Episode 14: When Art Therapy and Neuroscience Collide
Episode 14: When Art Therapy and Neuroscience Collide
Denise Wolf is back at it again! This week on the podcast, Denise teams up with Juliet King to discuss the science and validity behind art therapy as well as the incredible uses of art therapy in healing trauma.
For more information on Denise Wolf, visit: https://mangataservices.com
To check out Juliet King’s book, visit:
Alyssa Scolari [00:21]:
Hi everybody. Welcome to the Light After Trauma podcast. I am your host Alyssa Scolari, and I have with me today a hysterical duo. The first person I’m going to introduce is not new to us, this is her second appearance on the show she must like me or something like that. I don’t know. Either way she is so cool, it is Denise Wolf, who I know you are all familiar with from a couple episodes ago. And then we also have with us today, Juliet King. So I am going to turn it over to the two of them. And whoever wants to start first, you guys can introduce yourself. And just as an aside, we are all on Zoom right now. So even though you guys cannot see us I’m laughing because of the fascinating faces that they’re all making at me as I’m starting this episode. So we’ve got a good group of women here today. So Denise re-introduce yourself say hello to all your fans out there.
Denise Wolf [01:39]:
Well, hello, everybody? Alyssa I’m so glad to be back. As you guys know I’m Denise Wolf I’m an art therapist in private practice working primarily with adolescents and young adults with histories of complex trauma. I’m also adjunct faculty at Drexel and Villanova University. And I’m so excited to be here today to talk about art therapy, trauma, and neuroscience. And I’m here with my esteemed colleague Juliet King.
Juliet King [02:10]:
Thank you, Denise. Thank you, Alyssa, for that fabulous introduction. My name is Juliet King, as was mentioned, and I am currently an associate professor of art therapy at the George Washington University and also an adjunct associate professor of neurology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. I currently am also a PhD student and I’m studying translational health sciences, which essentially means how do we take information that we glean in the lab with the rats, the scientific data, and how do we translate that to working with clinical health populations and informing policy?
Alyssa Scolari [02:55]:
So you two come from very different backgrounds essentially, and how did you two meet? Like Denise I feel like at this point you’re famous for just like having these awesome collaborations. You’re such a multifaceted human being. I met Juliet through Denise. So you two are quite the duo. So tell me how the two of you met? What is the focus? What work are you guys doing, or have you done in the past I should say?
Denise Wolf [03:28]:
Right. So there’s some history, in so many ways Juliet and I are on sort of opposite ends of the spectrum where I’m a behaviorist and [Juul 00:03:37] is more of a sort of Freudian Jungian kind of theoretical perspective. So we joke when we present about like Skinner and Freud. So that’s like one way that we’re super different. And our story origin goes back to graduate school where Juul was in the class ahead of me, and we met up through a mutual friend at Fergie’s remember that? And turns out that Juul was in my high school, but because my high school was so big with over 800 students in each graduating class, we never bumped elbows, and furthermore over drinks, which seems to be a part of our history and ongoing relationship. So edit that out babe.
Juliet KingSo furthermore fun fact Juul’s mom was my elementary school art teacher, who I had this pivotal moment with in fifth grade where through the influence of her mom, my art teacher really cemented my identity as an artist. So that’s a lot of fun history as far as like how we’ve met. So we’ve continued to maintain a friendship as well as work relationship for decades.
Alyssa Scolari [04:51]:
That pretty much sum it up.
Juliet King [04:53]:
Yeah. Although I wouldn’t say that Skinner and Freud are at the opposite ends of the continuum. What Denise is referring to is what we like to call the dialectical synthesis, which really is an integration of well pretty much anything that you want to have an integration of can be a dialectical synthesis, but especially in terms of behaviorism and psychodynamic theory, which come from different camps. But I think integrate nicely in terms of treatment applications, and also ways of conceptualizing human behavior. So I do think that from a theoretical orientation, I’m very much adherent to the language of the unconscious and the theory of the unconscious, which back in the day was established originally by Freud and Jung as psycho analytic theory.
Juliet KingAnd although many parts of that theory have been debunked, many parts reign true. And what we see as we’re moving forward with the age of the brain and the technology that can teach us about our different physiological and biological systems that Freud was in fact right about many things when it comes to brain function, structure, and the relational exchange being the most important part of the therapeutic process. And so I like to think Denise that we’re more similar than we are different, but we do come to the table sometimes with different perspectives, which lends itself to exciting conversation.
