Friday February 28, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST
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SVA Theatre
333 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011

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MPS Art Therapy
SVA MPS Art Therapy
                                                        MPS Art Therapy 29th Annual Conference

Trauma, Art and Social Constructs

Our annual art therapy conference, hosted in conjunction with the Visual Arts Foundation, enhances the education of our students and invites the opportunity for professional networking. 

Through lectures and a panel discussion, this conference will explore trauma through the lens of social constructs. Trauma is experienced, exacerbated or healed in relation to the cultural context in which it occurs. Traumatic imprints, stored in the brain's subcortex and largely divorced from verbal recall, require treatment that focuses on the somatic experiencing of related sensations and affect. Incorporating the impact societal norms and values have on the body and the brain, how can art therapy promote the transformation of embodied symptomatology into symbol and thought?



9:00am-9:30am                    Registration (Continental Breakfast)

9:30am-11:00am                  Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

11:00am-11:15am               Morning Break

11:15am-12:00pm               Special Guest Speaker: Renee Obstfeld

12:00pm-1:30pm                 Lunch Break

1:30pm-3:30pm                   Panel Discussion

3:30pm-4:00pm                   Reception



 To register, please click the registration button located at the bottom of the page.


  • General Public: $75
  • Non-SVA Students: $20
  • SVA MPS Art Therapy Alumni, SVA On-site Supervisors, SVA students, faculty & staff: FREE

Please tell us which of the above you are when you register.

5 CEC’s available for ATR-BCs

All proceeds from the conference will go to the Ray Levine Art Therapy Scholarship Fund of the Visual Arts Foundation.


Registrants may pay at the door by credit card, money order or check. No cash. Registrants may also mail checks. In this case, please make them payable to The School of Visual Arts and mail to:

 Art Therapy Department, School of Visual Arts, 209 East 23 Street, NYC, 10010.




Bessel van der Kolk. M.D.

Bessel A. van der Kolk M.D. has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of posttraumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. His book Psychological Trauma was the first integrative text on the subject, painting the far ranging impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues which need to be addressed for recovery.

Dr. van der Kolk is past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at JRI in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has taught at universities and hospitals across the United States and around the world, including Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, Israel, and China. His latest book, co-edited with Alexander McFarlane and Lars Weisaeth, explores what we have learned in the past twenty years of the re-discovery of the role of trauma in psychiatric illness.


Renee Obstfeld, LP, ATR-BC, LCAT 

Renée Obstfeld, LP, ATR-BC, LCAT, is a licensed psychoanalyst and art therapist. Currently in private practice, Renée has worked extensively with people struggling with eating disorders, problematic substance use, suicidality and other compulsions to self-harm. She has practiced art therapy in psychiatric settings with adolescents and adults, and in substance abuse treatment facilities for people living with AIDS and co-occurring disorders. Her PhD dissertation investigates dissociative processes and vulnerable states in retraumatization. As a consultant with the Art Therapy Outreach Center, she has facilitated art therapy groups for Women Veterans, and Bellevue Hospital’s World Trade Center Clinic and Program for Survivors of Torture. Renée has presented internationally on addiction, trauma and dissociation. She is a faculty member of the art therapy programs at the School of Visual Arts and New York University.



Kylene Kasch, current SVA student, former U.S. Marine

Kylene Kasch enlisted into the United States Marine Corps 29 October 2002 to work within the motor transportation field. Her final duty station was in Camp Pendleton California with 1st Marine Logistics Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (MLG). Kasch deployed with her unit to Al Asad Air Base, in the Al Anbar Province in February of 2006. During that time, she was responsible for the Motor Pool Armory. She was honorably discharged from the USMC in October of 2010. She is currently enrolled at the School of Visual Arts, in the Illustration Department and is expected to graduate in May of 2014. Her current body of work analyzes the consequences of trauma through abstraction and figurative compositions; using photographs taken while in country as the basis for each image. The primary medium for her series is oil, because the viscosity of the medium allows her to express a wide range of emotional subtext freely.

SJ Langer, LCSW-R

SJ Langer is a writer and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City with a BFA from School of Visual Arts and an MSW from New York University. He is on the Executive Committee for the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and the planning committees for the PCGS & the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference. His academic articles explore transgender, bodies, language, trauma and clinical work.

Eileen P. McGann, ATR-BC, LCAT

Eileen McGann works with children, adolescents and their families. Eileen developed the Art Therapy Program at Mercy First where she is now the Director of the Arts and Creative Therapies program. Mercy First is a non-profit organization offering integrated care for children, teenagers and young adults in need; namely those coping with the stress and pressures of poverty, domestic violence, mental illness, and substance abuse. She is currently involved in helping to set up Slovakia’s first Art Therapy program - the main focus of which would be how to provide comprehensive therapeutic care to adults and children. She has authored book chapters in Art Therapy with Older Adults and Racism and Racial Identity. Eileen’s work has been featured in journals such as American Journal of Art Therapy, Arts in Psychotherapy, and Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association.