October 13, 2023


To our AATA community:  

We are deeply heartbroken by last weekend’s horrifying events, and the ongoing tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza. The stories we are hearing, and images and videos we are seeing, are appalling. Our breathlessness is a sign that we have not lost our humanity. We recognize the complex history in the region and reject all hate and indiscriminate cruelties and violence. Our hope is that we see an end to the distress and suffering soon. 

As you know, there are many members of our art therapy community in the region, and AATA’s National Office and leadership are contacting each of them to offer our support. We will update you as we learn of additional ways to assist our colleagues in the region. 

In the meantime, we hold our families, colleagues, and loved ones in the war zone in our hearts—as well as those experiencing grief and loss here in our own country. As mental health professionals committed to collective health and well-being, we know that connection is crucial as we navigate these uncertain times. 

Please join us on the MyAATA community to share your thoughts, support, and resources. We will also have time during the annual conference in San Diego to offer compassion to each other and create together in the Open Art Studio. 

We recognize how hate and aggression can give rise to anti-Jewish and anti-Arab rhetoric and harmful acts of othering in our own country and around the world. This is where we can come together to embody what we do best; stay curious and caring; and work together to learn, restore, create and support. While we understand that there is a broad distinction between being exposed to trauma and experiencing it second hand, please know you are not alone, and the hearts of our entire community are with you.  

To our colleagues, friends and family in Israel and Palestine as well as our friends around the world: we witness your pain and fear. We are supporting humane responses. 

May our creative capacities help us support each other through this time. 


Very sincerely, 

Girija Kaimal, EdD, MA, ATR-BC
AATA President

Nadia Paredes, MA, LMFT, ATR
AATA President-Elect