Denise Wolf [06:34]:
Alyssa Scolari [06:37]:
I need to just like sidebar this for a second, because I almost jumped out of my chair when you said this Juliet, like-
Juliet King [06:44]:
I did see your affect shift.
Alyssa Scolari [06:52]:
That was such a therapist thing to say. I noticed the shift in your affect.
Juliet King [06:57]:
I did notice a shift in your affect and movement as well.
Alyssa Scolari [07:01]:
I know I cannot… Guys, I’m running on like caffeine. I am all jittery today, but I frigging love Freud. I will fight anybody… I mean, I won’t actually fight people, but I will argue to my death about how the fact that Freud was not the quack that so many people have made him out to be. I remember being an undergrad and so many of my professors like basically just writing him off, being like, “This guy was a lunatic.” But the more work I do as a trauma therapist, the more I’m like, “Damn, this Freud guy, he was onto it, like he knew.” And I love what you said about integration. Can you please just say what you just held up?
Juliet King [07:56]:
Yes, it’s been a little diorama’s of Freud and Jung.
Alyssa Scolari [08:04]:
You all that’s beautiful, I need that in my life.
Juliet King [08:08]:
Well, people are misinformed Alyssa, and people also have taken debunked theories and generalized the majority of Freud’s work as crap. I think that it pays for us to be skeptical and to question some of the data that he presents to us in that for example, he worked with a certain population, which was mostly middle upper class white women. And so that certainly influences our understanding of things if we want to take a larger cultural perspective. I think some of his opinions about the nature and the reasons for trauma don’t necessarily ring true in that, I think a lot of people in some of his writings kind of don’t explain well enough how he really conceptualized trauma, and he I think presents is coming across somewhat condescending, whereas what we know about trauma and what we know about the brain is it’s always something that happens to you, and it’s always the way that we respond is a very healthy response.
Juliet KingBut really Freud was the first one to name the impact of trauma, and how the impact of trauma is oftentimes lifelong. And so he also set the stage for understanding the dynamic unconscious and how we create and develop symptoms when we have a disruption of homeostasis. So his theory is really can be explained physiologically and from a neuro-biological perspective, which is where the field of neuropsychoanalysis is now. And I think with ongoing research, they’re finding more justice to the things that he talked about than less.
Alyssa Scolari [09:56]:
Yeah, absolutely. And I love what you said about when you were talking about integration, like integration on sort of like Denise said your more behaviorism versus the more like Freud and Jung. And I actually think that that is a great representation of what we’re talking about today, which we are talking about art therapy, art and neuroscience. And I think that the concept of putting art and therapy together is almost like the same as putting together like behaviorism, like B.F. Skinner and Freud and Jung in theories together. And you both really are the perfect I think representatives of what it means to combine the two. And is that something that the two of you will present on?
Denise Wolf [10:53]:
Sure, absolutely. Yes. And I think it’s widely and wildly misunderstood. I was just meeting with a new client with their caregiver, identifying myself as a behaviorist and talking a little bit about trauma theory and art therapy trauma theory around behaviorism. And the parent said, “Well, you’re not going to shock my daughter, right?” Of course I’m not. And there’s misconceptions about that as there is about art therapy. So what Juliet and I really want to talk about today is why art therapy is so well suited to treat trauma, and what we know about neuroscience trauma in the brain, and what we know about art therapy and neuroscience is this beautiful synthesis, where you’re taking these seemingly opposing ideas and putting them together. So yes.
Alyssa Scolari [11:51]:
That’s a great way of putting it. I was struggling to find words for it earlier. Before you get into that, could you explain the difference between art therapy and using art in therapy? Because I really do think that there is this concept, and let me tell you something, this podcast and truthfully meeting you has been very eye-opening to me, because I really was one of those people who thought that art therapy was like they give you a piece of paper and a crayon and they’re like, “Draw how you feel.” And I was like, “Not for me.” So can you explain to the people out there that think the way I think, or the way that I used to think can you explain a little bit about what the differences are?
