Big News For Art Therapy!

Big News For Art Therapy

This week, something big happened with implications for art therapy, creativity, and research at Elder Care Alliance! First, an update from Erin Partridge, PhD, ATR-BC on art therapy and creativity in our communities and then the big announcement.

Art Therapy at Elder Care Alliance

Last month, I presented at the American Art Therapy Association Conference about the past seven years of work as an art therapist in Elder Care Alliance communities. The presentation, titled “Carving A Larger Space: Lessons Learned from Transforming A Workplace Role,” covered the evolution of my work with older adults and the evolving understanding of the role of an art therapist in older adult settings. I discussed tips and tools for self-advocacy in the workplace, but emphasized that my best advocates are the elders themselves! As they deepen in their relationships to their own art process, they have become vocal advocates for increased time in the art studios, more opportunities to see art out in the world, and  the importance of having space for their work on the walls of their home. I feel so lucky to share this process with them and to be part of inviting more students and creative arts therapy professionals into work with older adults.

Creativity is not optional, it is part of our culture

Creativity Is Not Optional

Connected to the work with what might be considered a ‘typical’ client population, I discussed ways I use my training as an art therapist in non-clinical work; we have been incorporating creativity into our daily processes at Elder Care Alliance. We use creative practices in our training and leadership development. We engage in art-based inquiry to develop best practices and explore new ideas. These innovative processes allow us to best serve the older adults living in our communities.

Related to my presentation at the conference, we recently discussed “job crafting” during a lunch and learn meeting, an idea from the research of Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski. It was really wonderful to hear my coworkers discuss how they got into work with older adults and for Elder Care Alliance as well as ways can support each other and all our staff in connecting with their sense of purpose and calling in the service of our mission and vision. We have some phenomenal staff across all our departments, they share their hearts with the elders each day. Ideas like job crafting fit right in with the idea that creativity is not an optional or extra thing–it is part of the culture of our workplace.

Access to Art Therapy

This week, the Art Therapy Association announced big news for the field of art therapy; the Federal Office of Management and Budget has revised the occupational code to more correctly identify art therapy. This change will enable increased data collection about the roles and responsibilities of art therapists and will pave the way for increased access to art therapy services. We at Elder Care Alliance sent a congratulation letter to the national offices this morning; we are proud to support art therapy student research and to be a leader in advocating for the creative arts therapies as part of the holistic wellness of older adults.