The Versatile Art Therapist: Fill your Tool Kit! OATA Conference 2019

Registration is FULL!!!
We will see you all there!!!

 Anu Lala, BSc, RCAT, RP

Registered Art Therapist

Registered Psychotherapist

KEYNOTE: The Versatile Art Therapist: A 24 Year Journey: Tips, Tools and Lessons for Integrative Clinical Art Therapy Practice

Being versatile is an important and necessary attribute of any Art Therapist practicing in an ever-changing environment such as the one we live in today. Often, it is the lessons learned through adjusting to change that can encourage the emergence of new clinical methods. Through years of practice as an Integrative Art Therapist, strategies, techniques and directives have evolved to fill a continually growing toolkit. This presentation will share some of the most effective tools which have been accumulated from work with a range of issues in a variety of populations. Stories, concepts, case material and art work, will be used to illustrate these tools which can be used to introduce new ideas and or material in your own toolkit . In addition, the presentation will include an interactive component to allow for hands on experience of some of the techniques being highlighted.


Anu Lala has practiced as an Integrative Art Therapist and Psychotherapist for 24 years.


She has worked in a wide range of organizations such as; shelters, hospitals, community healthcare facilities, and private practice.  For the past 20 years she has been working in a Community Health Centre in Toronto specializing in providing services to diverse populations using a culturally sensitive, anti-oppressive, feminist framework. Alongside her work in the community, Anu Lala has also maintained a Private Practice. In 2015 she worked as an Art Therapist at Sunnybrook Hospital with Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Through her work in various organizations she has addressed a range of mental health issues associated with; anxiety, trauma, depression, grief, abuse interpersonal and family conflict, identity issues and medical illness. She has used her knowledge to present at conferences, teach, and supervise students. In 2011 a chapter on her work was published in the book “Art Therapy Through a Prism”. She continues to share her knowledge with students through teaching part-time at The Toronto Art Therapy Institute where she has been for the past 10 years. Currently, in addition to her clinical practice, she also teaches courses in Psychotherapy and Safe and Effective Use of Self to foreign trained Mental Health Professionals in the bridging program in Toronto.



Friday May 3

6:00 - 8:00 pm Registration
7:00 - 9:30 pm Round Table Discussions & Reception

Saturday May 4
7:00 - 8:00 am Set Up
8:00 - 9:00 Registration & Breakfast
8:45 - 9:00 am Opening Remarks
9:00 - 11:00 am Keynote Address
11:00 - 11:30 am Break
11:30 - 12:30 pm AGM & Elections
12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 - 3:00 pm Break Out Sessions - Group A
3:00 - 3:15 pm Break
3:15 - 4:45 pm Break Out Sessions - Group B
4:45 - 5:00 pm Closing Remarks & Door Prizes


Break-Out Session Group A 1:30-3:00pm

A1: Examining Intimate Partner Violence Survivors' Experiences with Group Art Therapy: A Community-Based Study (M. Skop, O. Darewych, R. Mazzawi)


A3: Overcoming Language Barriers: Embroidery & Syrian Refugees (A. Hanania)

Break-Out Session Group B 3:15-4:45 pm

B1: Itty Bitty Shitty Commitee: Experiential Leaning (V. DeGroot)

B2: The Business of Art Therapy (S. Bookbinder)

B3: Personal In-Queer-y: Better Understanding Therapeutic Relationships with the Queer Community (E. Martin, K. Parker, J. Bagan, M. Cytryn)

Round Table Discussions

1. The Value of Diverse Creative Check-Ins (J. Humphrey)

2. Bilateral Drawing (M. Saffery)

3. What's the Buzz about Art Hives? (A. Penny & S. Beniston)

4. Art Therapy to Foster Inclusivity in a Multi-Cultural Setting (R. Young)

5. Retreat Planning (V. DeGroot)


1. Kintsugi as Art Therapy (M. Saffery)

2. Post-Termination Response Art: An Art Therapy Student's Exploration of Letting Go (C. Leyburne)

Presenter Information and Abstracts

Sharona Bookbinder, BSc, DTATI, MBA, OATR, RCAT, RP 

Workshop B2 (90 min.): The Business of Art Therapy

Finding work as an art therapist is one of the biggest challenges for new graduates and even seasoned practitioners. Learn some basic practical business skills to improve chances of gaining employment or creating opportunities.

