Advanced Workshop

30th Annual Canadian Art Therapy Association Conference
The Canadian Mosaic
Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 7, 2009

Behavioural Activation: Switching on with Art Therapy:

Abstract: Clients who have difficulties and challenges are often dealing with sadness and/or depression. Behavioral Activation is a structured approach that focuses on helping clients change their behavior and decrease their sadness or depression. Research shows that depressed patients who were treated with Behavioral Activation or BA benefited as much as patients who received CBT Cognitive Behavior Therapy and/or ADM – Antidepressant medications (Persons, J. B., Davidson, J., Tompkins, M. A., 2001; Dimidjian, S., Dobson, K., S., et al. 2006).



This workshop will demonstrate that Art Therapy is a visually, creative form of Behavioral Activation. Case studies will be viewed and discussed which give insight into how BA turns the ‘power switch on’ by providing a creatively focused activity that stimulates and energizes and helps the client deal with avoidance issues. BA promotes a therapeutic alliance between the art therapist, the client, and others (medically and non-medically). BA also helps the brain reprogram itself and create new brain pathways for processing information – Neuroplasticity (S. Begley, 2007; G., D. Cohen 2000; N. Doidge, 2007). 
After viewing the presentation participants will then be divided into groups and provided with case studies. Each group will devise Art Therapy, as well as Creative Arts Therapies care plans, that include examples of ‘Behavioral Activation’. These care plans will be presented, viewed and discussed, ultimately providing a forum of shared information from all Creative Arts backgrounds.

Presentation Objectives:

1.    To have participants gain an understanding and working knowledge of the therapeutic value of ‘Behavioral Activation’ as a valuable, therapeutic tool in the Art Therapy treatment plan.
2.    To provide an environment that promotes active ‘group interaction’ in the areas of, ‘imparting information’, ‘altruism’ and ‘group cohesiveness’, (Yalom, I. D. (1995), Malchiodi, C. A. (2007), through case study formulation.
3.    To ultimately result in an accumulation and sharing of proposed Art Therapy and Creative Arts Therapies care plans that incorporate ‘Behavioral Activation’.