[Self-Study] Exploring Art Therapy Groups Among African American Black Women from Research to Program Implementation.

About the Event

Women, and African American/Black women in particular, are experiencing mental health problems at alarming rates. But compared to their white counterparts, African American/Black women are only half as likely to seek help. As the African American/Black community continues to struggle with overcoming the stigma around mental health care, art therapy can be a more welcoming option. Art therapy does not carry some of the same stigmas that talk therapy does. Furthermore, art-making encourages self-exploration and self-expression in ways that may feel less intrusive or judgmental.

This session will focus on the development and implementation of an art therapy program designed to support the mental health and wellness of African American/Black women. Michelle "Starr" Starling will explore cultural challenges, barriers to seeking mental health care, and usage disparities among African American/Black women associated with mental health services. Attendees will be guided through the results of a Thematic Content Analysis of four emergent themes and engage in a culturally enriched art task.

Registration Information

Registration fees are $52 for AATA members and $82 for non-members. Attendees receive 2 CE credits.

Michelle "Starr" Starling


Founder of Supportive Optimistic Sisterhood (S.O.S)

Michelle “Starr” Starling is a self-taught painter and mixed-media/ mosaic artist from Cleveland, Ohio. Starr is the founder of Supportive Optimistic Sisterhood (S.O.S), which is an art therapy and wellness group designed to introduce African American Women to the healing benefits of art therapy. Starr was selected as the first recipient of the Mickie McGraw Fellowship Towards Diversity in Art Therapy at Art Therapy Studio. During this Fellowship, she assisted in negotiations with the local school district and facilitated art therapy groups with inner-city students. Starr worked as a Behavioral Health Specialist and counselor within a community-based agency.

Starr completed her Masters in Counseling and Art Therapy (LPC-ATR-P) from Ursuline College, where she was awarded the St. Hildegard of Bingen: Excellence in Therapeutic Creativity Award. Starr worked as a teacher within the Cleveland Metropolitan School district for over 15 years and holds a Master’s degree in Education (M. Ed) from John Carroll University. Starr earned her B.A. in Political Science/Pre-Law from Wilberforce University (HBCU).

Starr utilizes her artistic abilities to help reduce the cultural stigma associated with mental health services within her community. Starr’s long-term goal is to assist in supporting the emotional needs of African American women by providing access to art therapy/ therapeutic art services within traditional and nontraditional settings across the city of Cleveland.


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Up to 2.00 credits available  |  Certificate available
Up to 2.00 credits available  |  Certificate available