International Art Therapy Research Collaborative

Are you interested in developing an art therapy research project? Have you already collected data for an art therapy research project and would like to enhance your findings through collaboration with other IATO members? Do you have a research protocol that others can use to replicate your study and add to the current data? Contact IATO if you would like to post a research project on this site for guidelines on how to summarize your project.

International Researchers...It's Time to Get "LinkedIn!"

Join the international art therapy research dialogue via the International Art Therapy Research Collaborative on LinkedIn; participate in our interactive discussion boards, submit news and links to information, and receive updates from your colleagues. Hosted by Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPAT, LPCC, this group is part of the Art Therapy Alliance on LinkedIn. And it's free to join!

SlideShare Presentation on International Art Therapy Research

Enjoy this overview of international art therapy research collaboration by Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPAT, LPCC. Covers challenges and issues of art therapy research when crossing borders, including ethics and best practices. It provides a general introduction to the International Art Therapy Research Collaborative and International Art Therapy Organization. It also calls for art therapy journals to introduce more outside evaluation of art therapy research and less exclusive peer review processes to encourage valid evidence-based research in the field. Note: To see film "Art Therapy: One World, Many Visions," that was included in this presentation, please click here.


INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR RESEARCH IN ARTS THERAPIES ART, DANCE, DRAMA AND MUSIC THERAPY: Department of Psychological Medicine, Division of Neuroscience and Mental HealthImperial College, London.

Art therapy colleague Dr. Diane Waller, Emeritus Professor of Art Psychotherapy Goldsmiths, University of London and Honorary Visiting Professor, Dept. of Psychological Medicine, Imperial College London, is delighted to announce the formation of a research centre which will co-ordinate multidisciplinary research in the arts and arts therapies, psychotherapy, and mental health. The Centre (ICRA) aims to act as a facilitator for improving the evidence base in arts therapies in particular.  Its location within a Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health will be of particular value to new proposed research that will examine the effects of arts therapies for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders as well as for conditions that impact on mental health and well-being.

To learn more about this international research initiative, you can download an Executive Summary here.


Researchers talk about the new International Centre for Research in Arts Therapies


Learn More About Collaborative Art Therapy Research Possibilities Here...and let us know if you have a project to add to the list.

Art Therapy and Childhood Asthma

Does drawing help children express their experiences of asthma better than words alone? Do children with asthma benefit from art therapy? Does art therapy reduce children's worries and other troubling feelings while they are at the hospital? This study examines how three simple drawing activities affect children. Here is a description of the research project from the priniciple investigator, Aslihan Ozcan, MA, LPCA, Fellow at Norton Healthcare, Louisville, KY, USA:

"I am currently working on exploring the effectiveness of art therapy interventions with pediatric asthma patients. The research is taking some time, but is coming along. Children's drawing tell a lot about their perceptions of their illness. I do believe that art therapy should be integrated to the medical teams. I am looking forward to share my findings and to learn about other's work." For more information please contact the investigator here.

Children's Drawings and Cultural Differences

Under the supervision of Dr. Simone Alter-Muri A.T.R.-BC, L.M.H.C., the art therapy and art education program at Springfield College, Massachusetts, USA has begun to collect children’s artwork from all over the world.  Springfield College is creating an archive of “normal” and “typical” drawings from children between the ages of 6 and 11.  This library will be utilized for various purposes, such as assessment among age, gender, diversity, and creating multicultural awareness.  The artwork will be examined in terms of existing theories on art development and gender studies.  This collection will provide a resource to art therapists, professors, students, teachers, and those in the related art and mental health fields.

Children are asked to create a drawing of a person or persons in an environment.  This study hopes to determine whether graphic indicators can reveal similarities or differences between the drawings of boys and girls internationally.  The study will also investigate if graphic indicators are culturally endemic; whether the drawings created by girls and boys contain such graphic indicators as repeating symbols, line qualities, placement patterns and elements of design (line, shape, color, balance, etc.).  This will add to research on whether a normative or “typical” style of art development is cross-culturally evident.  Establishing an international collection of children’s artwork will increase the reliability of this work.  Individuals wanting additional information and to receive procedures, methodology and consent forms please contact Dr Simone Alter Muri at [email protected]!


The LECATA  consists of 5 drawing tasks: a free drawing and a story; a picture of yourself as you are now; a scribble and something made from the scribble; a place you would like to be (ages 3-5 years); a place that is important (ages 6yrs andup); a drawing of your family. Theoretical constructs are based primarily on Piaget for cognitive development, Kellogg and Lowenfeld for artistic development, and Anna Freud for emotional development based on her hierarchal scale of defense mechanisms of the ego. Tables identifying these developmental milestones and criteria for identifying defense mechanisms of the ego in drawings are included and discussed in the text, Levick Emotional and Cognitive Art Therapy Assessment: A Normative Study. The text is available from AuthorHouse and

Download an executive summary of the LECATA here for description of this study and contact information about the principle investigator. An appended Administrative Manual includes the specific script for presenting each task to the testee; specific art materials (12x18 white drawing paper and a box of 16 craypas); and score sheets for each task.

PTSD drawing

Children's Human Figure Drawings and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPAT, LPCC, National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children/Starr Commonwealth

Participate in a study of human figure drawings to determine if children are at risk for PTSD or other trauma reactions. You will be using two measures in this assessment. The first is the Human Figure Drawing (HFD), a drawing commonly requested by art therapists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. The second measure is a widely used paper and pencil PTSD reaction index for children. Before you collect data for this research project, you will need to be able to complete four items:

• Obtain permission from the site at which you will see child clients to collect drawings and assessment information.

• Obtain a signed consent from a parent or guardian (you will be provided with an approved form).

• Obtain a signed child assent form from the child participant (you will be provided with an approved form).

• Obtain basic demographics information (gender, age, ethnicity) for each child participant (you will be provided with an approved form).

If you choose to participate, you may collect as many drawings and index results as you can; anywhere from 5 to 10 samples would be optimal, but more are welcome. Each assessment takes about 15 minutes, depending on the child. Trauma specialists who participate will be cited for their contributions to the research in subsequent publications. Graduate students are encouraged to participate and use this protocol for your thesis or culminating project for your degree, with permission of your academic advisors. For information on protocol and the PTSD measurement instrument, please contact the principle investigator.



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