US Second Lady Engages Art Therapy Professionals in Argentina

August 15, 2017

Today, U.S. Second Lady Mrs. Karen Pence visited Fundacion INECO in Buenos Aires to engage on current art therapy practices.  INECO founder Dr. Facundo Manes welcomed Mrs. Pence, who later participated in a roundtable with Dr. Alicia Lischinsky, INECO Institute medical director, as well as professionals, educators and practitioners of art therapy to learn more about how the profession is practiced in Argentina and to hear lessons learned and best practices.

Mrs. Pence is a passionate and dedicated advocate and champion for art therapy. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.  Art therapists use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore a person’s feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and additions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. An art therapist must be in an expert in human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.

Mrs. Pence first became aware of art therapy and the benefits of this mental health profession in 2006 when she observed an art therapy program for children with cancer called Tracy’s Kids, which is based in Washington, D.C.  Over the past decade, Mrs. Pence has seen and heard first-hand the impact that art therapy has on those who have benefitted from this unique treatment. From children with cancer, to struggling teens, to grieving families, to soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Mrs. Pence has learned that art therapy is changing lives.

For this reason, as the Second Lady of the United States, she is focusing on this unique profession and therapeutic treatment as her main initiative. By making art therapy her initiative, Mrs. Pence has three goals:

  • To elevate the profession so that people understand that art therapy is a disciplined career that requires a master’s degree, and is not art and crafts;
  • To help people understand that art therapy is an option for various conditions, illnesses and life experiences;
  • To encourage more young people to go into the profession.