Judith Rubin: Art Therapist
Jill Annette Johnson
World Education University
in partial satisfaction of the requirements
for the course
Art Therapy 612
Dr. Penny Orr
February 13, 2015
Judith Rubin: Art Therapist
Author: Jill Annette Johnson
Supervisor: Dr. Penny Orr
Art Therapy is founded on principles that use art as an expressive healing mechanism. Judith Rubin is one Art Therapist who recognized and used these principles in service to people of all ages throughout her career. Ms. Rubins cleared a path for many subsequent Art Therapists by leaving us a plethora of documentation in the form of books, films, and journal articles, and of course a history rich in enhancement of the human condition through art.
I’d like to extend my special thanks to my former art teachers and professors: Ren Holland, Dennis Billig, Leslie Brown, Myrle Sykora, Alice Pantzke, Lars Nilson, Bill Ellingson and Hap Johnson, You are always a part of the choices I make about how I view the world and what I can do with such vision. I’ve learned to: take many gorgeous pictures with my eyes, change perspective when needed, apply theory of color as desired, employ transparency and iridescence often and in moderation, add form to make it matter, draw big so I may also draw small, navigate as I careen down expert mountains to the lush valley and resize, finish the picture with a custom mat and accentuating frame, write my heart right, and to make use of nature’s gifts is a gift to myself. And I cannot forget to include the optometrist who saw into my eyes the importance of a proper prescription and fitted me with the perfect prismatic glasses in trade for some chokecherry jelly. Thank you for sharing your vision & wisdom!
detailed analysis 2
Appendix: List of Abbreviations Links AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS 5
Judith Rubin: Art Therapist
I chose to write about Judith Rubin due to a bit of similarity in our paths. I was raised with the Lutheran faith, worked with the experts of life at a young age (at sixteen I worked as a nurses’ aide in a retirement home) where I would on occasion sing and play guitar for the minuscule chapel services. I learned these people had few outlets for the occupational therapy called crochet, and always suspected I could help such people make art that interested them if given the chance. Art Therapy was a child in the mid 1970’s though, as we will find by looking at the pioneering art therapy work of Judith Rubin. Me as she, worked for a spell as Art Teachers: I was a Lutheran gal in a private Catholic school, she was a progressive type in the same type of conservative suit I wore. I opted to teach multicultural art that included freedom of movement and meditation, and this was not proper form by the book according to administration. Lectures, tests, and sitting still would have been “the proper by the assertive (passive/aggressive) book” of the day. My aim was to be a mentor and not a jailer, so I’d agree with her decision to not use the paddle when the art process is proactive and meaningful to students who are in fact individuals with individual requirements, a fact we still need to come to terms with in the scope of the machinery of education. Neither one of us conformed to the strict educational expectations since it would not make sense to do so in art, a medium that requires freedom of expression. Neither of us found teaching fulfilling in this respect. But to really help people find more happiness and balance through art is something I believe we had in common, and we aim to do so with Art Therapy.
Ms Rubin’s career is a mass of accomplishment in the Art field. An Art major at Wellesley College, Judy earned a Master’s degree in Art at Harvard in 1959 (the year I was born), a Ph at the University of Pittsburgh, and completed training in Adult and Child Analysis at the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute.
Judy’s a past President and Honorary Life Member of the American Art Therapy Association. In 2006 she was nominated for the National Medal in the Arts. As a Licensed Psychologist and a Board-Certified Art Therapist, she has worked with people of every age group and condition. She is a Faculty member of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute.
Rubin discovered that while she did love working with children, she did not fit in well (just as I loved my students and was told when it was time for me to leave my teaching at the private Catholic Institution called high school), things being as they were or maybe still are.
As instructors, she (and I) were charged with disruption because of too much singing, rearranging furniture, declining to use stencils for art or paddles for discipline, and failing to write detailed lesson plans, while showing slides of artwork that were not in the curriculum. The very same things happened to me, except I had to ward off the harassments of the Principal by backing him up against the wall and threatening lawsuit in front of the Physics class. In may case I hear it made an indelible impression on the students. Although she (and I) could see that youngsters benefited from making art, her teaching experiences (and mine), were less satisfying than (we) hoped (Rubin, 2006).
