Monthly Archives: April 2003


C o g n i t i v e D i s a b i l i t i e s Newsletter

Center for Accessible Technology

2547 8th Street, 12-A Berkeley, CA 94710
Tel: 510-841-3224 Fax: 510-841-7956 Web:

CforAT was started by a group of people who had the vision to see how technology could improve the lives of people with disabilities. Bill and Claudia Coleman are the same sort of visionaries, people who can see incredible potential in emerging technologies.

During 2002, CforAT has been conducting a dialogue with the Colemans
around our mutual interest in adaptive technology for people with cognitive disabilities. This dialogue has been an engaging opportunity to explore new venues for CforAT’s capabilities.

This issue of the CforATnewsletter, which focuses on technological accessibility and people with all types of cognitive disabilities, is one outlet for sharing information on adaptive technologies.


The images in this issue of the newsletter are individual tiles from the Disability Mural. The Mural is a mosaic of tiles made by people with disabilities celebrating, in their own words and images, the experience of living with a disability. Individual 12-inch square tiles of tempered masonite visually depict the artists’ experience with disability, while one minute recordings (sound pieces) express the artists’ intentions and inspirations in their own voice.

The Mural tiles are created in workshops at the CforAT Art studio and in workshops held at various disability agencies and arts centers, or are completed and returned by artists who request individual tile making kits.

The Mural started as a celebration of the 10 Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are now over 800 tiles in the Mural, and the Mural is becoming a national (and international) artwork, as participants from around the country and from other countries get involved and make tiles.

For more information about the Disability Mural, visit the ART PROGRAMS link on our website and click on the link for the DISABILITY MURAL.


Seftel exhibit goes international

Monday, February 3, 2003 — An exhibition Laura Seftel organized two years ago in Northampton is going international. Her Secret Club Project is a case of an idea so well received by viewers its creator cannot call it quits.

Seftel, a Northampton artist and art therapist, won a Northampton Arts Council grant in 2000 to exhibit works by women that explored pregnancy loss. That show, at the A.P.E. Gallery, included the oil painting by Robin Freedenfeld, “Maine Morning,” reproduced here. Freedenfeld had lost a child through miscarriage, just as some 900,000 women in the United States do every year, according to Seftel.

Since that initial show, Seftel has allied the Secret Club Project with the Fund for Women Artists in Northampton, launched a fundraising campaign and started a Web site.

It is now two and a half years since Seftel began using art to break a taboo about discussing pregnancy loss. “I think we really did tap into something,” she said from her home the other day. “We started getting submissions [of works of art] from all over the world. It took on a life of its own. I couldn’t drop it. I had to shepherd it along.”

Seftel is focusing now on readying a traveling exhibit and is available to narrate slide shows. She has already done so at the Baystate Medical Center and at the University of Massachusetts School of Nursing.

Since pieces in the 2000 show had to be returned to participating artists, Seftel is working with photographic copies of the original works, as well as with hundreds of new creations by a stable of artists that now numbers 30. The more portable traveling exhibit Seftel is assembling will head for health-care conferences, where it can help make practitioners more sensitive to the emotional consequences of miscarriage.

Meanwhile, the new Web site makes the project accessible to all within reach of a computer. The site includes a strong selection of images and accompanying artists’ statements, along with a history of Seftel’s project and links to resources.

“Now they can give the person the Web site and they can actually view the art and hear stories,” Seftel said. “It becomes a service in itself. That was a major accomplishment.” The site was created for free by Belinda Darcey, who runs Dolce Design in New York City and Northampton.

Seftel said she hopes the project’s affiliation with the nonprofit Fund for Women Artists will help it successfully apply for larger grants. She said she’s had a good response, meanwhile, to 200 targeted fundraising appeal letters.

Already, audiences have embraced the project’s work. “It’s such an unspeakable experience,” Seftel said of miscarriage. “Art gives a window into it that’s hard to get otherwise.” For more information, contact Seftel at 586-7710.


A wonderful project by art therapist Laura Seftel . You can read the history, view art by participants, access links to pregnancy loss resources and more.

THE SECRET CLUB PROJECT: understanding pregnancy loss through the arts
submission guidelines and forms on this site.


BOOK REVIEW from ScienceDirect- The Arts in Psychotherapy : Beginning Research in the Arts Therapies: A Practical Guide

Gary Ansdell and Mercédès Pavlicevic

(London, Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001, 255 pages, $23.95 paperback)

Review by: Frances F. Kaplan MPS, DA, ATR-BC

Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, OR, USA

Available online 22 January 2003.

