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Barbara Fish

Art Therapist



Briefly About

Barbara Fish

I am an artist, art therapist, art-based supervisor, educator, author, researcher, and presenter.

I currently live and work in-person and virtually in the San Diego, CA area.

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"Often, traditional verbal therapy is unable to access deeply held material.  Images provide another way of exploring and bringing issues to light where they can be explored and heal. I do not analyze images.  The one who creates the piece is the authority on his or her own artwork."

Art-Based Supervision:

Cultivating Therapeutic Insight Through Imagery

Art-Based Supervision is a unique text for graduate supervision classes and seminars as well as a resource for postgraduate supervisors and practitioners. It offers a new view of supervision, one that incorporates both images and words as tools to investigate and communicate the interactions that occur in therapy and in the systems in which clinicians work. The fundamental principles of supervision provided in the book are useful for anyone interested in exploring the use of images to support reflection, understanding and empathy in their work. Full color images enrich the narrative.


In addition to supervisory courses, Art-Based Supervision may be used for introductory art therapy, psychology, social work and counseling courses for readers interested in a broad range of intimate examples of the challenges of therapeutic work and the use of response art to grasp nuanced communication.

My Services


Art therapy is a profession that uses images and image making to engage in everything from traditional psychotherapy to personal enrichment. Often, traditional verbal therapy is unable to access deeply held material.  The process of making images and the artwork itself can provide another way of unpacking and bringing issues to light where they can be explored and heal. I do not analyze images.  The person who creates the piece is the authority on their own artwork.


Art-based supervision is clinical oversight provided by a more experienced clinician to a new therapist that uses response art as a primary tool. When added to verbal discourse, response art provides a vehicle to explore and conceptualize treatment in ways that deepens understanding, supports  insight, and  clarifies communication. The supervisor holds the space for this reflection. Acting as gatekeeper and guide, the supervisor insures the quality of care provided to clients and supports the professional development of the new therapist.


I am an educator with more than 35 years of experience in graduate and doctoral programs, both in brick and mortar and video forums. My interests include art- based supervision, the use of response art in art therapy, understanding the risks and opportunities that are offered by harm’s touch, and art-based research. I understand that all image making is exploration and that exploration with a plan is research. 


As a response to the events of September 11th 2001, Barbara Fish began the Art for Peace group with a small gathering of art therapy students in her home in Chicago, Illinois. The group grew to include artists, art therapists and others that value the potential of creativity in community. With the onset of COVID 19 the group moved to a video conferencing format, with participants joining from national and international locations. The group’s intention remains the same: to ground and support one another through our involvement in the creative process, promoting responsive expression in our lives.

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