Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT

Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT, is an art therapist, expressive arts therapist, visual artist, research psychologist, and author in the fields of art therapy, trauma-informed practice, and art in healthcare.

Cathy is a leading international expert in the « healing arts » fields of art therapy, art in healthcare, and expressive therapies, and has 25 years experience in trauma intervention and trauma-informed practice. She has published numerous books, including, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, Handbook or Art Therapy, Expressive Therapies, Understanding Children’s Drawings, and Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children, all of which have become standard texts; she has also published more than 50 invited book chapters and refereed articles and reviews various mental health journals. A popular speaker, Cathy has given over 300 invited keynotes, workshops, and courses throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University’s Expressive Therapies Department for over 20 years and has been a visiting professor and lecturer at numerous universities throughout the US.

She is a research psychologist, a Board Certified and Licensed Professional Art Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Certified Trauma and Loss Educator with expertise in trauma-informed care, interpersonal violence intervention and disaster relief with children, adults, and families. She is the originator of the practice of « trauma-informed art therapy, » an approach based on resilience-enhancement, mindfulness, sensory-based intervention, and body/mind principles.

Cathy has provided consultation, service, and expertise to a wide variety of community, national, and international agencies, including the International Child Art Foundation, Department of Defense, Issues Deliberation America/Australia, American Art Therapy Association, International Medical Corp, and Save the Children Foundation. Cathy has also served on the boards of American Counseling Association (ACA), distinguished as the first Representative from the Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC); President of the Counseling Association for Humanistic Education and Development (C-AHEAD); American Art Therapy Association (AATA); Delegate to 20/20 National Future of Counseling Task Force with ACA; Research and Ethics Committees of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare; International Advisory Board, International Child Art Foundation; Advisory Board for Alzheimer’s Association of America; and on numerous national and international boards in mental health, education, counseling, arts, and public service. In honor of her clinical and academic contributions, Cathy is the first and only person to have received all three of the American Art Therapy Association’s highest honors: Distinguished Service Award, Clinician Award, and Honorary Life Member Award. She is the recipient of Kennedy Center Honors and a Very Special Arts (VSA) Award for her art therapy work in Hong Kong and Beijing and is the recipient of the Willam Steele Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of trauma intervention with children.

Cathy’s current passion includes bringing together the art therapy community worldwide; to this end, she founded the International Art Therapy Organization (link is external) in May 2009, a network of approximately 7000 professionals and students across the globe. In April 2010, she co-founded the non-profit group Art Therapy Without Borders (ATWB (link is external)), an organization dedicated to using art therapy to wake up the world through service, education, research, and global networking.

Cathy currently resides in the decidedly weird city of Louisville, Kentucky with husband David and furry feline supervisors and task masters, Zoolee and Finnegan.

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Art Therapy and Digital Technology: Digital Art Therapy

Source: © 2017 « Digital Art Therapy » via WordPhoto app by C. Malchiodi, PhD
Dec 31 2017
Art Therapy and Digital Technology: Digital Art Therapy

Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT
Hère is a relative newcomer to art therapy Approaches and practice.
I am excited to be starting the actual production process for a new book for 2018: The Art Therapy and Digital Technology Sourcebook. It is a dynamic collection of international contributions from leading practitioners who embrace digital technology in their arts-based approaches to therapy, education and research. Most of all, I am pleased to be able to bring this work to print as sort of a “sequel” to Art Therapy and Computer Technology (Malchiodi, 2000), the first book to address electronic and emerging digital technology in the practice of art therapy and the precursors of social networking and social media.

Digital art therapy is a relative newcomer to art therapy methods and materials that can be defined as “all forms of technology-based media, including digital collage, illustrations, films, and photography that are used by therapists to assist clients in creating art as part of the process of therapy” (Malchiodi, 2011, p. 33). It involves any activities that use computer keyboards and screens or other technological devices for image-making within the context of treatment. Equipment used to generate, modify or manipulate images and electronic methods such as electronic processing (computers or tablet devices), photocopying, filmmaking, videotaping, and photography in various iterations from single reflex devices to digital cameras and smart phones are also part of spectrum of digital art therapy methodologies. These technologies include, but are not limited to these currently popular forms: apps and various forms of image-creation and film editing software; animation; gaming, virtual reality (VR) and participatory environments; tablet technology; light painting; artificial intelligence; and digital storytelling as well as other techno-media.

The availability of digital technology and media has exponentially enlarged capabilities for creative expression, communication and networking; as these advancements rapidly continue to emerge, there is also an increased curiosity and discussion among art therapist about the impact and applications of digital technology on practice. This is largely due to several factors. There is now a wide availability of digital equipment and software today for image creation and communication not only through a computer screen, but also via personal cellular phones and other compact devices. One can create imagery by using an endless variety of painting and drawing apps, or simply manipulate images through various collage software, apps or online programs. For example, it is remarkably easy now to transform pre-existing images through 21st advances through user-friendly photo enhancement software and apps (see Word Photo app image in this post) as well as Internet programs that allow user to “clip” images for use and manipulation in art expression. There are also easily accessible online photo and film editing software and increasingly accessible devices such as computer webcams, pocket-sized film cameras and smartphones that can both take photographs and create film footage. The currently ubiquitous YouTube has generated video possibilities unimaginable only a decade ago. All of these developments have raised interest among art therapists and others who apply art-based methods in their work with individuals of all ages.

The art world has also embraced digital technology as a significant part of image-making. Contemporary artists are incorporating VR, robotics, artificial intelligence and various digital image manipulation methods in their work, integrating technologies that are currently having a major influence on society and culture. These rapidly emerging art forms force not only artists to broaden the question of “what are art materials,” but also impact how art therapists and those who apply art-based media to meet therapeutic goals and to enhance self-expression. In brief, art therapy’s “palette” has expanded from what may be defined as more “low tech” materials to digital forms of self-expression and communication.

Also, it is now difficult for any practitioner to ignore that increasing numbers of art therapy clients are influenced and involved on a daily basis with digital media and networking. In other words, it is impossible to compartmentalize just how digital media and networking contribute to psychosocial experiences and the role of technology in individuals’ world views. This is particularly true in working with young clients who make up a group known as “digital natives” (individuals born after 1980 who grew up in the digital age in communities and cultures with access to technology) now demands that those who provide intervention to children understand the possibilities, challenges and limitations of digital technology. This is the generation who are “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games, the Internet and eventually social media. In contrast, art therapists (like myself) may be part of the slowly decreasing group known as digital immigrants who were born before 1980 and became familiar with digital communication and devices as adults. The emergence of digital natives not only impacts direct art therapy services, it also continues to affect the delivery of art therapy education to incoming students who are savvy consumers of technology and social networking platforms.

This is a brief preview of what I hope is an informative resource that will be available in mid-2018. Until then, here are few websites where you can learn more about this evolving domain called digital art therapy:

Art Therapy, Digital Technology and Social Media at

Art Therapy, Digital Technology and Social Media on Facebook at

New Media Art Therapy on Facebook at

Virtual Reality Art Therapy at

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