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Judith Rubin

Art Therapy Pioneer

Kristen Hawkins

on 5 January 2015

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Transcript of Judith Rubin

Judith Rubin
Finding Art Therapy

Rubin earned a bachelor's degree in

at Wellesley College (Junge, 2010 p. 145).

Here she discovered
art therapy
in a child psychology course from a researcher studying children's finger paintings (Junge, 2010, p. 145).

Fun Fact:
Rubin's supervisor at the University of Pittsburg, Margaret McFarland, introduced Rubin to Fred Rogers, of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood".
Rubin appeared on the program as the "Art Lady" from 1966-69 (Warren, 1996, para. 6).
Rubin was attracted to
psychoanalytic theory
because she found those trained in it to be
most helpful
(Rubin, 2001, p. 1).

Rubin worked extensively with children and was drawn to Freud's work on child analysis, a form of early
play therapy
. Rubin also valued the use of
in art coming from the
as a key idea. (Warren, 1996, para. 17).

At age 17 Rubin

experienced the healing power of art.
She used art as a coping mechanism after the death of a close friend (Junge, 2010, p. 144).

Rubin had her first opportunity to do
art therapy
- without any training -
working with schizophrenic children

under the supervision of Margaret McFarland
in the Child Development Program of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg (Warren, 1996, para. 5).
It was a new symbolic replacement for my friend who was lost, a mute tangible testament. Doing it afforded me tremendous relief. It did not take away the hurt and the ache, but it did help in releasing some of the anguished tangle of feelings that held me in their grip. (Rubin as cited in Junge, 2010, p. 145)
She wrote regarding the experience:
In graduate school, while taking a human development course and looking for works on the psychology of children's art, Rubin discovered the works of

Maragaret Naumburg
Viktor Lowenfield,
Florence Cane

(Junge, 2010 145). Later she would also read works by
Edith Kramer
. Rubin was fascinated and intrigued by psychology and art (Warren, 1996, para. 4).
From here Rubin went on to study
in graduate school with the goal of becoming an art teacher (Junge, 2010, p. 145).

Although she was drawn to teaching art from her love of children and art, she found it to be a rather imperfect fit (Junge, 2010, p. 145).
Here she connected with
Erik Erikson,
whom she told,

"I don't know what in the world I'm doing and I really want to get some more training. What would you advise?"
(Rubin as cited in Warren, 1996, para. 7)

Erikson advised Rubin
not to go through with any further training, because it may ruin her intuitive approach with the children
(Junge, 2010, pp.144-145; Warren, 1996, para. 6-7).
Because of her respect for Erikson, Rubin did not go through with any training at first, and relied on her
. Later in her career, however, she saw the
necessity for education
. To learn more about herself and her patients, and at the advice of


Edith Kramer
, Rubin underwent
psychoanalytic training
, and was
herself (Warren, 1996, para 8-10).
She also went on to earn a doctorate in

at the University of Pittsburg (Jung, 2010, 145).

Although Rubin is based in
psychoanalytic theory
she does not cling to it
. Rubin has sought theories that have helped her to do her job better, and she remains open to
whatever will be most effective
. She also emphasizes the importance of
learning that cannot be taught
: experience and intuition.

Rubin states:

It is a funny kind of paradox . . . I really believe both [intuition and knowledge] are necessary, and that if you're chained by your theory, you can't be a good therapist (Rubin as cited in Warren, 1996, para. 10).
Learning Theory and Practice:
Words of wisdom from Judith Rubin
Rubin also drew from the following theories to inform her practice:


(Rubin, 2001, p.1)
I wish within the field, people could be more open to other people's points of view... I personally have never believed that you have to choose either art or therapy . . . I think you have to be flexible if you're going to do a good job. (Rubin as cited in Warren, 1996, para. 38)
Rubin has written extensive amount of art therapy literature. She was motivated to do this because of the lack of art therapy literature. She especially wanted to write works that respected a variety of different theories (Warren, 1996).
Her works are:
Child Art Therapy (1978)
The Art of Art Therapy (1984)
Approaches to Art Therapy (1987)
Art Therapy: An Introduction (1998)
Art Therapy (1999)
Artful Therapy (2005)
My Mom and Dad Don't Live Together Anymore (2002)
More recently, Rubin has worked on numerous films.
Here is a clip from her first film, "We'll Show You What We're Gonna Do!"(1972) The film documents Rubin's work with blind and disabled children.

Rubin also made the popular film that we watched the first night of class, "Art Therapy Has Many Faces"(2008). Yet another project created from Rubin's drive to educate students on the wide range of ways art therapist's do their work.
Rubin was the fifth president of the American Art Therapy Association(AATA) and was awarded the Honorary Life Membership by the AATA in 1981 (Junge, 2010, p. 144).
Rubin takes her role in the AATA seriously and is close with its members. She has been and is a
fighter for peace and open-mindedness
within the association and beyond: frustrated with the factions that have grown(Junge, 2010, p. 144; Warren, 1996).
Kristen Hawkins
Adler Graduate School
Full transcript