November 1, 2018
We are horrified and deeply saddened by the devastating violence that took place on October 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA. We condemn the anti-semitic acts of violence and grieve the 11 congregants who were killed in their place of worship.
The AATA Stands Firmly in Support of the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Communities in Response to the Administration’s Proposed Definition Change
October 25, 2018
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) firmly rejects a reported proposal by the Trump/Pence Administration to redefine sex in civil rights law to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. The new definition proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services in a memo reported by The New York Times on October 21, 2018, would redefine sex in Title IX of the Civil Rights Act as either male or female, based on a person’s sex organs at birth. The claim that this definition would be “grounded in science” ignores findings of decades of scientific research widely accepted by the medical community.
The AATA and the ACA Issue Joint Response to the Attorney General’s Remarks on Mental Health in Higher Institutions
August 2, 2018
On July 24th the Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed an audience of high schoolers at Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit and accused many higher institutions of “doing everything they can to create a generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes.” In his remarks, he listed therapy dogs, art materials – specifically coloring books and playdough – and art activities, such as encouraging students to “draw about their feelings,” as examples. Read the speech transcript here.
The American Art Therapy Association and the American Counseling Association (ACA) collaborated in writing a formal response, asserting that his “remarks were highly misguided and they further stigmatize young people who seek mental health services and ways to manage stress at a critical transitional time in their lives.”
June 20, 2018
The AATA wishes to respond to the deleterious and traumatic effects that separating children from their parents and caregivers can have on their well-being. Of great concern is the appalling separation of children from their parents as a result of the Trump Administration’s enforcement of the “zero tolerance” policy for families crossing the US-Mexican Border (June, 2018). Even as the separation practice is halted, steps need to be taken to re-unify the children with their families, ameliorate the trauma that has already been inflicted, and prevent future trauma.
June 14, 2018
The AATA joined 10 mental health organizations and over 1,100 mental health professionals in signing a letter in opposition to the new Zero Tolerance policy that was sent to congresspeople on June 12, 2018. The letter cites clinical experience and decades of research on the psychological impact disrupted attachment [parental separation] has on children and asks policy makers to “remember what it feels like to be a child” as they consider the plight of over 700 children who have been separated from their families at the border between October 2017 and April 2018 in what amounts to systematic traumatization of children.
The AATA Supports the Affirmation and Healthy Development Across the Lifespan of Individuals within LGBTQIA Communities
November 2, 2017
As asserted in our Association Values Statement (2017), the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) embraces and affirms individuals within the LGBTQIA spectrums of sexual orientation and gender nonconforming individuals. The AATA supports therapeutic interventions that foster healthy development across the lifespan of LGBTQIA individuals, and equally admonishes treatment purported to cure or curb natural variations of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
AATA Provides Public Comment to the CDC urging the documentation of LGBTQ Tragedies in the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)
October 5, 2017
On September 29, 2017, the AATA responded to a request for public comments (Docket No. CDC-2017-0607) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). In the letter, the AATA emphasizes the critical need for the CDC to implement policies and procedures to require the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data within the NVDRS for all decedents. AATA further points out the disproportionate statistics that affect the LGBTQ community, such as that LGBTQ youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth and are almost five times as likely to have actually attempted suicide. The letter concludes: “One of the primary goals of the NVDRS is to better understand and ultimately prevent the occurrence of violent deaths, and the best mechanism to achieve this is to require that SOGI data be collected. Therefore, the AATA supports the systematic collection of accurate statistical data which would help art therapists to better serve LGBTQ youth and adults and aid in suicide prevention.”
August 3, 2017
At this time, the AATA would like to reiterate its commitment to supporting inclusivity as described in our Values Statement. The American Psychological Association (APA) released a statement last week, citing the substantial negative effects discrimination has on LGBTQIA people and affirming the lack of “scientific evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has had an adverse impact on our military readiness or unit cohesion.” Like our colleagues at the APA and the American Counseling Association (ACA), the AATA stands by our values regarding equal opportunity for all, regardless of gender identity or expression, including those serving in the military.