Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visioning in a Journal

In January I got a new journal and some inspiring books, and posted a spread from the journal called "all good things in 2010." Now my journal is filling up and I can more fully see what's ahead! I've journaled about big decisions like going back to school to get my Ph.D. in Creative Art Therapy, and little moments of gratitude while on vacation.
I discovered a wonderful book and web site, The Creative Entrepreneur, by Lisa Sonora Beam and have been doing many exercises from there:

In this process, I've been amazed how freinds, helpers and guides have been arriving in my life.  My business partner, Rebecca Wilkinson, kept saying to me, "We have to do the visioning work!" and I didn't get it, until reading the creative entrepreneur book. I was then able to understand "visioning work" is also known as "strategic planning," and Lisa's step by step process was one I could hold on too.   

Rebecca and I are now dedicating time to grow our vision and plan strategically.

Then, I found incredible information and support though Laura Dessauer's "Fill my Pratice Now" system

and continued to use my journal as I listened to her wisdom and brillance.  Her ideas came to life as I used the journaling work to en-vision the future.  

Increadably, I also was inspired this week by joining in the advocacy work of Americans for the Arts

with my friends pictured above as well as colleagues at the American Art Therapy Assocation  I think that many good things are quickly multipling in 2010!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Altered Books Workshop Saturday May 1, 2010

Altered Books
Exploring Creativity and Identifying Strengths

Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC
Rebecca Wilkinson, MA, ATR-BC

Saturday, May 1, 2010 10:00 AM-3:00 PM $45

(4.5 CEC's available $15 administrative fee*)

Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts
1632 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
202 483 8600

“All healing can be perceived as a creative transformation of one thing into something else.  Healing and art are a single process.” Shawn McNiff

Come explore the world of altered books, an art form where old books are recycled into new works of art. In altering a book, we might draw or paint on the pages or cover of the book (gasp!), or add magazine images, stamps, or stickers. Using mixed media collage--books can be adorned with fabric, leather, beads, wire or found objects. Techniques such as cutting out niches, making pockets and doors, transfers, texture building can be used. Inspiration may strike when the artist finds a word, letter, or image that becomes an interesting background or focal point that generates a personal artistic response.
Altering books provide a symbolically rich means of exploring reflection and transformation, especially when we make art intentionally for healing and to engage in growth and change. Creative endeavors often increase a sense of engagement, of being in the “Here and Now,” which in turn increases positive emotions—expansiveness, acceptance, and hope. We will use our altered books to record and capture some of these positive emotions as we identify our strengths and participate in a positively life-altering day!

Objectives 1) Attendees will be able to list three ways that altering books can be used to explore therapeutic concerns.

Objectives 2) Attendees will be able to list three strategies for using creative endeavors for identifying strengths and increasing positive emotions.

Objectives 3) Attendees will be able to list the three therapeutic benefits of identifying strengths and increasing positive emotions.

Snacks will be provided. Lunch is available from healthy, reasonably priced restaurants in the neighborhood.

Contact Smith Farm Center

To register or for more information call 202-483-8600 or visit

1632 U Street NW
Washington DC

Metro accessible
Red & Green Lines
FREE Parking available

NBCC Provider #6327
*Smith Farm is an NBCC Approved Continuing Education Provider an may offer NBCC approved clock hours for events and programs that meet NBCC requirements. Events and programs for which NBCC approved clock hours will be awarded are identified in the Smith Farm calendar. Smith Farm is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"What's it like when you feel better.."

Rebecca had some great suggestions for a novice art therapist on a list-serve we are both on, and she's let me share some of her ideas here, too. She talked about how when she does art therapy with people who are in crisis, her goals include helping people understand the connection between mind and body, helping people feel support and connection, and focusing on feeling that their lives are increasingly meaningful and enjoyable.

These sound like pretty good goals for the rest of us as well, so I thought I’d pass along her ideas.

Rebecca says that she asks people, "What is it like when you feel "better"….often with a warm up discussion about what it's like when it's "worse"--She asks, "How would you know that things were better, what changes would you experience, what would others observe, has it ever been better and if so what was different in your life, and, if not,  what would it be like?". Then, "If you felt better, what would you be doing, who would you be with, where would you be, what would it look like?”
Something to think about.

Rebecca continued: "What gives your life meaning? We have all had tough times, how have you survived the dark night of the soul? Who are the people that help and support you?"

What are your strengths and how have they helped you survive? (Imagine a friendly person in your life, how would they respond if asked to list a strength of yours…mightn’t they say, "friendly," "funny," "kind," "observant," "helpful to others", etc...).

What are the things for which you are grateful even in these troubling times?

Make some art about what comes to mind…

To address improving the body-mind connection, Rebecca suggests focusing on breathing, and do a sort of mental body scan in which you close your eyes and just note and observe the body starting with feet up through body and head, also attend to  breathing—this is based upon work of Jon Kabat-Zinn—then respond to the process by making art either in a mandala or an outline of the figure. Identify, using color line and shape, the areas where you experienced sensation or not, drawing colors and lines to represent that experience. If there are areas of concern or pain, people can modify the drawing to "make it better".

You could do a drawing like this, in your journal, at home, or even on your lunch hour…I think there might be benefits like Reecca sees at her work.  Because we have found, art can be a door to happiness.  What's been your experience?

Enjoy the spring,


Ribbon Cutting of the Institute for Continuing Education of the American Art Therapy Association!

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Gioia Chilton is a registered and board certified art therapist.


Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC

Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC