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Connecting in New Ways: Art Therapy Trainees’ Experiences of Telehealth During COVID-19

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Publication on Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Therapy Association

Published online: 22 Feb 2022


In March 2020, The Helen B. Landgarten Art Therapy Clinic [HBL ATC] transitioned to art therapy telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article presents a qualitative case study focused on emergent themes related to the efficacy and clinical themes as experienced and observed by a group of art therapy graduate student trainees. Findings show that art therapy trainees experienced art therapy telehealth to create opportunities for more diverse populations to access mental health services, provided safe spaces to promote self-expression, created a sense of hope and purpose, and increased connectedness during a crisis.

[...] Telehealth harnesses telecommunications technologies and allows access to healthcare services from a distance. This approach can be favorable to both providers and participants, especially during a pandemic.



For the purposes of this article, researchers focused on the unique experiences of art therapy trainees in their first and second years of a master’s art therapy program after the forced transition to art therapy telehealth services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main themes found through analysis of data gained from survey and focus group responses align with previous research that indicates art therapy services have provided altruistic meaning to emotional experiences during social crises (Mohr, 2014), prompted opportunities for social connection (Brolles et al., 2017; Gonzalez-Dolginko, 2002; Howie, 2002; Mohr, 2014; Potash et al., 2020; Testa & McCarthy, 2004); and increased community building toward social change (Berberian, 2003; Landgarten, 1978; Slayton, 2012).

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