Evaluating an Interactive Approach to Learning and Applying Art Therapy Ethical Principles

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Harris-Thompson, Tami A.M.
Tami A.M.
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Ethics go beyond conservative principles for true ideals. Ethics are our assumptions and reasoning about morals. As master’s level art therapy students and professionals we must always be clear about our biases to provide quality mental health care to our clients. Entering the art therapy field as a master’s level graduate may be an overwhelming experience if proper training and guidance of ethical principles are not known or addressed adequately. Because all art therapists will have to deal with ethical issues, there may be a need for alternative ways to study ethics. By enhancing awareness, knowledge and practicing solutions to ethical issues, art therapists will be able to adequately work through ethical dilemmas. This pilot study evaluated the effectiveness of ETHICS: An Art Therapy Game of Truths as an experiential learning tool in teaching and applying the art therapy ethical principles. The efficiency of the game was measured by observation notes and the completion of self-report evaluations provided before and after each research session. The pilot study consisted of both master’s level students and professionals as participants. There were a total of eight participants and three two hour research sessions conducted. Sessions were coordinated on the basis of participant availability. The results of the pilot study concluded that the game, based on self-report evaluations, had increased the participants’ awareness to deal with ethical issues pertaining to the art therapy profession and improved their knowledge of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) code of ethics.