Rubin got her first taste of art therapy at a local Child Study Center nursery where she volunteered as a director of a study of art therapy. I got my first taste at the Boy’s and Girls Club where I volunteered, but had no subsequent opportunity and did not know there was a such thing as art therapy as a job. I am a little older and wiser now, and it’s about time I got my Master’s, so I’m following suit and am moving towards Art Therapy.
Rubin began doing art therapy with hospitalized schizophrenics in 1963 without the background training (just as I had to do as an aide at the nursing home I worked at, and with a few children and adults I’ve known along the way). It’s no surprise though that she would want to find advice about how to work with these people better, so she wanted advice about becoming “real” art therapist. Dr. Rubin found doing art with people rewarding in itself.
It was while working on research that she discovered a number of Margaret Naumburg’s early papers which gave her the guidance she needed to become an Art Therapist.
In 1964, Rubin presented a case to Professor Erik Erikson of Harvard University. Yes, that Erikson, the one we now study in our psychology books. Much to her surprise, Erikson opposed the idea of her obtaining clinical training in psychology.He suggested it might hinder or ruin, the intuitive approach she had been following.
With that advice, she postponed further clinical study fora number of years, (Rubin, 2006)
I was considering clinical research too…..
Pioneers in their fields, art therapist Judy Rubin and drama therapist Ellie Irwin, founded EMI (Expressive Media, Inc.) in 1985. In 1963 Judy initiated a form of art therapy program at (WPIC) Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic. In 1981 Judy and Ellie developed and Co-Chaired the Department of Creative & Expressive Arts Therapies (CEAT) at WPIC. In 1985 they founded EMI, to be able to disseminate films and videotapes about the arts in therapy. Got that? PBS x (WPIC + CEAT )= EMI + AATA= ATR-BC squared.
One of the interesting things about Judy Rubin is the fact that she began her career as the art lady for the TV show “Mr Rogers”. Judy saw the power of the media firsthand with Mr Rogers on PBS. I worked at a few newspapers and publishing companies, we both had that commercial influence. I watched Captain Kangaroo & Mr. Green Jeans. Thanks to Mr. Green Jeans I appreciate Farming, am a Farmer now so I must deal with it.
Inspired by “Looking for Me,” a film by dance therapist Janet Adler, Judy and Ellie made several films which have recently been revised. While writing “Art Therapy: An Introduction”, Judy made a film to illustrate its contents, “Art Therapy Has Many Faces”. This generated a commission with the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) for the film “Beyond Words” which has been re-mastered and is now available on a new DVD, “Art Therapy With Older Adults”. Another film she did was, “You Can Learn a Lot from a Lobster,” which demonstrates an assessment technique for families, “The Family Puppet Interview”. These films demonstrate work with normal adults and children, as well as with autistic youngsters. Both are available in DVD, titled “Dance Therapy and Authentic Movement”.
Her 2010 work included “Creative Healing in Mental Health: Art & Drama in Assessment & Therapy”.
Her current work still includes “Art Therapy Has Many Faces,” which is award-winning and a very popular multilingual film she hopes to disseminate future art therapists. This project was made possible through co-sponsorship by arts therapies organizations in Europe and Asia.
Dr Rubin continually paves the way for future therapists, and has gone worldwide.
She wrote many many journal articles during her career, I mention them briefly but since she did so many I think it’s beyond the scope of the paper to list everything she did. Let’s put it this way, she has energy. She did.
Since 1978, Judith Aron Rubin’s Child Art Therapy Book has become the classic text for conducting art therapy with children. There is now a Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition, which illustrates art therapy approaches to actual therapy settings on dvd, this pioneering guide works to train, inform, and inspire a new generation of art therapists and those seeking to introduce art into their clinical practice. Through her experience, Ms. Rubin has set on film the conditions for creative growth, provides assessments of progress, and goals for therapy that can be used individually, in groups, with those healthy or disabled, no-one is left of of her art therapy. Her techniques exude expression in various formats such as; scribbles, drawings, stories, poems, masks, to name a few.
I looked her up on Linked In and hope to continue this paper by talking with her. Let’s see if two busy women can compare these notes. I hope she can find the time. She appears quite young at heart and happy yet in recent pictures I see of her, and it might take some doing to keep up with that Art Lady.
