Hinz, Riccardi, Gotshall & Kin-man Nan

Trusting the truth of sound and silence in personal life and professional practice:  the ethics of self-care

Lisa D. Hinz, Maria Riccardi, Kathy Gotshall, Joshua Kin-man Nan

Ethical codes for therapists around the world admonish members not to allow personal problems to interfere with work (e.g., AATA, 2013; BAAT, 2014).  Positive ethical approaches encourage physical, mental, and spiritual health to support optimal professional functioning (Hinz, 2011).  This presentation introduces the concept of ‘sound and silence’ for balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system arousal and promoting excellent work-life balance.  As educators, it is important that we teach and model effective self-care to encourage students’ equilibrium and growth.

Living in our fast-paced world does not encourage slowing down to care for the self.  Therapists often rush from one activity to another, putting themselves in a constant state of sympathetic nervous system activation.  When tasks mount and deadlines approach, SNS activation can become overload, which erodes health (Hinz, 2018; Malinowski, 2014).  The ‘noise’ of SNS overload can be compensated for by the ‘silence’ of parasympathetic rest.  Expressive therapists have tools that highlight sound or embrace silence for both experiencing and teaching effective self-care (Regev, Chasday, & Snir; 2016).  Workshop participants will explore their personal truths around sound and silence using the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) as a guide to life enrichment (Hinz, 2018).

Research on the unintended harmful consequences of the helping professions demonstrates that therapists can develop conditions such as compassion fatigue that erode their well-being and interfere with effective therapeutic work (Kottler, 2017; Malinowski, 2014; Wicks, 2007).  However, negative syndromes are not inevitable (Figley & Ludick, 2017; Newell, Nelson-Gardell, & MacNeil, 2016; Turgoose & Maddox, 2017).  Art-based self-care practices can be woven into personal lives and academic curriculum, teaching balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic activation.  This workshop will demonstrate how kinesthetic action can be soothed by sensory stimulation; emotion contained by perception, and how the sound of internal dialogue can be silenced by personal and universal symbols.


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Figley, C.R., & Ludick, M. (2017). Secondary traumatization and compassion fatigue. In: Gold, S.N. (Ed.), APA handbook of trauma psychology: Foundations in knowledge (pp. 573-593). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/0000019-029

Hinz, L.D. (2011). Embracing excellence:  A positive approach to ethical decision making.  Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 28(4), 1-4. doi:10.1080/07421656.2011.622693

Hinz, L.D. (2018). Beyond Self-Care for Helping Professionals: The Expressive Therapies Continuum and the Life Enrichment Model. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kottler, J.A. (2017). On being a therapist (5th ed.). London, UK: Oxford University Press.

Malinowski, A.J. (2014). Self-care for the mental health practitioner: The theory, research, and practice of preventing and addressing the occupational hazards of the profession. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Newell, J.M., Nelson-Gardell, D., & MacNeil, G. (2016). Clinician responses to client traumas: A chronological review of constructs and terminology. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 17(3), 306-313. doi:10.1177/1524838015584365

Regev, D., Chasday, H., & Snir, S. (2016). Silence during art therapy—The client's perspective. The Arts In Psychotherapy4869-75. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2016.02.001

The British Association of Art Therapists (2014).  Code of ethics and principles of professional practice for art therapists. London, UK: Author. 



Lisa D. Hinz, Ph.D., ATR is a licensed clinical psychologist and a registered, board-certified art therapist.  After completing her doctorate in clinical psychology Dr. Hinz earned a postdoctoral certificate in art therapy at the University of Louisville where she studied with Drs. Kagin and Lusebrink, the originators of the Expressive Therapies Continuum.  Dr. Hinz is an adjunct professor in the art therapy doctoral program, Notre Dame de Namur University and she is the author of many professional publications.  She is a consultant to the Residential Lifestyle Medicine program at Adventist Health Napa Valley and she has a private practice in art therapy.  Dr. Hinz uses the creative process to allow clients to access their inner wisdom, promote creativity, and facilitate change.  Her third book, Beyond Self-Care for Helping Professionals: The Expressive Therapies Continuum and the Life Enrichment Model was published in 2018 by Routledge.

Recent Publications

Hinz, L.D. (2018).  Beyond Self-Care for Helping Professionals: The Expressive Therapies Continuum and the Life Enrichment Model.  New York:  Routledge.

Hinz, L.D. (2017). The ethics of art therapy: Promoting creativity as a force for positive change. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 34(3), 142-145.

Maria Riccardi M.A., M.Ed., ATR-BC is a registered art therapist, a career counsellor, and a licensed clinical psychotherapist. She is an adjunct professor of art therapy at Concordia University and at l’Université du Québec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. She collaborates with local non-profit organizations and mental health institutions, developing community-based art studio programs for adolescents and adults who are marginalized due to mental and physical health issues, immigration issues, and poverty. She has an expertise with veterans living with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder within the context of trauma intervention as well as in the evaluation of art processes and products during treatment. She has founded a clinic in Montreal based on the Expressive Therapies Continuum, providing educational and emotional support to children and families. Her current research interests include media properties and their role in assessment and the Expressive Therapies Continuum.


Kathy Gotshall, ATR-BC, LCSW is a registered board-certified art therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She is the founder of the distance hybrid graduate art therapy program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Currently, she is an assistant professor teaching graduate art therapy courses in clinical internship, assessment, group dynamics, ethics and spirituality. Her creative expressions include mixed media combined with abstract watercolour.  Kathy is honoured to present with esteemed colleagues Dr. Lisa Hinz, co-founder of the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Master of Arts in Art Therapy program and alumni, Maria Riccardi and Dr. Joshua Nan.


Dr. Joshua Kin-man Nan, owns many years of social work and use of arts experience in working with a wide range of populations, including traumatized children and youth and individuals with mental health issues. He also has extensive experience in providing use of arts training to different healthcare professionals. As an assistant professor and research fellow of the Centre of Youth Research & Practice of Hong Kong Baptist University, his major research areas include investigation of psychophysiological interaction in emotion regulation, integration of clay art therapy with the Expressive Therapies Continuum, efficacies of various art therapy techniques in enhancing behavioural—emotional competence in children and youth, and applying use of arts in life—death education and palliative care.