Denise Wolf [12:39]:
Sure. The way that I like to explain it is that I have a teenage daughter who might get an injury while she’s out in the world doing her thing, and I can put… Oh my God, what do you call this thing that hold together the skin, it’s not quite stitches, but that’s-
Juliet King [12:52]:
Denise Wolf [12:52]:
A sticky suture on her cut. And I’m not a doctor. I can put it on hydrogen peroxide and I can put on a bandage, but I’m not a doctor. So it’s about sort of scope of practice. Art therapy is a masters level entry field of credentialed art therapists. And so, yes, can we have the experience of making art and feeling stress reduction? Sure. Can we have experience of making art and feeling effective? Sure. Is it in like Juliet was talking about earlier in the context of a therapeutic relationship? Right. That’s what is a therapy. My mentor, Ron Hayes would talk about the IC, and then the E. So there’s therapeutic use of arts and then there’s art therapy. Juul I’m sure you have some thoughts to add to that.
Juliet King [13:47]:
Yeah. So yes. And I think something also important to highlight is that there is a definition of art therapy on the website for the American Art Therapy Association, however, when you talk with most art therapists we all have our own way of defining the profession. So even though we might adhere to kind of a standard definition, which is a good one and they have a truncated version as well we certainly don’t walk around and just kind of spit out verbatim on the definitions of things. And part of the challenge of being an art therapist is that because therapy is a challenge to understand in general, and then when you add the art part to it, things become even harder to define. And art is everywhere. And art therapists don’t have a patent on Crayola, which is also something that Ron Hayes, my mentor as well has said.
Juliet KingAnd so over the years, the way that I’ve best found to be able to define the distinctions between what I call therapeutic arts and art therapy is to explain that both exist on a continuum. So the use of therapeutic arts on one end of the continuum sounds like a cellist playing on a cancer unit, and people that hear the music feel better. They have a physiological response to hearing the music. Walking down the halls of a prison if you have an artist in residence that is creating murals on those walls, people are going to feel different when they see different colors, when they see pictures of things, as opposed to having it just be gray.
Juliet KingSo these are all therapeutic experiences, but then up the continuum is as Denise mentioned the master’s level medical and healthcare profession of art therapy that does require a master’s degree in art therapy to practice. And what we do is psychotherapy. Now, that psychotherapy looks differently depending on your philosophical orientation, depending upon who it is that you’re working with, depending upon what goals you’re working on, but the art therapist is trained as a talk therapist that also utilizes the creative process and what’s being made within the therapeutic encounter as a way to understand more about the person and push forward the therapeutic goals. So we like to think of it as we do talk therapy and then have an extra toolbox. This is the way, excuse me I like to think about it. We have an extra set of tools.
Juliet KingYou know I’m not going to get too much into this, but the art therapy profession can have some pretty serious and heartfelt disagreements about what art therapy is and what it’s not. And we also have grappled with since the beginning of the profession, which was back in the 1940s this concept and reality that people do not understand what we do and a little vignette of a person that I know a friend of mine she lives in Arizona and she asked me for a referral for her son. So I went on Psychology Today and I looked up art therapists on Psychology Today in Arizona, I would say 95% of people that claim that they’re doing art therapy don’t appear to have an art therapy degree. They are well-intentioned social workers and counselors that likely use art materials in their practice, which is fine, but we also have to recognize that there is a professional integrity and a definition of a profession that needs to be considered ethically and otherwise.
Alyssa Scolari [17:32]:
I love that. That is beautiful. Go ahead I’m sorry.
Denise Wolf [17:37]:
I will add to that and say that you to go back to your original question Alyssa of like the use of art in therapy. Well, like I will sometimes use music in therapy, but I will listen to a song with a client and use music with intention, but that doesn’t make me a music therapist, and I’m aware of my scope of practice. At a small sandbox I’m not a sand trained therapist, for art therapists artists are in language.
Alyssa Scolari [18:06]:
So I love that, and I have a lot of clients who are really excited about this episode, because I do have some clients who are looking to go into art therapy. And I really do agree. There’s a major difference between a therapist who incorporates art and somebody who is a master’s level art therapist. So I appreciate you clearing that up. And I also appreciate that because I think it gives more like validation to the work that you do, because I think that there’s potentially some stigma around like art therapists and just this idea that art therapists just draw all day. And I really was one of those people.