It is no secret that arts therapists shy away from research. It is also apparent that many arts therapists feel inadequate when it comes to the art of scholarly writing. Written by arts therapists (in this case, music therapists) for arts therapists of every stripe, this book is one that works hard to address these concerns. In essence, it takes the reader by the hand and attempts to lead her (or him) gently through the intricacies of preparing a research proposal, carrying out the proposed research, and writing up the finished project––with much encouragement along the way. This is a big task, and as might be expected, it is more fully realized in some areas than in others. Nonetheless, this research text is the best and most comprehensive one for arts therapists that I have come across so far.

I’ll start with the book’s plusses––which are significant. The authors employ the innovative device of creating two fictional arts therapists, a female music therapist and a male art therapist, who are about to begin research projects. The male therapist must do a quantitative study for his employer to demonstrate that his work has value, and the female therapist undertakes a qualitative study in order to satisfy the final requirements of her degree program. Neither has done any research before. The narrative then follows these two as they work through the stages of designing, executing, and finishing their projects––as well as their anxieties and concerns. Offering a smidgen of titillation, the characters’ story also involves a budding personal relationship that seems meant to keep the reader guessing as to the outcome, but that carries its own relevant message. (I won’t say more about this lest I spoil the fun for the reader.)



Swiss Art Therapy Association (in french only). They offer a publication for a fee, an events calendar, but especially useful is a list of expressive therapy associations across europe



L’interface arts et thérapies est un champ relationnel, un terrain de rencontre, un espace d’ouverture dans lequel un être humain offre un service professionnel à un autre être humain en quête d’un mieux vivre.
Le client ou patient peut y explorer et résoudre des problématiques et découvrir des potentiels personnels au travers de l’expression médiatisée par des moyens artistiques ou créatifs.
Ce processus créatif est vu comme un levier de réconciliation et d’élaboration des conflits émotionnels internes ainsi que comme un acte de quête de soi et de croissance personnelle.
Les théories et techniques scientifiques des soins psychologiques se sont beaucoup développées dans ce XXe siècle à partir de la psychanalyse, qui reste le corps auquel se rattachent ou se référent la plupart des élaborations théoriques. L’éventail des visions s’est considérablement élargi: humanistes, systémique, potentiel humain, gestalt, existentialisme, phénoménologique, etc.
L’art en tant qu’acte créatif a sa pensée propre et sensible, appuyée sur l’intuition. Il ajoute un deuxième pôle à la démarche psychologique qui permet d’aborder la personne dans sa globalité et sa complexité au travers d’une dynamique de changement.

ARAET, Case postale 5261, CH – 1211 GENEVE 11
Tél. 079 / 653.09.06
CCP 12 – 19216 – 4


CANADA: The Canadian Art Therapy Association Upcoming Events


SPRING & SUMMER WORKSHOPS – 2003 – Distant Student Program.
Date Posted: 2003-04-06 Read more…


Canadian Room – Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon SK – May 8-9, 2003
Date Posted: 2003-04-06 Read more…

THEME: The Personal is Political: Art Therapy and Social Consciousness Deadline: May 31, 2003

Presented by the Canadian Art Therapy Association, Oct. 2, 3, 4, 5, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Date Posted: 2003-04-06 Read more…


ARTICLE: Using Creative Activities as Intervention for Grieving Children

Cathy A. Malchiodi, LPCC, LPAT

This article is reprinted from TLC’s Journal, TRAUMA AND LOSS: Research and Interventions, Volume 3, Number 1, 2003


Exposure to the death of a loved one—whether a parent, sibling, or family pet– is a painful experience for children and usually requires intervention to explore and facilitate expression of feelings and questions about loss and tragedy. Drawing is one activity that can help both the trauma specialist and children who are grieving a death identify feelings and understand loss through sensory means. This article discusses how children perceive death at various ages and stages, how sudden traumatic death impacts children, and how drawing and creative activities can be important in work with children who experience the loss of a parent or loved one.

Children’s Expression of Grief
The National Association of School Psychologists (2001) summarizes the range of children’s grief reactions as follows: .

Emotional shock– Children may have a noticeable lack of affect, appear numb, lack reaction to events, or seem depersonalized. This behavior may serve as way to detach from the pain of moment or memories of loss..

Regressive behaviors – Children may suddenly need to sleep in a parent’s bed or may have difficulty separating from parents, family members, or caretakers, or may need to be held or rocked..

