May 16, 2019

Annie McFarland, MS is an art therapist, educator, and artist from Farmington Hills, MI.  She earned her MS in art therapy from Florida State University (FSU) in 2013 and is now a doctoral candidate also at FSU.  Her dissertation research focuses on the use of papermaking with veterans to address trauma, PTSD, and veteran to civilian readjustment.  Recently hired as an assistant professor of art education and visual arts therapy at West Virginia University (WVU), McFarland is excited to continue teaching and researching papermaking in art therapy.  Her long-term goals at WVU include enhancing the art education curriculum and eventually developing an accredited art therapy program.

McFarland has worked in a variety of settings, including: hospice care, inpatient psychiatric facilities, pediatric rehabilitation, memory care/dementia facilities, and various veteran settings.  “Art therapy allows people to break down barriers and connect with their inner self in a more fluid and creative way,” explains McFarland.  “It allows people to explore things that they haven’t been able to access before.  In this way, it helps with healing and rebuilding after trauma, loss, and recovery.”  In addition to her clinical work, she has also done research in art education and worked with art educators to help develop meaningful and culturally responsive teaching practices.

 “Untitled” By Annie McFarland.  Alcohol ink and metallic pen.  2018.

The annual conference is where McFarland feels the most connected to the art therapy community.  “It’s great to see what other professionals are doing, and I enjoy the different idea sharing that happens there.  I’m looking forward to the 50th anniversary celebration at the next conference!”