Best Practices in Culturally Competent Art Based Assessment 01/30/16


Colored Pencils by George Hodan

Many clinicians utilize art and image based means for both formal and informal assessment.  Visual language transcends the barriers of spoken language, which helps explain the popularity of artmaking in the evaluation of children.  But regardless of age, client populations that differ from the demographics of the therapist can also be well-served through art based assessment—provided that the therapist has developed awareness of factors that may skew art based assessment results and thus yield erroneous diagnostic impressions and treatment recommendations.


This workshop will unveil those factors through experiential and didactic means, encouraging clinicians to problem-solve their way toward reflective competence in the application of art based assessment with clients from diverse backgrounds.  Best practices will be identified as participants grapple with issues such as equivalency and bias, and special emphasis will be placed on attuning to the implicit content of images to bypass verbal barriers.  Implicit content is communicated through the building blocks of visual language, known among artists as the formal elements.  These perceptual cues contain affective clues and thus give rise to the universality of art as a vehicle of communication.  Participants will be introduced to relevant aspects of the Expressive Therapies Continuum, a developmentally integrative assessment and treatment model from the world of art therapy, and discover how the formal elements of an image may contribute toward an understanding of a client’s physical, emotional, and intellectual functioning despite cultural differences between therapist and client.



Participants will be able to

  • identify at least five best practices in culturally competent assessment that are specific to the use of art as a means of deriving information.
  • name at least five formal elements, rehearse attuning to their varied characteristics, and practice classifying this implicit information according to the Expressive Therapies Continuum.
  • pinpoint the single-most  important action they can take to reduce therapist error and increase reflective competence when using art based assessment with clients from diverse backgrounds.


Date: Saturday, January 30, 2016

Time: 1:00-3:00 pm

Location: Arc of the Arts Studio & Gallery / 4902 Grover Ave. / Austin, TX 78756

CEUs: 2.0 for TX counselors, marriage/family therapists, and social workers

Investment: $55* includes all materials; space is limited—register by January 23 to ensure your spot

*Do you have more time than money?  I’m looking for an assistant to help me with set up & clean up in exchange for a reduced investment.  Contact me for details!


Bring your business cards!  My goal for all workshops is the sharing of knowledge and experience in a safe and supportive atmosphere, so please be prepared to be a co-creator of such an environment.  Thanks!

CEU Information

ABCs for Therapists is an approved provider of continuing education for:

  • The Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #522
  • The Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, provider # 1380
  • The Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners, provider #5825

Please note that ABCs for Therapists does not assume liability for your clothing or jewelry.  Aprons/smocks will be provided for your convenience, but it is your responsibility to dress accordingly when working with art materials.  Thank you!

Drop files to upload

cancellations received on or before 01/20:

Your workshop fee will be fully refunded, or you may donate your spot to someone else if you’d like.


cancellations received 01/21-01/25:

Your workshop fee will be 50% refunded, or you may donate your spot to someone else if you’d like.


cancellations received 01/26-01/30:

Your workshop fee will not be refunded, but you may donate your spot to someone else if you’d like.

Drop files to upload

Standards of competent practice in art therapy require a graduate education in art therapy as well as supervised training in art therapy.  Attendees who lack these won't develop the knowledge and skills for competent art therapy practice, but they will enhance their understanding of the use of art in assessment and treatment.

Drop files to upload

About the Image on This Page

Colored Pencils was released into the public domain by its creator, George Hodan. Click here for more information.