In this Featured Member series, AATA celebrates the work of our members. During the coronavirus pandemic, we are inviting members to share their experiences about how their professional and personal lives have changed.


November 13, 2020

What has changed in your job during the COVID-19 global crisis?

I am currently working as a research assistant and doing interviews with art therapists from all around the world. We initially decided that we would do face-to-face interviews with people living in Philadelphia area. Due to COVID-19, we have changed our protocol to Zoom interviews only. Luckily, our data collection at this point only includes interviews, so our research process has not been effected severely.

In what ways have your clients been impacted by COVID-19? How are you managing your own stress related to their experiences?

I am still a part of the community center where I worked in Turkey. Due to COVID-19, children’s services had been suspended. Many of the children didn’t have access to art materials to continue art therapy via video calls. When I was in Turkey this summer (between July-September), I arranged a box of art materials to send out to each child. This way, children could continue art making with the support of their families. I also shot instructional videos for children to explain to them how to use the art materials, and suggested a few art projects in those videos. They have used these videos to guide their process, and sent images of their finished art works. I also shot videos for parents where I talked about how they can support their children’s creative process.

“The Embrace” by Asli Arslanbek. Mixed media on paper. 2020.

“This is an artwork I made as a closure to an auto-hermeneutic inquiry. It is about witnessing, familiarizing, understanding, making sense of, and embracing my younger self. The weights that we carry, that are attached to us, are our assumptions about each other. My younger self wonders who I will be as an adult, while my current-self questions who I was as an adolescent. And they meet and embrace each other through an inquiry and art-making that accompanies it.” 

Asli Arslanbek, MA, ATR-P

My name is Asli Arslanbek. I am from Turkey, and I came to the United States as an international student in 2015, to start my studies in art therapy at New York University. I am in my second year in the Art Therapy Ph.D. program at Drexel University, Creative Arts Therapies department. My research interests and clinical experiences revolve around art therapy with forcibly displaced persons, including refugees, asylum seekers, and other people who have fled their home country due to war, famine and fear of prosecution. I have worked with Syrian children and women in Turkey over the past 4 years in a community center, before I started my doctoral studies. In my clinical practice, I engage my clients with a person-centered and strength-based approach to support empowerment.