Ephrat Huss

Prof. Ephrat Huss is a supervising level art therapist and senior professor, who chairs an MA in Art Therapy for Social workers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. She has published over 90 articles and six books on arts therapy, social and community arts therapy, and arts based research. She has also received competitive grants in this field and provided webinars and plenaries on the connection between art therapy and social theories.

Abstract of presentation: USING ARTS TO BREATH HOPE INTO COMMUNITIES IN TIMES OF LONG-TERM STRESS

Our communities have been severely challenged of late, with long term reverberations of refugee crises, corona-virus, climate change, and war: It feels that there is no time to catch our breath from behind our masks: These crises are experienced as life threatening, traumatic or stressful, but they affect whole communities, both clients and art therapist, and will do for a long time:We often talk about arts as able to create a new type of “space” within which we can breathe and communicate differently. How can our profession provide this “air” for our communities who so desperately need it? While there is much literature on art therapy in contexts of trauma and short term disaster, there is less literature on the connection between art therapy and community or social theories that address long term reverberating community crises. This demand working in new and shifting realities, working with interactive and shared reality stressors, and adjusting the aims settings and populations of our work, thus re-questioning the parameters of the profession. These adjustments can be overwhelming, leading to a sense of lack of professional efficacy. However it can also be a chance for us to expand our breath, to expand our professional knowledge: Art therapists can experience heightened intimacy and immediacy in the therapeutic alliance, and become an integral healing part of their communities. Over these years, art therapy has indeed risen to this challenge; This lecture will outline the theories, skills-sets, and developments that arts therapy has acquired “from the ground” and explore ways to continue being a “ breath of fresh air” to their communities in crises.