it will extend into the news feeds of your fans. If your fans are clients, this opens up some interesting questions: As a therapist, what is ethical to endorse and what isn’t? A new book that you just published? A book that you recommend to people regularly in your therapeutic practice? A blog that you enjoy reading? Your local art collective (where your clients may run into you)? Starbucks? Xanax?

    Lastly, we must remember that Facebook Business Pages raise major questions for therapists regarding their fans being able to see one another. This means that if a client “likes” your page, or simply views your page, they are able to see all your other fans, who maybe clients, giving them the ability to directly contact them. It is my understanding that a Business Page has no privacy settings or controls over who can view fans (with the exception of 18+ for adult oriented pages). Facebook, however, does allow you to hide the friends on your personal page, perhaps making a personal page a better option for therapeutic practices? For example, one could have a personal page that is open only to friends and family, and another personal page designed to advertise their private practice or organization where everyone is welcome and all friends are hidden.

    These issues (and more!) must be carefully considered as therapists advertise their services through social media. We must make efforts to seek out new and largely undiscussed information in order to make solid ethical choices for our art therapy practices. After all, isn’t part of our job to model boundaries and to offer a different kind of relationship than what can be obtained through family or friendship alone?

    Therapists, Why Are You Using Social Networking?

    Check out this article by Lisa Brookes, KIFT, MFT.

    If I had a private practice, I would create a page for the practice (probably linking to this blog), but I would not allow clients to add themselves to my work page. I wouldn’t want to compromise anyone’s confidentiality by having them as a “fan” or a “friend”, there for anyone to snoop. I also would be concerned about boundary and transference issues.

    When it comes to ethical concerns on social networking sites, how can we forget the discovery Cathy Malchiodi made last year regarding the ex-prez of AATA posting videos of an autistic child during an art therapy session. Could there be a bigger no-no?

    Lets make a deal, fellow therapists—if you are in doubt about what is ethical to post on your facebook, twitter, blog, etc…please consult your colleges! I understand that sometimes people forget that what you post on the internet is a reflection of yourself (in some ways the internet is similar to wearing a mask), but I can assure you, HIPPA and the ethical standard of your credentialing association does apply…even if their regulations have not caught up to the 21st century.

    Lastly, here’s a good article that discusses one’s online presence and boundary issues.

    Art Therapy and Technology: Ethical Considerations

    Just a few hours ago I received an e-survey from the AATA ethics committee. I was pleased to see that a portion of the survey asks whether posting client photographs or videos can be done in an ethical (or unethical) manner.

    About a year ago Cathy Malchiodi wrote an excellent article on the subject, and the comments on her blog helped to further the debate. I also discussed my opinions on the matter in a series of posts that can be viewed here, here, here and here.

    One of the main points in my analysis: AATA’s ethical codes are determined by what the majority of art therapists who are AATA members think is ethical. So, fellow art therapists, fill out the survey! Even if you feel you don’t have an opinion or a good understanding of the subject—that’s all information for the ethics committee to process, and hopefully provide more education about.

    Lastly, ex-AATA president, Pegg Dunn Snow, informed me that the ethics commitee would be meeting during the 2009 conference to discuss the ethical considerations of art therapy and technology—essentially addressing her example of “what not to do” when you’re advertising your art therapy practice. The advice given by the AATA ethics committee parallels my analysis, and hopefully will serve as a compass until more specific guidelines are provided.

    Art Therapists & Their Artwork

    Check out this discussion on the Art Therapy Alliance page on LinkedIn (you must be a member to view):

    Carly Sullens asks,

    I am wondering about art therapists who are also artists who sell their work. What do we need to be aware of as clinicians when clients or interested or even buy our work?

    This question generated a lively discussion about art therapist, their artwork and ethics.

    As you may have noticed I have an artwork page on my blog. This is my response to the Carly’s question, although my focus is not on clients buying my artwork, but rather, seeing my artwork as a part of this blog:

    I write a blog and have an artwork section, where I posted several personal pieces relating to my personal identity and struggle—mainly having to do with health related issues.

    When I was studying art therapy, the program I attended emphasized psychodynamic theory, in which the blank slate was very much encouraged. As I began practicing art therapy, however, I found myself naturally gravitating more towards the humanistic side. I wondered whether, if I was the client, would I be able to relate and be open with someone who was never somewhat open with me about their perspectives and struggles? Also, because I’m young, which some people interpret as having minimal life experience, I find it important (at times) to reveal a small part of who I am in order to gain trust and encourage a therapeutic connection. That being said, I don’t advertize my blog to the clients I work with, and none have mentioned my writing or artwork to me. Similar to what others have said, if my clients asked about my artwork, I would process this, just as I would process anything else they brought into the session.

    Another reason I made an artwork page on my blog is that I wanted to show other art therapists a piece of who I am, hopefully making a connection to my readers. I realize that some people who look at my blog are also prospective students or people who are interested in seeing an art therapist for their own therapy. The artwork page, along with my writing, may help to demystify what art therapy is without showing the artwork of the clients I work with, which is another huge ethical grey area—one that is worthy of it’s own discussion.

    If down the road it seems that my ethical judgment was unfounded, it would certainly be a learning experience and something to be shared with other art therapists. In this world of technology and social networking the concept of privacy is changing, and so is the idea of separating personal and professional lives. Everyone with an internet presence now lives in a “small town”, since everyone can access multiple dimensions of everyone else’s lives with the click of a mouse (or, if you have an iPad, a press of the finger).

    We may not be able to foresee all the pros and cons of this topic until years down the road, when more learning/experience has developed. However, the first step towards a deeper understanding of this question lies with these types of discussions. Thank you Carly!