Juliet KingI mean this podcast has helped me learn so much. And when it comes to art therapy, and I know I’ve shared this with the two of you before, but I am not somebody who ever used to consider myself artistic in any way, shape, or form. And when I was in the Renfrew Center for eating disorder recovery back in 2014, we would have art therapy. And I remember being like, “Oh, like I don’t draw, like come on dude.” And then I actually started to participate. And a lot of my trauma is rooted in earlier childhood. So before I had language, and I realized that the art therapy that I was doing, whether it was listening to music, whether it was writing words, I was able to communicate with myself in a way that I didn’t even realize I was capable of. I knew as the art was spilling out of me, it was in that moment that I knew, “Oh, something bad happened to me.” I didn’t have the words for it, but art helped me to realize that.
Juliet King [20:15]:
Yeah, I think that you’re explaining the power of art therapy much better than Denise or I could, because you have the lived experience of being in a space where old material made itself known to you. And there was something about the art making process and what it was that you were making that allowed for the emergence of memory. And I imagine that you felt safe enough in the environment that you were in, and you could trust the space that you were in, which is the key factor to being able to tap into those less conscious memories and parts of ourselves that we otherwise have sealed over as a mechanism of functioning.
Juliet KingAnd so that relationship, the therapeutic relationship, regardless of what kind of therapy you practice is the most healing component, that’s what helps us. And in art therapy, you have a relationship not only with your therapist, but also with your artwork and your art making process. And what happens with our traumatic memories in general, regardless of whether they’re acute traumas or chronic traumas, or if we remember somethings or nothing at all, or really though in general, and this is pretty universal, although everybody’s experience is totally subjective, but what we understand universally with science is that our traumatic memories become like fragmented. They become broken up and almost like you can imagine like displaced and dispersed in different areas of your psyche.
Juliet KingAnd what also happens is when we get flavors of those memories, then our emotional parts of our brain really react to that. And then what happens is our emotional parts of our brains are reacting to bits and pieces of our memories, but when that occurs, we lose the ability to talk about it, because of the connections and the disconnections that take place between the emotional part of the brain and the thinking parts of our brain. So like research has shown when a person is experiencing traumatic memories, because these memories hold such strong emotional content the talking parts of our brain actually shut down. They become less able to explain, to use verbal language. And like you said, “I didn’t have the words, but I could feel, and I was seeing, and I was sensing that something was happening.”
Juliet KingAnd so if you read any trauma theories that are contemporary Van Der Kolk, Perry, Daniel Stern, so all the primary theories these days point to the value of body-based non-verbal therapy and the importance of the symbolic communication that’s afforded that allows us to kind of circumvent or bypass language. And that doesn’t mean you don’t eventually want to get the language, because we live in a verbal society and it’s important eventually to recreate your own trauma narrative and be able to explain where it is that you’re coming from, but that doesn’t happen quickly, and that takes practice. So I’ve been blathering on, Denise what do you have to add to that?
Denise Wolf [24:15]:
Yeah. So thank you, Juuls, so much. So what Alyssa talked about was that you said you use this language, you said it came spilling out of me. And so again, to underscore what Juliet said that you were in a safe and structured place, a therapeutic environment, but a traumatic experience can often feel that way. They’re about to like bubble up or spill over in this space that Juliet talked about that doesn’t have access to like the verbal part of our brain, the thinking part of our brain. And so art therapy is really well suited to connect with that where the art becomes a communication, not just with like the art therapist, but also with yourself, right where these internal memories and experiences that are preconscious or pre-verbal can be identified, externalized, objectified, narrated, sequenced. And that’s all language that belongs to trauma theory and trauma therapy. Another metaphor that I like to use, that’s been used a lot in the field is that art therapy processes can be like dropping a stone into a deep pond and going all the way to the bottom without making any ripples on the surface.
Alyssa Scolari [25:28]:
Ooh, I like that. I love that. Yeah, it feels… And I know I did mention this before, this was when we weren’t recording the last time that we met, it was just that art therapy almost feels like the only language that I had before I had the language. It was a way of communicating before I could communicate. And I think that’s why it’s so important especially in trauma therapy.
Denise Wolf [26:01]:
And yes. For so many reasons. And one reason I want to talk about is this third space or intersubjective space that the art creates. The art therapists think about individual sessions as having three components, yourself the therapist, the client, and the art. And so that’s like a third element where we-
Alyssa Scolari [26:24]:
Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah.
