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From Adler to British Columbia Art Therapy Association president

Stories | 10.03.22

Cassandra Evans never had becoming president of the British Columbia Art Therapy Association (BCATA) in her sights.

Photo of Cassandra Evans

Ms. Evans

“I knew people were asking around to see who would be willing to do it; I tried to stay away from those conversations,” said Evans, a 2016 Adler University graduate of the Master of Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy program in Vancouver. “It wasn’t the goal for me.”

But when her name was called in July to serve the association, which acts as a provincial voice governing the standards and practice of art therapy and its practitioners, she didn’t hesitate to accept. She’s taking over the role from Craig Lee, also a 2016 graduate of Adler University. Lee will now serve as vice president.

“Ultimately, it’s important for us to strive towards community and connection within our field,” said Evans, who practices in North Vancouver. “And it’s important to get involved in things that are important to you.”

For Evans, she feels prepared for what’s ahead, thanks to her experience at Adler. For those beginning to think about what’s next, she wants to share the importance of getting involved in professional associations.

What came to mind when your peers elected you as president?

It was very flattering. The field of art therapy is important to me. The role will give me a way to see what I can do to make the association more inclusive and community oriented. Over the last few years, with COVID-19, it feels very dispersed. We’re not getting together or connected. This allows me to bring some ideas in how to make some changes that I hope can make a positive impact.

What are some of your goals during your term? What are some of the challenges/issues you’d like to address?

I want to see how the association can work for its members better, making it an excellent resource to its members. We also want to create more cohesion and connection with the other Canadian art therapy associations. I’d like to bring in more conversation and a stronger working partnership with them to move our profession forward. I’m also excited to continue to help move counselling therapies regulation through in British Columbia, in partnership with the Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in British Columbia.

Photo of Cassandra Evans in India

Ms. Evans on the beach in Mahabalipuram, India, where she conducted her international social justice practicum in 2015.

How did you first get involved with BCATA? Why was it important for you to be part of this association?

I was a professional member right out of Adler. I think it’s important for us in the profession to work towards regulation in the field of art therapy. We want to ensure the standard of practice is really, really good.

How did your time at Adler help prepare you for these leadership roles?

When I came to Adler, I was a marketing and communications manager. I had some leadership experience. But the focus on social justice in learning and advocacy at Adler has really helped me create a baseline in my life and the profession, not just wanting to get involved in BCATA but also in my work with clients.

Why should other Adler students and graduates consider taking on leadership roles in their profession?

I always encourage others to get involved with their associations. It’s the best way to make connections and stay on top of what’s happening in their fields. It creates community, and community will only have a positive impact on your work and skills. I’d encourage others to get involved and find something you’re passionate about.

Any words of advice to others, especially our upcoming graduates this fall, on how to get involved?

Start small. Ask yourself, “What am I able to do without overwhelming myself?” After Adler, I jumped into too many things because I thought it was the right thing to do. But then I found quickly that I didn’t have time. So, my advice would be to make sure that what you say you want to do and are going to do, that you have the capacity to do them because you don’t want to burn out. These associations have committees, join one. Come to events or create conversations on their social media pages. These are easy steps to take to get more involved.

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