Expired Bringing Interpersonal Dynamics to Life with Visual Art Interventions

We know our clients can get stuck in the ways they’re thinking and talking— repeating stories, gripping tightly to roles and long standing patterns. This brief hands-on workshop will invite participants to discover some creative, activity-based interventions to look at problems from another perspective.

Thoughtfully incorporating art and activities into therapy sessions can be an effective strategy for disrupting cyclical talking or weekly “reporting” by clients. This workshop uses hands-on creative arts activities to demonstrate techniques that can help your clients increase self-awareness and discovery through mindful attention to their thoughts, feelings and the here-and-now experience. Course participants will experiment on themselves with tasks to explore the value of metaphor and distancing for self-discovery; the relational and transactional implications of asking a client to perform a task during a therapy session; and as an invitation to see how more pressing treatment needs might be accessed and addressed when we pivot away from repetitive discussion content. We’ll explore the clinical opportunities in using simple art directives in psychotherapy and family therapy, and develop basic skills for discussing completed artwork with clients using a non-interpretive method of co-constructing meaning.

To get the most out of this training, have art supplies handy: colored pencils, oil pastels, watercolors, or paper.

Learning Objectives:

  • To identify how art making in a session can be used to focus attention on thoughts and feelings and bring the client into the here and now
  • To practice how to leverage the projective aspects of art making as a means to greater self awareness and discovery
  • To learn two important techniques for responsibly discussing client artwork and co-constructing meaning in a client-centered manner that supports treatment goals


Drena Fagen is a co-founder and clinical supervisor for New York Creative Arts Therapists PLLC, a group practice with 18 Licensed Creative Arts Therapists in Williamsburg and Cold Spring NY. She holds a Masters in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute and an MSW from NYU. Drena’s clinical approach with her clients combines art, talk, playfulness, humor, and the requisite and always useful CBT repertoire. She works with high conflict families, survivors of relational abuse, teens and adults with ADHD, and parents with their own childhood trauma. Drena has training in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), TF-CBT, DBT, PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy), and PET (Prolonged Exposure Therapy). She has taught Group Therapy and Creative Arts Therapy for 16 years in the NYU MSW program.

Return to Workshops

  • March 24, 2023
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Drena Fagen, MPS, MSW, LCSW-R, LCAT

3 CE Contact Hours

Location:   Online Event


A link will be emailed to you one day before the event. Online events are held in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

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