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Keynote SpeakeR

Dr. Elizabeth Hlavek, DAT, LCPAT, ATR-BC

Elizabeth Hlavek is a clinician, scholar, and art therapy advocate. She has worked in private practice since 2012 specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. Elizabeth spearheaded efforts to develop a clinical art therapy license in her home state of Maryland, and subsequently sat on the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, and later the AATA Board of Directors.

In 2019 Elizabeth completed her doctorate in art therapy. Her research examined artwork made by victims in Nazi captivity which she grounded to existential theory. Her book, A Meaning-Based Approach to Art Therapy: From the Holocaust to Contemporary Practices, details her phenomenological study in which she interviewed surviving artists about their experiences creating artwork. She posited that art-making allowed victims to find meaning in their experience, a concept that informs her clinical work. In addition to frequently lecturing about her research, Elizabeth teaches with the International Institute for Existential Humanistic Psychology.

Keynote Speech: Find meaning Through Art Therapy

Logotherapy, which loosely translates to meaning therapy, is an extension of existential theory that emphasizes an individual’s search for meaning. Viktor Frankl first conceived of logotherapy as a physician in 1926 Vienna. His experiences in Nazi captivity only strengthened his resolve that meaning is paramount to existence. Remarkably, logotherapy is not often featured in art therapy literature, despite the commonality of finding meaning through artistic process. Frankl specifically asserted that meaning can be achieved through creativity, experience, and attitude (1973), all elements of the art therapy process. As art therapists guide their clients through the creative process to communicate their experiences and express themselves in an attempt to find meaning, they are unknowingly working within a logotherapeutic framework.

This keynote address aims to familiarize the art therapy community with logotherapy theory, and demonstrate how logotherapy can be recognized in and integrated into art therapy theory and practice.

Buckeye Art Therapy Association

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