Denise Wolf [26:26]:
Join with the client in that space, observe the client in that space, and to some extent our brains don’t necessarily know the difference between something that we’ve dreamt or something that is actually happening. And so art becomes this real, but not real space where experiences can be externalized, lived, relived, modulated, replicated, repaired, in this kind of third space.
Alyssa Scolari [26:58]:
Now, and you may have already said this and I very well could have missed this, but how does that tie into the concept of neuroscience? What exactly is neuroscience? How do the two tie in?
Juliet King [27:13]:
So everything that we’re explaining the feeling like art therapy is the language before you had the language, the third space of the real and the not real, the ability to bypass the talk parts of the brain. This is all neuroscience explained. Now the challenge is that we in art therapy have a lot more work to do to show more explicitly how neuroscience explains the processes that take place in art therapy and the mechanisms of change. But what science can tell us with certainty is the fact that Brokazeria shuts down when people are experiencing traumatic memory and flashback, that’s a fact. And Brokazeria is the part in your brain that allows for language expressive Wernickes.
Juliet KingSo the Wernickes and Broca’s are connected Wernickes is receptive language and Broca’s is expressive language. And so you can think of the brain… I mean, certainly there’s areas and definitions and functions that are weighted to areas more so than others. But I think a good way to understand the workings of the brain is that really it’s a series of functional hubs and networks. And so the language network isn’t just Broca’s the language network encompasses a lot of different areas of the brain and a lot of different functions in the parietal lobe and the frontal lobe and the temporal lobe, and are informed by the occipital lobe. So you can imagine that ways that we have to understand and to see the brain. So for example, when we talk about the emotional centers of the brain being overactive when we’re experiencing a traumatic memory or something upsetting that’s in a place called the midbrain in the limbic system, primarily in the amygdala, which is a very small little structure, that’s shaped like an almond.
Juliet KingAnd so we can tell from neuro imaging, when persons are experiencing traumatic recall, the amygdala, the limbic system is overactive. There’s more blood flow, there’s more neuro-transmitter activity. And so the talk part, the Broca’s area is less active. There’s less blood flow, there’s less neuro activity. So those are ways that we can explain more specifically what happens in humans when we experience different things. We can say as art therapists that… I mean, everything is neuroscience-based. I mean, everything we do is moderated by our brain. Now that might become problematic when people consider belief systems. But if you think about it, belief systems are developed by us. And we are the ones that create the belief systems. Our brains are creating the belief systems. Our brains are conceptualizing spirituality whether or not there’s ghosts. And so I could go on and on and on, I won’t.
Juliet KingBut, so that’s just a little taste of how trauma is experienced in the brain. When you’re making art, the creative process, there are some really compelling neuro imaging studies that look at creativity and the brain. And when we are making art, the entire brain lights up. So that typically and traditionally has been something that your typical neuroscientist, which is neuroscience is a very mechanistic approach to understanding the functions of the brain. Well, typically neuroscientists run far away from creativity studies because they’re really complicated. I mean, you can imagine, like if you’re making art-
Alyssa Scolari [31:36]:
Right. Seems like an oxymoron.
Juliet King [31:38]:
Right. Yeah, yeah. It’s fascinating really, but that shows you just how much the brain is engaged when a person is making art. If every area of the brain lights up when you’re making art, then that really speaks to the capacity that art has to engage many, many, many different areas of those functional hubs and networks in the brain.
Denise Wolf [32:03]:
And part of our original conversation about the dialectical synthesis, or like that sort of that finding that balance, so the whole brain is activated, but in terms of maybe trauma or some other mental illness is about like finding balance and thinking about really specifically and really critically about art therapy media and processes to help sort of balance neural responses. And so our third one, our therapy theory, and it’s called the expressive therapies continuum, which really looks at balance in the brain kind of by region like lowbrain, midbrain and hindbrain, or kinesthetic sensory, perceptual affective, and cognitive symbolic, and looking at tendencies to be sort of polarized, in all of those spaces across and bring in that synthesis and that balance, and that also applies to trauma theory treatment.
Juliet KingSo Alyssa you talked earlier about like thinking in your own art therapy experience, “Oh, I’m not an artist. I don’t have skill.” And it’s not necessarily about product where its sometimes, and it’s also about process it’s about mastery and management of the media and all of those kinesthetic sensory, perceptual effective, cognitive symbolic, inputs and outputs.
