Art Therapy in the Public Schools

Janet Bush, EdD, ATR-BC

Janet Bush, Ed.D., ATR-BC, introduces the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Clinical Art Therapy Program which began in 1977 and currently continues for at risk students in grades Kindergarten through twelve. Bush explains that art therapy in a school setting can offer opportunities to work through obstacles that impede educational success and help students experience a wide-range of benefits including, but not limited to, communication, a decrease in disruptive behaviors, feelings of empowerment and belonging, safety and confidence, improved mood, an increase in coping strategies, and stress reduction. Bush’s highly successful program in Miami-Dade County, began as a pilot program after she recognized the indicators of cognitive and emotional problems that were surfacing in the artwork of many students. It became a catalyst for forging a new frontier in schools, as there were no other art therapy programs that were being offered.  Her tenacity and professionalism convinced the decision-makers that art therapy in school settings was a desirable intervention. Bush emphasizes that every school in the USA has a population of children who can benefit from art therapy but that need is not being met. She goes on to explain that it will take art therapists to create a need for their services through education, marketing, and promotion. School art therapists will have to identify their role; select appropriate functions; plan programs of services for students, parents, teachers, and school administrators; strengthen their professional development; aggressively pursue action; and continually evaluate their effectiveness in the educational environment.

Commentary by Janet Bush, EdD, ATR-BC

Total Running Time: 1 hour, 45 seconds



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