Category Archives: suggested readings

On being one, on being many

Quotes from Essays on the Creative Arts Therapies: Imaging the Birth of a Profession by David Read Johnson

“I am one person, yet I am all of these, a drama therapist, a creative arts therapist, a mental health professional, a health care provider, and a suffering person. Each of us faces this challenge, to be one, and to be many. The capacity to integrate experience: our feelings, thoughts, roles, and identities into one whole, while maintaining an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of the parts, this indeed is the challenge of development, of growth, of maturity.” (p. 36)


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Thesis progress

Current literature review includes the following chapters:

  • Institutional Issues
  • The Psychology of Shame
  • Burnout
  • Returning to the Self
  • Professional Identity and Empowerment

Methodology will involve the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale as well representational self-portraits.

Books/articles I’ve been reading lately:

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Shame Dynamics Among Creative Arts Therapists

From Essays on the Creative Arts Therapies: Imaging the Birth of a Profession by David Johnson (1999):

As artists, therapists, and (mostly) women, creative arts therapists have experienced a sizable amount of humiliation in the course of their careers. (p. 66)

To choose a career as a creative arts therapist often means stretching the tolerance of one’s family and entering a world where one is not understood or appreciated. (p. 67)

Empowerment also means carrying the burden of past abuse that we do not pass on to those who follow us: to support others, when we were shamed; to mentor others, when we were not mentored; to remain positive when what we experienced was negative. (p. 71)

Progress will mean experiencing the emergence of power from within our ranks. (p. 73)

In order for us to move forward in contributing to American health care, we need to be able to collaborate closely with each other; we need to be able to form a larger entity with greater strength and unity. (p. 74)

Institutional space is largely complex. Because of the levels and layers built up within institutional spaces, there are often many chances for dysfunction to form. This is probably true of any work environment, particularly a large work environment. Office politics happen, but who would have thought they also happen within institutional settings that are created to provide a therapeutic environment for treatment?

Institutional burnout isn’t a new idea, but maybe prevention can be explored further.

David Johnson is direct. He says what I’ve picked up on in my little experience as a graduate student. He puts into words the experiences of trying to form an identity in the field. But what I like about David Johnson the most is his ability to separate from the negative and move into the hopeful and potential aspects of making progress in the field by focusing on the importance of collaborating and providing community support for each other in our respective fields.

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Home is where we start from

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment

‘East Coker,” Four Quartets

Sources of inspiration

  • The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients
    By Irvin Yalom
  • Attachment in Psychotherapy
    By David Wallin
  • The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
    By Christopher Lasch
  • The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being
    By Daniel J. Siegel
  • The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization
    By Onno van der Hart, Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis, Kathy Steele
  • Affect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of Self
    By Peter Fonagy, Gyorgy Gergely, Elliot Jurist, Mary Target
  • Oneness and Separateness: From Infant to Individual
    By Louise Kaplan

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The good enough mother

From Psychoanalytic Diagnosis by Nancy McWilliams:

A markedly nonnarcissistic attitude toward offspring informs the remarks of an 85-year-old friend of mine who reared 12 children during the Depression, all of whom have turned out well, despite borderline poverty and some painful losses:

“Every time I’d get pregnant, I’d cry. I’d wonder where the money would come from, how I was going to nurse this child and take care of everything else. But around the fourth month I’d begin to feel life, and I’d get all excited, thinking, ‘I can’t wait till you come out and I find out who you are!'”

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Books, books, & more books.

If you’re looking to add or begin your own lil library related to therapy, art therapy, development, psychotherapy, etc etc, then check out:

Of course there are endless amounts of literature on therapy, but I decided to add my required readings to this list as well as the titles that looked particularly interesting.

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Recent digs, finds, shares, links, and resources

Stroke of Genius: Abilities Borne of Brain Damage

Stroke of Genius

Stroke of Genius

“From the engineer on disability who became a sought-after digital artist after a stroke to a woman whose dementia spurred remarkable creative output, these 10 artists were all transformed by neurological trauma or disorders.”

Continue reading @ WebUrbanist

Remembering Beauty

Remembering Beauty

Remembering Beauty

“The Puszkarskis are part of a growing number Alzheimer’s families making a late-in-life discovery of art, as both a source of pleasure and a therapeutic exercise that experts say can slow the terrible progress of the disease.”

“‘People become far less verbal as the disease progresses,’ says Caitlin Agla, a counselor with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. ‘But the art becomes a way for them to still express themselves.'”

Continue reading @ The Star

The internal color of the spotless mind

Art Therapy in Egypt

Art Therapy in Egypt

“Very few mental institutions in Egypt include art therapy in their program, though. It is an unconventional method, but it could create miracles with people who find themselves mentally and physically incapable to express themselves; when words fail.”

Continue reading @ Russia Today

New mental health focus on empowerment

Focus on Empowerment

Focus on Empowerment

“Lee Kennedy, who has worked at the center for nearly 24 years, has noticed a significant change in the way mental health treatment has evolved over the last 10 years. The new approach tends to focus on people’s abilities rather than their disabilities.”

“‘I have learned to never underestimate anyone who decides to take on the challenge of change,’ said Kennedy, while pointing out various works of art on display in her office, most of them created by her recovering patients.”

Continue reading @ Rim Country Gazette

NYSID Student Wins $30K Donghia Scholarship

Out Patient Health Care Facility designed by Park Daniel

Out Patient Health Care Facility designed by Daniel Park

“As winner of this year’s National Donghia Scholarship Competition, Park will claim a $30,000 gift to help cover the cost of his education, housing, books, and other related materials. Park was selected from this year’s entrants based on a design for an outpatient health-care facility for those coping with incurable diseases. Inspired by a friend living with HIV, the design offers patients a hospitality-like experience, featuring a sky-lighted reception area, a convertible museum for art therapy, a meditation courtyard, and a spa, as well as a research wing.”

Continue reading @ Interior Design

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