Art Therapy has enriched my own art work and provided a healthy balance in my life.
Formally educated in England, I came to the United States with a background in Fine Arts from Cheltenham Ladies’ College and a four year nursing credential from the Nightingale School, St.Thomas’ Hospital, London.
I am frequently asked what made me go into the field of art therapy, and it happened as many things do when I was busy making other plans. I spent twenty years being a full time mother which was extremely important to me and very rewarding.
Then, at a pivotal time in my own life, I attended a lecture by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross on “Death and Dying” in which she talked about the use of drawings to help people express their emotions at difficult and transitional times. I was fascinated by this concept. I saw that it was something that could use both my background as a nurse and as an artist, and I knew intuitively that this was right for me. After the lecture I asked Dr. Ross what it would take for me to pursue this interest in art as therapy, as at that time there very few art therapy schools on the west coast. Knowing my background in art and nursing, she recommended that I consider studying more psychology with Gregg Furth PhD, a Jungian analyst, author of “The Secret World of Drawings”.
I followed her advice and it was at my first workshop on “Understanding Spontaneous Drawings” that I discovered for myself the power of the unconscious expressed through art. In 1995 after years of continued study and clinical experience, I obtained my registration, ATR, with the American Art Therapy Association.
ART as HEALING
Since 1983, I have worked in hospitals, in private practice, and for Childhaven, Seattle where we conducted and published interesting research on pre-school children’s drawings. Throughout all my experiences in art therapy I have seen art as a tool for healing, whether it is the simple experience of being creatively engaged, or through gaining additional insight to the psyche; the connection between mind, body and spirit can be accessed and expressed through art.
This topic is covered in my newly published book about art therapy, called “The Art of the Inner Journey“. It is available through:
Over the years I have written and published several articles on Art & Healing and contributed to “Art Therapy and Healthcare” , a textbook, edited by Cathy Malchiodi PhD, Guilford Press 2013
Now semi-retired, I facilitate weekly art therapy support groups for cancer patients at the University of Washington Medical Center( 1996-2012) and at Skagit Valley Cancer Care Center, Merle Cancer Center, Anacortes; and offer occasional workshops.
Margaret Carpenter Arnett, BSN, ATR, Art Therapist
Art Therapist, University of Washington Medical Center. Living Well with Cancer support group. Supervision of Art Therapy interns, Antioch University program.
Art Therapist, Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Center. Cancer support group.
Art Therapist, Merle Cancer Center, Island Hospital, Anacortes
Art Therapist, Childhaven (day treatment center for CPS referred pre-school children), Seattle, Washington. Staff education and support. Research Children’s drawings (published). Led art therapy sessions for abused and abusive parents.
Instructor, Heritage Institute, Antioch University, Seattle, Washington. One-day workshops and guided independent study on using drawings as a tool for communication in the classroom and counseling.
Art Therapist (Private Practice), Seattle, Washington. Individual therapy. Consultation. Workshop leader (see list). Teaching. Specialty: interpretation of spontaneous drawings.
Art Therapist, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Memorial Hospital, Yakima, Washington. Individual therapy with patients. Staff training. Consult with psychiatrists on individual case histories. Included work with pediatric, pre-natal, cancer and terminally ill patients, and consulting with physicians and staff on patient care.
MARI Art Therapist. Staff support through Dept. of Organizational Health and Wellness, Memorial Hospital, Yakima, utilizing MARI evaluation system. 1995-2003 Private sessions available.
For further information about art therapy visit American Art Therapy Association.
- The Art of the Inner Journey, (2011)
- Understanding Children’s Drawings in Medical Settings,
- Art therapy and HealthCare, Cathy Malchiodi, editor (2013)