Juliet King [33:36]:
Yeah. So depending on like the expressive therapies continuum is based on properties of media, like what Denise is saying, and the restoration of homeostasis that accompanies the creative process. And so we mentioned homeostasis earlier with Freud talking about defense mechanisms, talking about people develop symptoms when their psyche is working too hard to keep certain elements at bay. Okay. So there’s a disruption of homeostasis. Well the ETC, the expressive therapies continuum looks at how different media properties can contribute to the restoration of homeostasis, like what Denise is saying. So if you think about it kind of simply like a pencil is going to elicit a really different emotional and cognitive response than watercolors or finger paints. So you can imagine if you’re using watercolors and finger paints, traditionally, you’re going to be loosening up a little bit more. It’s going to tap into more emotional nature than when you have a pencil and a protractor, which is going to utilize a different kind of cognitive thought.
Juliet KingAnd so these sensory based elements are really at the core of who we are as people. It’s how we came out of the womb. We experience the world through our senses. We are body egos when we’re born. And so those elements of who we are, they never go away. We just get so caught up in our frontal lobes and in our thinking brains that we tend to negate or think that these less conscious kind of non-verbal symbols are not as important when really it’s our innate way of communicating with one another.
Denise Wolf [35:22]:
And so art therapists are thinking critically about materials and processes. Alyssa, like earlier you would ask, like, “What’s the difference if I’m using art in therapy?” And so non-art therapists are definitely, like Juliet said earlier, we don’t own the art, and art therapists have this what Juliet and I think would call them neuroscience lens, thinking about the inherent nature of the media, how the client might act and interact within that, what’s the sort of level of reflective distance, are we finger painting, are we using gouache, are we using a short or long handled brush, are we painting on texture paper or cardboard, are we even painting at all? Like there’s a deep knowing of the intrinsic qualities of the media in order to specifically prescribe media and processes to meet the needs of the clients.
Alyssa Scolari [36:20]:
That is honestly so enlightening to me. And as I’m hearing both of you speak, I just keep thinking to myself over and over again, how can any therapy exist without art? That’s-
Juliet King [36:36]:
We offer it on Google. It makes it easier. It makes it easier to learn about people and it makes it easier to… Maybe easy is not a good word, but I think the accessibility that’s afforded through this range of intervention strategies and ways of understanding people is unpronounced.
Alyssa Scolari [37:00]:
Denise Wolf [37:01]:
To add to that a little bit of a cautionary tale, Judy Rubin that Seminole art therapist in the field, though we are not tarot card readers. Like sometimes people will say [crosstalk 00:37:13].
Alyssa Scolari [37:17]:
That’s not what’s happening today?
Juliet King [37:19]:
[inaudible 00:37:19], but that has nothing to do with my art therapy degree. That’s just part of my global brand.
Alyssa Scolari [37:25]:
Denise Wolf [37:26]:
So that’s different. Juliet might be a tarot card reader and an art therapist, but they’re not [inaudible 00:37:30]. So people will say, “Oh, I’m going to do a drawing, and can you tell me about myself?” And so like, “Maybe, but Eva I’m not doing tarot card tricks, I’m a therapist.” And so there are like diagnostic assessments, like Rorschach, House-Tree-Person, those exist, those are not part of the art therapy field. We might do an assessment, but I think actually we are always doing assessment in that we’re constantly assessing our client’s progress and interaction with materials and processes. So again, we’re not like looking at your artwork and going like voodoo magic, it’d be like, “Alyssa, Scolari your future is dark.” Like that’s mad.
Juliet King [38:15]:
Like somebody asked me like, “Can I draw a picture and you can tell me about myself?” I’d be like, “You just told me enough about yourself already.”
Alyssa Scolari [38:26]:
That’s all I need to know.
Juliet King [38:28]:
Let me tell you when I now know about you.
Alyssa Scolari [38:34]:
No, I love that, and I’m glad that you said that because I do think there’s a lot of assumptions out there that that is what an art therapist does that almost every art therapist is some kind of like supernatural powers where you can throw some ink on a paper and suddenly every single thing about them.