Repetitious behavior– Children may repeat play activities or themes or stories in their drawings. They also may repeatedly ask the same questions because a death has been hard to believe or accept; these questions, however, can help to identify any misinformation the child may have about the event.

Sudden mood swings or unusual behavior– Children may suddenly seem irritable, frustrated, fearful, or helpless, reflections of their internal feelings and their need to find control over a situation they have little control.

Continued here.


Excerpt from ARTICLE that discussed the use of drawing with various age groups.

ARTICLE: Structured Sensory Intervention
for Traumatized Children, Adolescents, and Parents

William Steele, MSW and Melvyn Raider, PhD

This article is reprinted from TLC’s Journal, TRAUMA AND LOSS: Research and Interventions, Volume 1, Number 2, 2001


This article reviews eleven years of field-testing, focused feedback sessions, anecdotal information and research of intervention programs designed to assist children, adolescents and parents exposed to trauma-inducing incidents. These efforts were conducted by the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children in schools and agencies across the country and resulted in a series of intervention programs which made up the Institutes Structured Sensory Interventions for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP) Model. The use of drawing as a primary sensorimotor activity to facilitate the safe reexperiencing of the incident, the use of structured, trauma-focused questions addressing the major themes of trauma to facilitate the development of the trauma narrative (telling the story), and cognitive reframing statements designed to shift from victim thinking to survivor thinking were the primary intervention strategies used in each program. The SITCAP model has been instrumental in assisting victims seen in schools and agency settings find relief and resolutions of reactions to their trauma.


Cognitive psychology has demonstrated “that memories determine the interpretation of the present even when they are not conscious” (Mihaescu & Baettig, 1996, p. 239). Children experience trauma at a sensorimotor level then shift to a “perceptual (ionic) representation to a symbolic level”(Mihaescu & Baettig, 1996, p. 239). Later in adult life these memories are ordered linguistically. When a terrifying incident such as trauma is experienced and does not fit into a contextual memory, a new memory or dissociation is established (van der Kolk, McFarlane and Weisaeth, 1996). When that memory cannot be linked linguistically in a contextual framework, it remains at a symbolic level for which there are no words to describe it. In order to retrieve that memory so it can be encoded, given a language, and then integrated into consciousness it must be retrieved and externalized in its symbolic perceptual (iconic) form.

Drawing is a form of exposure therapy used to assist in constructing the traumatic narrative while at the same time reliving that memory. SITCAP interventions provide the individual an opportunity to create a visual (symbolic) representation of what the experience was like and to share it with the interventionist. Trauma-specific questions are used to help the individual develop his or her story; in other words, to give it a language. At this point cognitive reframing helps to reorder it cognitively, in a way that is now manageable.


ITALY: Torino School of Art Therapy


For the fourth consecutive summer, we are offering two unusual and exciting courses in art therapy as a means for students to participate in a multi-cultural learning atmosphere. Students and art therapists from North America and abroad, along with their Italian counterparts from the Torino School of Art Therapy, will have the opportunity for an exchange of ideas and their respective experiences in art therapy. Held this year in downtown Turin, an unique opportunity for learning, integrating intensive art therapy studies within a wonderful milieu of cultural and intellectual exchange, awaits participating students.

The following courses will be open with an Italian/English translation. Tuition for each course is: 900 euros (if for credit*); 600 euros (non-credit).

June 16 – 20, 2003: Medical Art Therapy, taught by
Paola Luzzato, Ph.D., ATR-BC .

June 23 – 27, 2003: Art Therapy and Contemporary Art,
taught by Emma Vitti, Italian art therapist, et al.

As places in the courses are limited, please reserve as early as possible. Accommodations at a very comfortable and inexpensive youth hostel nearby fill up early. To receive an application, more detailed information about course content, location, housing etc., please contact:

Elizabeth Stone, ATR-BC, Program Director
Phone/fax: (011) 33-476-539-689

Email: Torino School of Art Therapy

* Some US art therapy graduate programs permit students to participate in our program. Credit for our courses can be extended only with the written agreement of the program director of the students’ own university.


NEWSLETTER & GROUP: STOPGAP stages: Educational Plays Addressing Social themes

StopGap stages interactive educational plays theatre productions and drama therapy in order to guide youth teens and adults to reduce teen pregnancy help families with alcohol abuse and divorce abused children battered women homeless youth. Read their NEWSLETTER