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This workshop will introduce participants to the role of expressive arts in the therapeutic and healing process. The workshop will begin with a didactic presentation on the field of Expressive Therapies, including theory, methods, populations, settings, strategies, principles and relevant clinical and ethical issues to consider when incorporating expressive arts into allied fields of clinical practice. Participants will then engage in a multi-step experiential arts activity, where they will explore personal narratives within small groups, and then have the opportunity to process this as a community, drawing from a public narrative process loosely adapted from Marshall Ganz’s work. The workshop will conclude with a synthesis of the material covered and how this can inform incorporating expressive arts within clinical work, given your therapeutic orientation, population, and setting.


Hillary Rubesin, PhD, LPCS, REAT Dr. Rubesin is the Executive Director of the Art Therapy Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Carrboro, NC. She received both her PhD and her MA in Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University, where she was trained to incorporate various expressive arts modalities within psychotherapy practice. Beyond her administrative duties at ATI, Dr. Rubesin provides supervision to new clinicians and graduate-level interns, and continues to see clients in both individual and group sessions. The majority of her clinical work is with refugee and immigrant women and children in local schools and community-based settings. She also co-facilitates the Arts and Peer Support Group, a free, weekly, community-based arts group for adults living with severe and persistent mental illness.

Laurie Selz-Campbell, MSW, is a Clinical Associate Professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, where she teaches courses in social justice, disability, the life course, and mental health recovery, among others. She has worked for many years with adults living with severe mental illness, and was part of the team that implemented the first structured peer support programs in psychiatric hospital and community settings in North Carolina. In 2011, Laurie partnered with Hillary to co-found the Arts and Peer Support Group, which she continues to co-facilitate. She is committed to bringing the voices of individuals with lived experience into social work education, frequently inviting group members to the School of Social Work to share their experiences and their artwork (as well as art making) with students.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Name and describe at least 2 ways that the expressive arts can contribute to the therapeutic/healing process.
2. Identify and describe at least 3 different artistic modalities and their relevance in clinical practice.
3. Identify and apply at least 1 form of expressive arts in clinical practice in a way that fits with your population and setting.
4. Describe at least 1 example of a community-based intervention that integrates expressive therapies and social work practices.
5. Describe on at least 2 ways in which expressive arts can contribute to community-level processes.
6. List and explain at least 2 general principles and strategies for incorporating the arts into allied mental health interventions.


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