Interview with Judith Rubin
By Norio Seki
Art Therapists in Japan
Do you see other Art Therapists from Japan? I remember people got together after the International Conference of Creative Arts Therapies in Tokyo, 2006.
I keep contact with some of them. I invite some of them as lecturers of my organization. But many of them do not work as Art Therapists. They need other titles to find the job.
Good. But that's hard.
It's, yeah, hard, I think. When I came back from America, I found the most difficult obstacle to set up Art Therapy
in Japan is the structure of society. It's very
authoritative and hierarchical in Japan. They don't like accepting something
new coming from outside of the country. But in reality, lots of people are
eager to learn Art Therapy. But academic schools are not inclined to teach Art
Ah, you said you are teaching at an art school.
Yeah, but I’m teaching for classes as part of program of the Healing Art department, the purpose of which is to draw pictures and exhibit them in hospitals or institutions for the purpose of healing. And it's not my base.
Oh well, at least the students are hearing you and maybe some of them will say, “Can we study Art Therapy?” (Laugh)
Yes, indeed, I hope so.
Okay. So, the students of my training course learn a lot through their work. They are fabulous!
It’s very rewarding.
Yeah, I mean, after just a couple of days' work, there were a lot of self expressions
and revealing … It's really surprising.
I'd like to show what happened, but…
Good for you. That means whatever you are doing is working.
Art Therapy in the Next 10 Years
Thank you. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will develop when they finish their training. Okay, so I have one last question. What is the future of Art
both in America and in the world in ten years?
So you have to live ten more years in good shape as a witness! (Laugh)
I think it will continue to grow. I think it will continue to have pressures from other fields because it’s a blend of Art and Psychology. I think the people
Art side and the people on the Psychology side, as they always have, will want
to own Art Therapy, or they will want to say they do it. And because it’s a
blend, Art Therapists will have to define themselves clearly, how similar they
are to or different from an artist who works in a hospital or a Psychologist
who uses drawings. And that's not going to change.
But I think it’s going to continue to grow because it's so effective, so powerful
that people will see what Art Therapists can do. They will say, “Wow!” You
know, we see the difference. The administrators see the difference. So, I don’t
think there will ever be enough Art Therapists in the world to help all the
people who are hurting. And so I hope that we will find ways to work together
with the artists and the other people in mental health.
It’s a big issue right now in counseling in the United States. Counselors want to use art. Psychologists and Social Workers want to use art. Play Therapists
working with a child have to use art. So, we
need to help people do it better, and the same thing with the healing artists.
Well, that’s the challenge. I think it will grow because it’s good and effective. And
the more we can demonstrate our effectiveness, the faster it will grow. But we
have to work with these allies, I think they are allies, and we need to work
more with other Creative Arts Therapists. I don’t know if you agree with that.
I do agree. And in my training program, my approach is almost the same because it is training for clinicians. They consist of Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Daycare Staff, Teachers in Psychology in the Universities, and many others.
Oh, so they already know something about pathology and psychology to add to Art Therapy.
Yes! So, they have their own identity but still want to learn Art Therapy.
Good for you.
And you know something? If one of them becomes an administrator, he might even hire an Art Therapist. (Laugh) Or Music Therapist or Dance Therapist… That
how the field grows. People know more and see the effectiveness either for
themselves or someone they are caring for. That’s when they want to have an Art Therapist.
Um, I'm kind of obliged
to do this because at this time in Japan I have no way to get the identity of
Art Therapy itself.
I hope there will be training.
So we have just scratched the surface for that direction. But we are definitely in need of the academic training course involving master’s program. We are in need of trained Art after 3.11 East Japan Earthquake and following catastrophe, explosion of nuclear plants, two years ago. Those who suffer from PTSD need to be cared for by professionals who not only encourage them to express their feeling through art but also know its pathology, psychic mechanism and what we should not do as well.
The greatest joy is in actually helping somebody who’s hurting. But it’s hard to
find people who are eligible to this role… I mean, even Art Therapy… Last time
I talked to Arthur Robbins, he said, “I’m so happy to be retired.” And I said,
“You are not retired because you still see patients and you do supervision.” He
said, “I mean I am retired from Pratt (Institute). That’s what I’m happy about.”
He started a wonderful program. He said, “I did it, and it was fun to start it,
and it’s standing on its own feet now. And I hated to be an administrator.”
(Laugh) Okay, thank you very much for the long
interview! I hope we can have another interview in ten years and see how Art
Therapy will have cut its way.
Oh, you’re welcome! Okay, in ten years is the deal.
Okay, let’s talk again then. (Laugh) Bye!