Art Therapy Symposium

On March 29th 2019, Marywood University held and Art Therapy Symposium for the first time in a few years. We experienced lectures from Glen R. Finney, MD and Stephanie Wise, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT.

Glen R. Finney, MD: Neuroscience of Creativity

Finney spoke about the Neuroscience of Creativity and the role that creativity has on the human brain. Finney stated that “Art is something that should evoke a response within yourself,” and I believe that sentence alone holds a high level of importance to the treatment Art Therapy provides. Throughout the lecture he explained different areas of the brain were affected by creativity and how each hemisphere of the brain has its own role on the human mind and body. As the lecture went on, he started to dive into how creativity can be seen in Neurological Disorders. Some examples of his teachings were Progressive Nonfluent Aphasia and Alzheimer’s disease. He showed us work from professional artists and their change in work as their Neurological disorder progressed. I believe for all levels of Art Therapists that we’re sitting in that conference room, Finney’s lectured opened our eyes to a new way of looking at creativity and it isn’t just an adjective anymore but a treatment.

Stephanie Wise, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT: Creativity, The Brain and Trauma

Not to be biased, but I think I was more excited and filled with more anticipation when it came to Stephanie’s lecture. The biggest thing she talked about was the “reprocessing of materials through bilateral training.” From this she explains each hemisphere of the brain and their importance within the human function. This provides her with a catalyst to jump back into “bilateral training” and going into further detail about “bilateral stimulation invokes the memories of both hemispheres.” This is important because, as Stephanie explained during her lecture, the left brain is logically driven and the right brain is creatively driven and for both of them to intersect is imperative to a balanced treatment.

Bilateral Art Therapy Directive

Naturally, Stephanie wanted the group to take part in an experiential. This experiential, of course, centered around bilateral training and how the client will utilize both hands when creating a stimulating piece of art. Through guided imagery, Stephanie sent us on a mindful journey before creating our pieces. It was based on a safe place and a safe person and safe feelings. I felt safest in a forest or library, surrounded my nature and color, alongside my mom. I did not literally drawing this however. I utilized the idea of half control and half chaos to manifest bilateral thinking through art making.


When it was all said and done, I felt extremely grateful to be a part of something to richen the education and community among peers of the same field. To further learn about the brain, creativity and trauma, I feel almost better suited to further pursue my career in Art Therapy.

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