May 7, 2024

The American Art Therapy Association represents a diversity of professionals, students, and organizations across the nation. We recognize and celebrate the work of our members at all levels through our Featured Member series.

What are you most excited about in your career as an art therapist?

As a graduate student, I’m excited to blend various theories to shape my own path towards healing and creating an environment that truly reflects my identity, now melded with my aspirations as a future art therapist. I’m eager to explore new creative spaces that transcend cultural boundaries, making room for people from all backgrounds in diverse settings.

A key focus for me is addressing the lack of multicultural representation in the field, ensuring that everyone who needs art therapy can access it. This means actively investing resources and efforts into communities that have been historically underserved or marginalized.

Inspired by the work of esteemed scholars, I’m dedicated to pushing the boundaries of art therapy, opening up new possibilities for its impact. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have and determined to use them to make a real difference, advocating for inclusivity and diversity in the field.


How have race, diversity, and/or social justice impacted your work as an art therapy student

As a Black woman in a predominantly white profession, I understand how crucial it is to prioritize diversity and inclusion as I engage in my art therapy studies. This awareness has instilled within me a profound sense of duty to advocate for and foster environments that resonate with individuals who have faced adversities.
Drawing from my experiences in undergraduate studies, where I actively engaged in social justice and advocacy, I’ve come to appreciate the transformative power of community. This understanding has become an integral part of my identity and informs every aspect of my work.
I recognize that my unique perspective offers valuable insights into the intersections of race, diversity, and social justice within the field of art therapy. It compels me to challenge existing norms and structures, advocating for spaces that honor and celebrate diverse voices and experiences.  
Through my journey as an art therapy student, I am committed to leveraging my position to effect meaningful change, both within the profession and in the communities I serve. I believe that by amplifying marginalized voices, promoting inclusivity, and emphasizing the importance of obtaining cultural competencies we can create more equitable and empowering spaces for all individuals to thrive, heal, and learn through art.

For those considering a career in art therapy, I encourage you not to allow perceived limitations to hinder your journey toward realizing your potential and finding belonging, both in the field and in life. Your voice holds significance, and your distinctive perspective has the power to enact positive change. Embrace opportunities to venture beyond your comfort zone, entering spaces that must adjust to accommodate your presence.”

— Dejah Chapple

Has working with a particular client group shaped your professional focus or specialty? 

I have had the opportunity to work with various ages and populations through my work and internships. My most valuable experience has come from working directly with a community-based group home for boys aged 13-17 who are facing adversities, particularly those who have committed delinquent offenses or have been labeled as children in need of supervision. Engaging with these youth allowed me to see beyond the stigmas and stereotypes associated with their situations. It reinforced my commitment to advocacy and ensuring that every individual I work with has a voice that deserves to be heard, regardless of their circumstances. This experience highlighted the importance of approaching their challenges with sensitivity and understanding, as our actions can inadvertently perpetuate societal biases. Consequently, my professional focus is centered on working with marginalized and low-income communities, empowering them through their own creativity and voices to shape their futures and overcome obstacles.


What are your hopes for the future of the art therapy profession?

Overall, my hope is for the art therapy profession to continue evolving into a more diverse, inclusive, and socially conscious field, where art therapists and aspiring art therapists are empowered to make meaningful contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities around the world.


How did you get involved with AATA and what keeps you excited about the AATA community?

While I’m not currently an elected leader or volunteer with AATA, I am engaged with the organization through an internship opportunity. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have a platform where my perspectives as an art therapy graduate student are valued, allowing me to advocate for fellow students and contribute to the broader conversation within the field. I highly encourage students to take advantage of the enriching experiences offered by AATA, such as attending conferences, and to actively engage with the AATA community. These opportunities not only provide valuable learning and networking opportunities but also foster a sense of belonging and support within the art therapy community.


Diptych – Untitled
Acrylic Paint
Artist Statement: Within my diptych, my intention was to capture the essence of the ambitious spirit within black women. Through these paintings, I sought to convey the emotions and dreams they hold for their future selves. Each brushstroke was guided by the desire to encapsulate that pivotal moment of envisioning and aspiration. As a black woman artist, it was important for me to offer my perspective on this experience and to honor the resilience and strength embodied by black women.

About Dejah Chapple, AATA Intern and Art Therapy Graduate Student 

Dejah Chapple, an Artist and Mental Health Advocate holds a bachelor’s degree in Art & Visual Culture, specializing in Studio Art, and a minor in Digital Marketing. Dejah’s passion lies in serving her community and others through various avenues, including volunteer work, graduate studies, internships, and professional healthcare settings. Through these experiences, she has begun to establish a therapeutic reputation, merging her love for art with her academic pursuits.

Dejah’s artwork centers around showcasing the emotional connections within the Black experience, exploring themes of love, family, identity, and the essence of shared experiences through a narrative approach.


You can find Dejah on Instagram @dejahchapple or LinkedIn here