This workshop will explore the business identity of art therapists and offer some business information including:

(i) Defining what business means to art therapists

(ii) Exploring three types of business models

(iii) Learning three business skills for building a private practice & sole proprietorship.

Sharona Bookbinder is the founder and CEO of InnerArt Inc. Sharona practices as a Registered Psychotherapist & Registered Art Therapist and is recognized as a clinical art therapy supervisor. She is a presenter, author, educator, innovator and leader in healthcare and small business in Canada. Practicing for 25 years, she has specialized in geriatrics, palliation, cancer care, stroke care, cognitively impaired (dementia and otherwise) populations. Sharona completed an MBA (2016) in Innovation Leadership and will be using it to inform her doctoral studies at Mount Mary University (2020). Sharona is also the Treasurer of the Canadian Art Therapy Association and on the CATA journal editorial board.

Vanessa DeGroot, DTATI , RP
Round Table Discussion (Friday evening, 20 min.): Retreat Planning

Vanessa will speak about planning retreats abroad. She’ll speak from her own personal experience of running retreats in El Salvador for women.

Workshop B1 (90 min.): The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee: Experiential Learning
The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee attacks your self-esteem, and re-enforces those beliefs that you’re not smart enough, skinny enough etc.  Rarely does the IBSC go on vacation or take a break - these “tracks” play over and over in our minds and we believe it’s us. In this art therapy experiential you’ll be exploring your own inner critic, a process you’ll be able to use with your own clients *please be advised this experience will be emotionally charged.

Vanessa DeGroot is a Registered Psychotherapist.  She completed her training at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute and completed her undergrad at the University of Guelph and the Ontario College of Art & Design. She currently runs her own practice and art studio.

Alexandra Hanania, Hon. BSc, MA, DTATI (Cand.)
Workshop A3 (90 min.): Overcoming Language Barriers: Embroidery & Syrian Refugees

The workshop will begin with a brief lecture on the use of embroidery (a culturally relevant art form) with Syrian refugees and the challenges of working with language barriers. This will be followed by a group discussion and brainstorm on how to overcome language barriers in art therapy group settings. We will conclude the workshop with an embroidery experiential where participants will have the chance to experience learning/teaching embroidery without the use of language. Any level of embroidery experience is welcome to join. 

Alexandra Hanania is an art therapy student in Toronto, currently writing her thesis on the interplay between iconoclasm, spirituality, and art therapy. She recently completed her Master of Arts degree in psychoanalytic theory and religious belief. In her spare time, she enjoys reading Rollo May, Joseph Campbell, and Freud.

Joanne Humphrey, BFA, Dip AT, RP
Round Table Discussion (Friday evening, 20 min.): The Value of Diverse Creative Check-ins 

There is value for both the client and the therapist when a therapist has the ability to use check-ins that are engaging and informative.  Joanne will demonstrate a variety of check- ins that she uses for drop-in groups that can be adapted for a wide variety of populations and settings that are not only fun but challenging for clients. 

Joanne Humphrey graduated from the former Art Therapy Diploma program at UWO in 2000. Since then she has facilitated groups with women and children affected by interpersonal violence, individuals in the criminal justice system, and adults in treatment for mental health and addiction issues.  She is currently an Addiction / Mental Health Counsellor at Addiction Services of Thames Valley in London, Ontario and runs an 8-week Art Therapy Drop In Group.  

Carly Leyburne, BFA, DTATI (Cand.)
Poster Session: Post-Termination Response Art: An Art Therapy Student’s Exploration of Letting Go

This poster is a summary of my TATI Major Project which examines the role of the therapist’s response art after client-termination.  The poster will include a brief history of response art and it’s relation to the therapist’s wellbeing, as well as prints of the images I’ve created in response to my own practicum clients.

Carly Leyburne is an artist and art therapy student of the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.  She has been interning at the Delton Glebe Counselling Centre since March 2018, where she works with clients individually.  She is passionate about self-care, mindfulness, and gardening.

