Please note the Preconference sessions take place on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Preconference registration is separate from Conference registration and requires an additional fee. **Seating is limited.** Please take note of early-bird rates and deadline on our Registration page.

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The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and Ottawa University proudly welcome 2020 Preconference speaker, Dr. Arnell Etherington Reader.

Etherington PreConf b&w

Arnell Etherington Reader, Ph.D., MFT, ATR-B.C. is Professor Emeritus at the Graduate Art Therapy Psychology Department, Notre Dame de Namur University in California lecturing for 28 years.  She continues teaching NDNU’s International Art Therapy class in the UK, Art Therapy Ph.D. and Masters classes.  Having moved to the UK eight years ago, she now lectures at Art Therapy Northern Programme, has a small private practice in Wokingham, and offers Living Art week-long painting workshops. She is a licensed art psychotherapist and clinical psychologist in both the US and UK.

Bio courtesy of ECArTE

Following an Ancestral Buzz: Evolving with the Grandmother Spirit and the Queen Bee, Goddess

In the spirit of the Grandmother we can celebrate our interconnectivity of community awareness and personal power as found in the creative actions of doll making. Our grandmothers hold the stories of our families’ past. The grandmother and the Queen Bee Goddess doll, each allow for interaction with inner representations of the global communities of family. (Gerity, 1999) The family is a conduit to assimilate more deeply the patient’s own inner matrilineage as it assists us in the work with them. Image-making in the format of using inter-generational photos, sharing informational stories, gossip, or tales – celebrates and validates our ancestral memory.

Visual images of the grandmother dolls further enhance these portrayals that can then be integrated into ourselves. “The unrealized dreams of our maternal ancestors are part of our heritage….” (Northrup, 2005, p. 4-5). As such, they may often contain an unexplored rich sweetness.

Through stories and tales of our literal and spiritual foremothers “We each create our own personal experience-interpretation of reality, our own unique universes” (Hastings, 2003, p. 6). When this is made visible through a doll, the historical exploration may allow patients to discover new paths to the future. The patient may then decide whether or not the doll represents a particular path they wish to embrace.

In doll-making when we give our patients “ …permission to play, non-serious self-discovery, playing with others” we are giving them a way of creating, a method of play, to which we all long to return. “The ability to play at will lies at the root of all creativity” (Hastings, 2003, p. 15).

“…(Grand)Mother stories have to be told over and over,” writes Kim Chernin in The Woman Who Gave Birth to Her Mother. “Repetition is part of their nature. They have come into existence because, like a Chinese box or a Russian doll, they contain secret drawers, dolls within dolls, stories within stories in a sequence that must be explored, until the heart of the matter, the smallest doll, the innermost drawer of the meaning has been reached” (Chernin as found in Hastings, 2003, p. 55). The therapist may wish to return to these unopened ‘drawers’ creating other dolls in order to continue the personal historical exploration for the patient.

To further our explorations, participants will have the opportunity to make a Queen Bee Goddess doll. The Bee, a symbol of harmony, teamwork and open communication, evolves our visions of what we can transform in our lives. “Priestesses of the Goddess were called malissae, bees” (Walker, 1988, p.414). The Goddess Aphrodite and her bees oversaw marriage rituals and ‘honeymoons’. The Goddess herself was titled ‘Mellissa,’ the queen bee.

The Queen, per se, is mistress of her estate and a benevolent ruler. She manages power over those she rules with love, care, and devotion. (Amatruda, K. & Cunningham, J. 2000) The Queen is often overlooked as an important stage in a woman’s life. The Queen Bee as Goddess embodies the full feminine in her busy work in the hive of her world. Evolving this vision of the Queen Bee Goddess in doll format cultivates the mystery of a powerful feminine spirit emerging in consciousness (Bethards, p.123).

The making of the dolls allows for a means of connecting personal to archetypal. Every woman is someone’s daughter’s daughter – everyone has a story and rebuilding images rebuilds new stories. The grandmother and the Queen Bee Goddess doll, as well as any other image representations, exist at a preverbal level of communication and may hold tremendous transformative powers. Reaching into one’s personal source with the intention of revitalizing the present will give fortitude to the future.


Amatruda, K. & Cunningham, J. (2000). Personal conversation.

Bethards, B. (1995). The dream book. Element.

Chernin, K. (1999) The woman who gave birth to her mother. Penguin.

Engle, P. (2000). Reviews [Review of the book by Gerity, L., (1999) Creativity and the Dissociative Patient; Puppets, Narrative and Art in the Treatment of Survivors of Childhood Trauma.] Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 17(4), p. 297.

Hastings, P. (2003). Doll making as a transformative process. Pamela Hastings: Abe Books. Available from

Northrup, C. (2005). Mother-daughter wisdom. Bantam Dell.

Walker, B. G. (1988). The woman’s dictionary of symbols and sacred objects. Harper San Francisco.

Additional References

Bailey, D. W. (2005). Prehistoric figurines: Representation and corporeality in the Neolithic. Rutledge.

Bailey, E. P. (1990). Mother plays with dolls and finds an important key to unlocking creativity. EPM Publications.

Clark, C. A. (2008). Cradle for development of authentic South African selfhood. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 69(6-A), 2008. pp. 2138. [Dissertation].

Feen-Calligan, H., Mclntyre, B., Sands-Goldstein, M. (2009). Art therapy applications of dolls in grief recovery, identity, and community service. Art Therapy, 26(4), pp. 167-173..

Goldenberg, I & Goldenberg, H. (2004). Family therapy: An overview. Brooks/Cole.

Junge, M. (2016). History of art therapy. In Gussak, D. & Rosal, M. (Eds.) Wiley handbook of art therapy. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Kalmanowitz, D. & Potash, J. (2010). Ethical considerations in the global teaching and promotion of art therapy to non-art therapists. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 37, 20-26.

Kobe, B.

Olson, G. (1998). Dolls: Protection, healing, power and play. Somatics, Spring/Summer 1998. pp. 47-50.

White, G. (1962). Dolls of the world. Mills and Boon.

Wicks, P. G. & Rippin, A. (2010). Art as experience: An inquiry into art and leadership using dolls and doll-making. Leadership, 6(3), pp. 259-27.

Hive Track
Thursday, March 26, 2020
9AM – 6PM
6 CEs
Room 109
Presentation #106

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