Implementing Standard Documentation in Group Art Therapy | Update

This fall, Rob Belgrod LCAT, ATR-BC will present his research with Dr. Ian Kwok from Mount Sinai Beth Israel on standard documentation in art therapy at the Canadian Art Therapy Association Annual Conference as well as the American Art Therapy Association Annual Conference. In celebration of his research, we interviewed Rob for a second time (see prior blog post, “Implementing Standard Documentation in Group Art Therapy”) to find out more about the implementation and progression of the research project.

How has the implementation of your research been received by clients?
The research we’re doing really doesn’t affect the clients at all and is more focused on the back end in post-session note writing. I still run my groups like I do normally, it’s just the way that I document them that has changed.

How is your method of documentation affecting the way you conduct group art therapy?

With this new group note, art therapists are able to document what happened in the group by including which interventions are being used and why. This will help inform our art therapist's approach for future group art therapy sessions.

How have other art therapists responded to this new form of documentation?

We have received great feedback from our art therapists! Clinicians are able to better identify what’s happening within the group and how to move forward with treatment.

What are you most excited about this research project?

We are starting to understand the intricacies of the interventions used. Therefore, the note is beginning to help art therapists create a more refined vocabulary, which can better describe what we do as art therapists. In turn, this will encourage better communication between other clinicians who aren’t art therapists such as social workers, mental health counselors, and doctors - essentially those who are less familiar with art therapy. In the end, clients will receive better collaborative treatment as more medical professionals are able to discuss a client’s therapy program.

Has other research been published that complements or deepens this project?
There was an article in a recent issue of the American Art Therapy Association Journal by Lith and Bullock titled Do Art Therapists Use Vernacular? How Art Therapists Communicate Their Scope of Practice, which addressed how art therapists speak about what they do, which is related to what we’re doing. We started this project not knowing if people would be interested in this, and now, to see an article published related to what we are doing, makes our project feel connected to the larger art therapy field.

Rob Belgrod and Dr. Ian Kwok will be presenting their research project at the 40th annual Canadian Art Therapy Association Conference on October 25-27th and, the following week, at the 50th American Art Therapy Association Annual Conference.

Lith, T. V., & Bullock, L. (2018). Do Art Therapists Use Vernacular? How Art Therapists Communicate Their Scope of Practice. Art Therapy,35(4), 176-183. doi:10.1080/07421656.2018.1540961

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