Juliet King [38:53]:
No. And I think a really important point, all kidding aside is one of the main distinctions between art therapy and psychological assessment of projective testing like Denise was mentioning the Rorschach or the House-Tree-Person is that so much of our therapy is reliant upon what a person says about what it is that they made and how a person goes about making their art. So it’s very much about verbal associations, how they explain what their art means to them. And while art therapists are trained to conduct analysis, of course, I mean, that’s part of being an art therapist is being able to understand the multidimensionality of what a person creates. But what a person creates is not answered within a set of definitions in some kind of art therapy master cookbook. It really depends on what the person says. It really depends on the meaning that the art has for them.
Alyssa Scolari [39:55]:
Right. And Juliet, as I understand it, you actually have a book of your own that is out, correct?
Juliet King [40:02]:
I do have a book it’s now becoming already dated. It was published in 2016. And it’s called Art Therapy, Trauma, and Neuroscience: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. Yeah. So interestingly, just in a couple of quick years, there’s so much more research that can now be included if there were to be a second edition or something like that, but we’ve just come really far in the last few years with understanding of not only the science of trauma and trauma theory, but then also art therapy applications in research that are serving to push the field forward.
Alyssa Scolari [40:45]:
I really have learned so much from speaking to you to today. Is it all right with you if I post your Amazon book on-
Juliet King [40:54]:
Alyssa Scolari [40:56]:
[crosstalk 00:40:56]. What was that?
Juliet King [40:58]:
It’s got a beautiful cover. Oh yeah. It’s really cool. And then there’s a book cover description in it, it’s a painting created by an art therapy colleague who created her own artwork in response to a client that she worked with that had some pretty severe trauma. And so I asked her… Oh, there it is. Yeah. Isn’t that pretty?
Alyssa Scolari [41:23]:
Oh, that’s so cool.
Juliet King [41:24]:
Ain’t that cool? So that’s the therapist’s artwork and then underneath that is the client’s artwork.
Alyssa Scolari [41:30]:
Oh, that’s beautiful.
Juliet King [41:30]:
Isn’t that great?
Alyssa Scolari [41:32]:
All right, everybody, I’m going to post the link to Juliet’s book on-
Juliet King [41:38]:
We’re all about the visuals as art therapists.
Alyssa Scolari [41:41]:
I love it.
Denise Wolf [41:44]:
Juliet and I also have a recent chapter out in a text by art therapist Nora Swan-Foster, it’s on art therapy, motherhood and childbearing issues. And we are the first chapter in that book. I’m talking about art therapy, birth, and trauma.
Alyssa Scolari [42:03]:
Are you able to send that to me? Is it available for the listeners to be able to read?
Juliet King [42:10]:
You could send the link to the book. Sure.
Alyssa Scolari [42:13]:
Okay, perfect. I will post both on the show notes and it will also be up on my website and in the newsletter on the Facebook group. So if you don’t catch it through the podcast, don’t worry I will have it all posted. And then is there any other contact information that you guys want to give out, or?
Juliet King [42:36]:
If people have any questions or if I can help in some way, then they can email me at my Gmail, I think would be easiest. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alyssa Scolari [42:54]:
Awesome. Awesome. How about you, Denise? I know you’ve given your contact info on here before.
Denise Wolf [43:01]:
Sure you can email me at my Gmail address, which is unreasonably long. So it can just be on your website in the notes for this podcast. You can find it there. Is that useful?
Alyssa Scolari [43:15]:
Yeah, I will put it in the show notes. Yup. The emails, the links to the books, all that jazz, your website it’ll all be posted.
Denise Wolf [43:29]:
Alyssa, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to really highlight and talk about the really useful and important and exciting intersection of art therapy, trauma, and neuro-science.
Juliet King [43:42]:
Yes. Thank you. It’s very cool. I really appreciate and respect what you’re doing.
Alyssa Scolari [43:48]:
Thank you. I learned a lot. I honestly learned so much and go art therapy. I’m a huge fan now. Thanks for listening everyone. For more information about today’s episode and to sign up for the Light After Trauma newsletter, head over to my website @alyssascalira.com. The really great thing about being a part of this newsletter is that not only do you get weekly updates on new podcast episodes and blog posts, but you also get access to the private Facebook community as well as access to all sorts of insider tips, resources, and infographs that supplement what we talk about on the show. You also can connect with me and other trauma warriors I’m super on the Facebook community, and I look forward to talking with you.