Arts and Unspeakable Topics: Creative Arts Therapy Conference Breaks The Silence

Jenni Rook
Updated 2/6/2020 8:22 AM

EVANSTON, IL, February 5, 2020 -- Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA), an Evanston-based nonprofit clinic, invites all to attend their 5th Annual conference on March 20-21, 2020, during National Creative Arts Therapy Week. The City of Evanston will designate Creative Arts Therapy Day on March 20, 2020. ITA has been providing creative arts therapy for 45 years and is one of the few organizations in the country to offer art, dance/movement, drama and music therapy.

Though the creative arts therapies have been established professions since the 1950s, they are still relatively unknown. "Sometimes thoughts and feelings are too painful to put into words, and not everyone expresses themselves verbally. The creative arts therapies can help people improve emotional, physical and cognitive health by using the arts to communicate and to learn skills that will help people better navigate through life's challenges," says ITA Executive Director, Jenni Rook.


"The creative arts therapies are incredibly important, and we need to make sure more people know they are available through the work of ITA and others in the community. Therapy is not one-size-fits-all and everyone's path to healing is unique. For many people, creative arts therapies can be the answer, and in some instances, lifesaving. I'm honored to have this event hosted in Evanston and am proud to declare March 20, 2020 Creative Arts Therapy Day," says Evanston Mayor Steven Hagerty.

ITA's conference is drawing attention to topics many shy away from, including sex, aging, religion, and racial biases under the theme Expressing the Unspeakable: Bringing Taboos to the Surface. Program highlights include: Britton Williams, a New York City-based drama therapist delivering the Keynote "Playing with Monsters: Confronting our Shadow Selves"; "Let's Talk About Sex," a panel discussion between clinicians and sex educators; and two closed affinity groups for people of color and LGBTQ+.

"We are honored to be able to provide a space for rich discussion and training through the lens of the creative arts therapies," says Rook. "Creative arts therapists provide a unique opportunity for experiential learning, and this conference is full of music, visual art, movement and dramatic play. The program for this event is by far our best yet, and I'm looking forward to bringing together a wide variety of practitioners who can learn so much from each other."

ITA expects more than 200 attendees from all over the world. "We were thrilled to receive an overwhelming amount of submissions for this conference with such a wide diversity of topics," says Dr. Marni Rosen, ITA Practice Director and conference co-chair. "This tells us how important it is to make space to talk about these sensitive subjects and how ready creative arts therapists are to explore how the creative arts therapies can be used to help manage the impact of living with oppression and stigma."

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The conference is open to the public with paid registration. Counselors, social workers and clinical psychologists can receive continuing education units (CEU). New this year, ITA is expanding their CEU offerings to registered nurses, licensed nursing home administrators, physical therapists, registered dietitians, and occupational therapists.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit or email



The Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is one of the few comprehensive community-based programs in the United States to offer four creative arts treatment modalities -- Music Therapy, Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, and Dance/Movement Therapy. ITA has served nearly 70,000 individuals over the course of its 45-year history.

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