Every year I get excited to see what topics will be presented at the various expressive/art therapy conferences around the world (such as AATA, IETA, etc.).
The very first AATA conference I attended as a student, I remembered wondering where was the magic, the creative fire, and soul of art therapy? Many of the presentations focused on case studies or small scientific studies (I now understand that the art therapy field is doing this intentionally to be more grounded in research).
As a new student, I also wanted more inspiration and presentations that were packed with ideas and novel ways of doing things*.
As I’ve graduated and advanced in my career, I’ve found myself wanting different kinds of education. Here are some of the topics I would love to see at art therapy or expressive art therapy conferences or workshops:
New lens looking at autism, ADHD, high sensitivity, etc.
Examining how neurodiversity manifests differently in women
Business as an Art Therapist
Setting ourselves up for a sustainable career and life
Art therapist as entrepreneur
Making money and retaining social justice values
Life as an Art Therapist
Infusing more joy and wonder
Death to hustle culture
Highlight range of therapists practicing differently around the world
Career Development of Art Therapists
Examples/opportunities of partnering with other fields
Where to begin with doing research if you’re a practicing art therapist
PhD opportunities (I attended a great presentation on this last year at AATA and I’d happily attend again)
Working with the community
Improving romantic relationships
Eco Art Therapy
Anything would be exciting!
I’d also love to hear fringe topics that I would never consider (like how a past AATA presentation talked about the meta-verse)
I’m publishing this list right now because AATA is about to accept new proposals for its 2022 conference. The process of applying to present can be intimidating, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought (I presented in 2019). If you want some encouragement to do a presentation, I’m happy to provide it!
I’d also like to hear what topics you’d love to see at conferences. If you’re planning to present, I’d love to know on what! Also, if you’re aware of any upcoming workshops on the above topics, I’d love to hear about them.
*Two years later, I co-presented two presentations at AATA (thank you to Nicole Randick) - I tried to give what I was seeking.