Emily Martin, MA, AATQ, N.D. 
Kristina Parker, M.A. Candidate in Art Therapy 
Jillian Bagan, M.A. Candidate in Art Therapy &
Marissa Cytryn, M.A. Candidate in Art Therapy 

Workshop B3 (90 min.): Personal In-Queer-y: Better Understanding Therapeutic Relationships with the Queer Community
This workshop aims to promote developing cultural humility working with LGBT2SIQ+ clients and colleagues as creative arts therapists. With discussion on LGBT2SIQ+ terminology, the importance of linguistic sensitivity, and impacts of minority stress, concepts will also be explored through an art intervention. Presenters are members of Queer CATs (Creative Arts Therapists), which gathers LGBT2SIQ+ students to discuss issues through peer supervision and through hosting public events in Montreal aims to build a more inclusive field.

Emily Martin holds a MA in Art Therapy from Concordia University (2018) and a BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph (2016). She is currently working as an art therapist in private practice and a youth educator for a non-profit organization in Montreal, Quebec. Emily has a strong foundation in learning disabilities complicated by mental health (LDMH), recreation programming, and youth empowerment with diverse student populations. She is a professional member of the Quebec Art Therapy Association (AATQ) and the Academy of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists of Canada (ACNN). She was a student member of Queer CATS in 2017-2018. 

Kristina Parker is completing a Masters of Art Therapy at Concordia University, and has been organizing around sustainability and queer issues at the undergraduate and graduate level. A founding member of Queer CATs, Kristina has research interests in how queer theory and queer spaces may develop more inclusive pedagogy and practice in creative arts therapies. 

Jillian Bagan, M.A. Candidate in Art Therapy
Jillian Bagan is a Concordia University Art Therapy master’s student, currently researching how art therapy can assist clients with differing abilities self-advocate within their communities-of-care. She serves as the secretary vice president for the Creative Art Therapist Student Association, student representative of EnAGE (Centre for Research on Aging) and is one of the founding members of the Queer CATs organization. She has received the 2018 RCMP Troop 17 Scholarship Award for her promotion of community-building, queer visibility and advocation for change towards greater inclusivity in the creative art therapies field. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba. 

Marissa Cytryn, M.A. Candidate in Art Therapy
Marissa Cytryn is Concordia University Art Therapy Master student. She is interested in the impacts that culturally humble art has on vulnerable communities. Marissa is a founding member of Queer CATs.

April Penny, BFA, BEd, DTATI, RCAT, RP &
Susan Beniston, MFA, ATR-BC, RCAT

Round Table Discussion (Friday evening, 20 min.): What’s the buzz about Art Hives?
Are you inspired by the Art Hives International Network to create flexible frameworks that build and transform communities? Art therapists are leading the way in developing Art Hives that are inclusive, fully-accessible and embrace diversity, sustainable public art and meaningful creativity. Join us to exchange ideas on how Art Hives share resources. 

April Penny DTATI, RCAT, RP is an artist, registered art therapist, supervisor and faculty member at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. She provides art therapy services for long-term care settings in the GTA specializing in geriatrics and ageing young adults with complex needs. April has facilitated community themed arts-based initiatives within these settings to promote resident creativity, inclusion and accessibility, and bring visibility to the value of therapeutic art projects for these populations. She has helped develop the first permanent LTC community art studio within Peel Region Homes.

Susan Beniston MFA, ATR-BC, RCAT is a sculptor, certified art therapist, and art educator at Sheridan College, in the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design. She has significant exhibition history, credentials, and investment in all three spheres. Susan knows first-hand that experiential learning and sensory-based attunement promote relational health, resilience, and well-being. She is the founder of the Sheridan College Art Hive Initiative.

Marillyn Saffery, BFA, DipAT, RP 
Round Table Discussion (Friday evening, 20 min.): Bilateral Drawing

Introducing the use of bilateral scribbles and drawing (dominant and non-dominant hands working at the same time). Specifically used as an introduction to art making, as a time-limited warm-up exercise and also to engage brain activity in both the left and right hemispheres

Marillyn Saffery, BFA, DipAT, RP &
Derrick Nearing, MPAS, CCPA, MMM, CD 

Poster Presentation: Kintsugi as Art Therapy

A “poster” explaining the art therapy technique derived from Kintsugi that I use with my clients. It incorporates one framed set of photographs, pottery samples and a 12-minute video with music that will be played on a laptop (on a loop). All art work has been done by D. Nearing, a veteran client of mine.