Dr. Rubin’s story has no conclusion. Instead she opens the horizons for continued use of art therapy. I am glad to have been introduced to the woman who was the “art lady” on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” who made great strides to bring art therapy into a more expressive common use. What can I say? I found a new hero who had many accomplishments, so this thesis turned out to be longer than necessary. Thanks Dr. Rubin!
American Art Therapy Association. (2010) National Conference Program. Sacramento, CA.
Expressive Media Inc. [mission statement]. Retrieved from (http://www.expressivemedia.org/ emi.html) on October 22, 2010.
Rubin, J. A. (2005). Child art therapy (rev. ed.). New York, New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Rubin, J. A. (2006). Judith A. rubin: An ugly duckling finds the swans or how I fell in love with art therapy. In M. B. Junge, & H. Wadeson (Eds.), Architects of art therapy: Memoirs and life stories. (pp. 105–121). Springfield, IL, US: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.
Rubin, J.A. (2010a). [Curriculum vitae]. http://www.expressivemedia.org/pdfs/judycv.pdf
Rubin, J. A. (2010b). Introduction to art therapy: Sources & resources (rev. ed.). New York, New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
List of Abbreviations
EMI: Expressive Media, Inc.
WPIC: Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic
PCGC: Pittsburgh Child Guidance Center
CEAT: Creative & Expressive Arts Therapies
ATR: Registered Art Therapist
ATR-BC: Board Certified Art Therapist
AATA: American Art Therapy Association
PBS: Public Broadcasting Service
List of Accomplishments (Some of them)
Judith Rubin has contributed to the field of art therapy by serving in a number of professional positions as well as writing numerous articles, books, lectures and films.
Rubin became a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) in 1970 as well as a Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) in 1994 (Rubin, 2010a).
She served on the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) board from 1973 to 1979, including as president from 1977 to 1979.
In 1981, she received the award for Honorary Life Member (American Art Therapy Association).
In addition to her writing, Rubin has worked in private practice and has taught at many universities.
She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh where she has been faculty since 1974 and also has served as faculty-by-invitation with the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute since 1983.
She is co-founder and president of a nonprofit educational organization called Expressive Media Inc.
Rubin’s other books include The Art of Art Therapy (1984, rev 2001), Art Therapy: An Introduction (1998), Artful Therapy (2005), and Introduction to Art Therapy: Sources and Resources (2009).
Having started in television in the late sixties with “Mr Rogers Neighborhood” continues to make films.
Her first film in 1972, “We’ll Show You What We’re Gonna Do” documented a therapeutic art program with blind children.
Shortly after, she created “Children and the Arts”,which highlighted the therapeutic value of arts when dealing with children who have been at-risk for problem behavior.
Since then, she has created six other films: “Beyond Words” (art therapy with older adults), “Breakthrough” (artists in analytic therapy), “Art Therapy: A Universal Language for Healing” (art therapy around the world), “Yes You Can” (art therapy for people with disabilities), and “Art Therapy Has Many Faces” (now subtitled in 14 languages).
With Eleanor Irwin, she has produced “The Green Creature Within” (multimodal therapy with adolescents), and “Creative Healing in Mental Health” (art and drama in assessment and therapy).
These reflect her involvement with film as an artistic medium, to educate both the public and professionals about the healing power of the arts, is an actualization of Rubin’s goals as a person and an art therapist.“An ugly duckling finds the swans or how I fell in love with art therapy”, Architects of art therapy: Memoirs and life stories.
Introduction to art therapy: Sources & resources (rev 1974).
Present Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.
1983 Present Faculty-By-Invitation, Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute.
1979 Licensed Psychologist State of Pennsylvania.
Mr Rogers Neighborhood, WQED-TV, Public Broadcasting.
1976 1981 Board of Directors, National Committee*Arts for the Handicapped (Very Special Arts).
June 1977 Invitational Conference on the Healing Role of the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation.
1978 1979 Task Panel on Arts in Therapy, President’s Commission on Mental Health.
2007 Present Advisory Committee, Asia Pacific Art Therapy Center.
1959 Pi Lambda Theta Award, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
1974 Outstanding Teachers in Exceptional Education.
1981 Honorary Life Membership, American Art Therapy Association.
Art therapy in a community mental health center for children:
Expressive & Creative Arts Methods for Trauma Survivors.