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Building a Research Community

To develop a researcher/practitioner

mentality and partnerships to support and create research protocols based on relevant art therapy theory, diverse populations, and practices.

Action Oriented Goals:
  1. Form a global research task force for clinicians and researchers to identify research gaps, develop mentorships, share ideas, and identify research projects.
  2. ​Increase clinician accessibility to research education, publications, partnerships, and active involvement: Create websites, webinars, etc. 
  3. Conduct a systematic review of current research on clinician populations, art therapy interventions, art therapy assessments, settings to determine equitable and diverse research agenda and practice for art therapy. 

To develop contemporary philosophy (including ontology, epistemology and axiology, and methodology) to guide research, education, and practice decisions relevant to inclusive sustainability, epistemic integrity, and advocacy for art therapy.  

Action Oriented Goals:
  1. Conduct systematic exploration and critical comparison of dominant, and innovative research paradigms, theories,  and practices to develop new and inclusive art therapy related paradigms.
  2. Study the elements of relationality, relational aesthetics, levels of consciousness, symbolism and meaning making, dialogical dynamism, along with traditional worldviews.
  3. Research, write, and publish art therapy worldviews and guides to worldviews connected to research decisions and practice.
  4. Construct research methodology decision trees related to worldviews,  theories, research questions and phenomena.

Art Therapy


Building a
Research Community

To create an international oversight board of interested international art therapy research scholars, partners, and stakeholders 


Training, and


Art Therapy


  1. Develop a networking forum that connects practitioners with researchers to advertise current recruitment, highlight the latest findings in research, assist in grant writing, and develop wide-scale projects. 
  2. Systematically identify, define, and disseminate information about different research, methods, trends, priorities, and ethical considerations that are socially inclusive, equitable, and just. 
  3. Explore and re-evaluate the role of the visual elements arts-based evidence and artistic inquiry in research efforts to advance knowledge in art therapy.
  4. Prioritize teaching research methods at the Masters level and provide opportunities for students to engage in art therapy research during their training. 

To evolve research positionality and methods that honor the art therapy onto-epistemology considerations to develop a substantial knowledge base about how and why art therapy works among different communities and cultures. 

Action Oriented Goals:



Clinical Theory

and Practice

Action Oriented Goals:
  1. Survey art therapy students and faculty as to their knowledge, skills, and challenges in teaching and learning art therapy research. 
  2. Convene educators to develop curriculum and pedagogies that teach research thinking, skills, and instill confidence in conducting art therapy research aligned with a critical art therapy worldview, multiple methods, advocacy, and socially just approaches. 

  3. Establish ethical policies and procedures that increase access/platforms to art therapy research, emphasize art therapy research collaborations/replication, inclusive, and incentives for different forms of arts-based research. 

  4. Include issues related to advocacy for the field and policy development as an essential aspect of research practice and curriculum.

To develop art therapy research education curriculum and pedagogical approaches that employ meaningful, engaging, ways of teaching that are aligned with art therapy research needs while being responsive and accessible to a wide range of art therapy students, clinicians, and researchers.apy.  

Action Oriented Goals:

To identify and evaluate observable,

understandable, decolonialized, and epistemically aligned forms of art therapy relevant evidence.

  1. Conduct a systematic review of forms of evidence - "how we know what we know" without relying on document paradigms and including client perspectives 
  2. Explore standards for evidence outside of the field, poll art therapists, and collaborate with related fields about their experiences and perspectives of evidence. 
  3. Review case studies for subjective experiences, collect image meaning making processes, and feedback of clients and art therapists, and discuss evidence diversity in the context of different groups. 

Diagram by Rachel Harbin Blankenship

Quilting an Art Therapy Research
Strategic Plan 

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