Marillyn Saffery has been in private practice in the Ottawa Valley since 2004. For the past 7 years she has liaised with Veterans Affairs Canada as a provider of art therapy for retired and medically released soldiers. She enthusiastically introduces these and other clients to expressive and visual arts; she also incorporates psycho-education when appropriate. Marillyn is a Registered Psychotherapist, trained in art therapy at the University of Western Ontario.

Derrick Nearing, a native of Cape Breton, recently retired from the Canadian Forces after 35 years of service. Since retirement, Derrick has focused on reducing the effects of the PTSD that resulted from deployment on five operational tours. He is currently a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant and holds a Masters degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska.

Hannah Sherebrin, ATR-BC, OATR, YAHAT, Art Therapist & Supervisor 
Supervision Session (90 min.): The Shame Trap in Supervision

This experiential interactive group experience introduces the existence of the shame phenomena in supervision both for supervisors and supervisees.  In this session, we will discuss sociological and cultural aspects of shame, toxic shame and existential shame in our supervisory relationships, as well as the connection between transference, countertransference and shame, to better understand treatment versus supervision. Based on Humanistic Therapy model. 

Hannah Sherebrin has practiced Art Therapy for the past 40 years and is the Past Treasurer and Vice President of OATA, and the Past Registration Chair and immediate past Vice President of YAHAT. Hannah has been a Key note presenter at a past OATA conference, presented workshops and lectures all over the world, and published numerous articles and book chapters.  She taught a one-year course of Art Therapy Supervision at Haifa University, and supervised 2nd year students of the Art Therapy programs at UWO, 2nd and 3rd year students at Tel Chai college in Israel and continues to supervise professional Art Therapists and Drama Therapists. Hannah’s supervision is recognised as hours of supervision both by YAHAT and AATA.

Michelle Skop, PhD, RSW 
Olena Darewych, page2image3696224PhD, RP, RCAT &
Raghida Mazzawi, RP

Workshop (90 min.): Examining Intimate Partner Violence Survivors' Experiences with Group Art Therapy: A Community-Based Study

This workshop will present the preliminary results from a community-based research study that explored intimate partner violence survivors' experiences of group art therapy. Presenters will describe the process of applying for research funding, sharing strategies and lessons learned. Through discussion and experiential activities, attendees will gain practical tips and tools on how to write research and community-based art therapy proposals. This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Michelle Skop, PhD, RSW, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus. Prior to joining Laurier, Michelle practiced social work in the field of adult mental health. Michelle’s program of research involves using arts-based research methodologies to explore people’s experiences of health, illness, and wellbeing. She also researches pedagogical methods for incorporating community approaches into social work education.

Olena Darewych, PhD, RP, RCAT is a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario (RP), a Registered Canadian Art Therapist (RCAT), an Adjunct Faculty at Adler University and Martin Luther University College - Wilfrid Laurier University, and Instructor at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI). She is a Past President of the Canadian Art Therapy Association. 

Raghida Mazzawi completed her studies in Psychology, Early Childhood Education, and Adult Education. She holds a Master of Counselling Psychology degree from University of Calgary and is a Registered Psychotherapist. Raghida’s work experience is in the violence against women sector. Raghida worked 11 years at Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services in Brantford, Ontario, managing clinical programs for women, men, and children. Raghida brought the Group Art Therapy program to Nova Vita to help women survivors of domestic violence. Raghida is currently working as the Manager of Programs at Catholic Family Services of Peel Dufferin.

Rebecca Young, B.A. (Hons), B.Ed., DTATI
Round Table Discussion (Friday evening, 20 min.): Art Therapy to Foster Inclusivity in a Multi-Cultural Setting

This presentation will focus on how group art therapy can provide a platform for bonding among latency-aged youth in a multi-cultural setting. This session will provide samples from my field work in Rwanda. Theoretical and practical examples of using directives based on our 8 primary emotions will be shared. Results of my major project, produced in Toronto, demonstrate how a visual representation of a shared experience facilitates group cohesion between two ethnically diverse groups.

Rebecca Young is a teacher, speaker and art therapist who lived in rural Rwanda for one year. Her experience of running an Art Group for 45 children using limited resources greatly informs her approach to art therapy directives today. Discover the “human element” in her interesting presentation on bridging the cultural divide.