Dianne Shannon Art Therapy

RCAT #223-R-17 MA



Addiction studies done!

Just received marks for my final class of Mount Royal University’s Addiction Studies Extension Certificate. I took this program to better support the many individuals who come to art therapy and have experienced some aspect of addiction. The six online classes covered topics such as the effects of addictions on individuals, youth, families, and the brain as well as concurrent disorders and treatment.

Something I’ve noticed over the years is that there doesn’t seem to be enough support for youth who have an addicted parent, so I’m pleased to pass along a link to this guide produced by Starlings in Calgary:

Cancer and art therapy

Many friends and family over the past few years have been confronted with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, so I decided to go through the American Art Therapy Association’s outcomes-based research bibliography for information about art therapy’s efficacy for cancer patients. The articles I found are listed in the attached pdf file for those of you who are also interested. A Google search of “cancer and art therapy” will also bring up many, many examples of art therapy in cancer treatment.

AATA outcomes-based research bibliography: Cancer and art therapy (pdf)

COVID-19 update

Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases this fall mean that in addition to being fully vaccinated, I’ll be taking the following precautions in my office:

  • Masks are required in the common areas of the building and are recommended in my office space
  • If your child is comfortable wearing a mask they are encouraged to do so  
  • I clean surfaces and any shared art supplies between client sessions
  • My office space has an air purifier with a HEPA filter  

Thank you to everyone who is comfortable wearing a mask during sessions. If this is a concern, please give me a call to discuss how we might be able to accommodate your needs.

Welcome to the new space

After more than a year of outreach and online sessions, I’m looking forward to seeing clients at 107-2366 Avenue C North for in-person sessions. What a wonderful feeling to see the supplies and tools I packed away months ago…sand tray and figures, puppets, odd bits of metal, felt, wood, clay, paint and more! Call or email if you’d like to take a look and discuss how art therapy might be helpful for you or someone you know.

Spring classes at the Refinery

There are a few spaces left for two art therapy classes I’m facilitating at the Refinery in Saskatoon. Explore grief and loss through Wolfeldt’s Ten Essential Touchstones over four sessions in May and June. Or try the one-day workshop in June called Growing the Good and discover personal resources to help you in difficult situations. Check out these and other Refinery class offerings:

Healing with virtual art therapy

Canadian Institute for Art Therapy co-founder Michelle Winkel describes how art therapy is adapting for online delivery during the pandemic…

Art making for online video sessions

Ok, so you’ve seen the post that I offer online video art therapy sessions, but are you wondering what it would be like to make art at home for an online session? To begin, you don’t need special art materials – anything on hand can be used. For example, look around you right now. What catches your eye? Below are “before” and “after” examples of what making art at home for your video art therapy session might look like.

Bits left over from cutting out paper snowflakes and the back of a mouse pad
Recycled packaging and toys
Advertising mail, a newspaper, scissors, and glue stick
Pencil, pencil shavings, and printer paper

Video sessions

To deliver video art therapy to your desktop, tablet, or phone, I use the secure NousTalk app.

Ready to try it? You can choose a video session when you book online or call me to make an appointment. You don’t need special art supplies for your session, anything you have on hand will work: highlighter, pen, pencil, crayon, printer paper, napkin, glue stick, recycled packaging, magazines for collage images. You can also check out a dollar store for inexpensive supplies.

Here are a few tips for your video session:

  • Create a private space for your session where you can speak without being overheard or interrupted. If the session is for your child, make sure they are in a location where they know no one can hear the session and there will be no interruptions or distractions from other people or pets.
  • Headphones improve your privacy and minimize background noise and interruptions. ​​
  • Video conferencing works best on Google Chrome as your internet browser.
  • Share any concerns about video therapy with me before or after your session so we can make you as comfortable as possible.
  • If you’re distracted by seeing yourself on the screen or monitor, stick a post-it note on the window that shows your image.

Is art therapy evidence-based? Yes!

Research around the world is growing in support of art therapy’s effectiveness with reducing symptoms of pain, anxiety, trauma and more. The Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) publishes a research journal as does the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Art therapy masters and masters-level programs, which are required to practice as an art therapist, include research classes as well as a thesis or project. Qualitative and quantitative results are available for many populations; here are links for just a few examples: children, cancer patients, adults, and the AATA has a 54-page outcomes bibliography. A Google search will bring up books and research about art therapy including general resources and for specific populations or concerns. If an evidence-based approach is important to you and you’re considering art therapy, ask the art therapist: How they support client values and expectations; about their expertise; and how they apply research findings and resources. Not unlike other psychotherapies, art therapists can work with you to develop a treatment plan with measurable goals and objectives and within a time frame based on your expectations.

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