In response to the Newtown tragedy, a longstanding affiliate chapter of the American Art Therapy Association has been reinvigorated in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Art Therapy Association will operate under an executive board of directors led by its president, Mary Pellicci Hamilton, an art psychotherapist of Darien, and Vice President Catherine Horan, a psychotherapist of Greenwich.

The executive board also includes Margaret McGovern, recording secretary; Lisa Donohue-Olivieri, treasurer; and Abigail Tischler, chapter delegate. Debby Tendler of Sandy Hook will serve as chairman of the CATA Newtown Recovery Committee. Cathy Malchiodi, a leader in the art therapy profession, will serve as an ex-officio CATA board member.

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In addition to projects to strengthen the profession of art therapy, the Connecticut chapter will develop and manage trauma-related art therapy programming initiatives to those in need of services.

"We recognize as a profession, the healing benefits of this modality, especially with children," said Hamilton. As a child therapist, she believes that "art is a way for children to make sense of their chaotic worlds during the midst of crisis. Since children are naturally attracted to creating art and telling a story through their drawings, art therapy provides children with a natural therapeutic method of self-expression to aid healing."

Malchiodi added, "It is so important that anyone who has experienced trauma-related or grief reactions to the events last December remember that a credentialed art therapist can be helpful in the short and long term. Art therapy is a recognized approach to helping people of all ages in their recovery from trauma, especially for children and their families."

The CATA's mission is to establish statewide recognition of the art therapy profession through community outreach, education, public awareness and disaster recovery efforts. The CATA will foster and develop expansion opportunities for the art therapy profession and its members through shared goals and initiatives bringing value to our community and to our profession.

The future vision will explore and create new platforms through education, research, legislative initiatives and wellness. Through research study and practice advancement, the CATA will explore and develop innovative methods and interventions to bring about evidenced-based assessment and healing. Through regional network gatherings and peer support groups, it will encourage the need and importance for its members to invest in their own self-care and wellness practices as helping professionals.

For information, call 203-400-6204, ext. 3, or visit www.ArtforTherapy.org.