It was a historical day for the art therapy and counseling faculty and students! It was the first time for us to present together at the All Ohio Counselors Conference in Columbus, Ohio. This took place on November 7, 2013. Presenters included two current ATC graduate students, Claire Whiteman, Mary Cassidy, and ATC alumni Steve Macek, M.A., an art therapist and professional counselor at University Hospital of Cleveland. Also presenting were ATC faculty Katherine Jackson, Ph.D. and myself (DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D)–along with Jonathan Appel, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Tiffin University (TU) and TU student Erin Snapp.
Our joint research team presented empirical results of a year-long research project that has been investigating links between creativity and mental health. The title of the presentation was “The Relationship Between Measures of Creativity and Mental Health Measures.”
The aim of the study presented was to determine the extent to which multidimensional mental health measures predict measures of creativity as assessed by a measure of creative personality and an inventory of creative behaviors. The study also examined the interrelationships between mental health, personality measures, demographic variables, and measures of creativity. The research found that overall better mental health (emotional stability and low psychoticism, low autistic tendencies) appears associated with creative personality, but increased levels of anxiety, obsessive compulsive and somatization were associated with actual creative activity. Another major finding of the study was that there was a strong association between the mental health symptom measure of somatization and creativity across measures of creativity. Implications of this research for counseling and psychotherapy were also discussed at the presentation. The research strongly suggested that expressive therapies can and should be integrated within a clinical counseling practice. The research team is currently preparing the research for publication.
I appreciated Gail Rule-Hoffman’s (ATC program director) supportive attendance and her leadership throughout the conference.
DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D.is Associate Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.