Skip to main content

Josée Leclerc, PhD, ATR-BC, ATPQ

Professor, Creative Arts Therapies

Josée Leclerc, PhD, ATR-BC, ATPQ
Office: S-ER 123  
ER Building,
2155 Guy St.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4795
Website(s): Josée Leclerc

Education and training

  • PhD in Humanities, Concordia University
  • MA in Art Therapy, Concordia University
  • BA in Women's Studies, Concordia University
  • Post-graduate training in Psychoanalytic
  • Psychotherapy, Argyle Institute of Human Relations

Josée Leclerc is Professor in the Art Therapy Graduate Program, Department of Creative Arts Therapies. A board-certified art therapist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, she has been working in private practice for the last 25 years. Dr. Leclerc obtained her PhD from the interdisciplinary Humanities Doctoral Program at Concordia University. She pursued her interdisciplinary research on the convergence between art and psychoanalysis with a three-year research grant from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et culture (FQRSC), which culminated in the publication of Art et psychanalyse: pour une pensée de l'atteinte [Art and psychoanalysis: When the image strikes], as well as several articles. Her current research focuses on art and trauma. She has obtained a three-year research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the study of survival strategies in the art of six women deported from France to Nazi's prisons and camps. More recently, she has been studying the usefulness of response-art to foster awareness of racial discrimination. She has been offering workshops in Europe, the US and in Canada. Dr. Leclerc has published her work in monographs and scientific journals in Canada, the U.S., and in France, and has lectured extensively both at the national and international level.   

Professional affiliations

  • Registry of holders of the psychotherapist permit, Ordre des psychologues du Québec
  • Board Certified-Art Therapist Registered, American Art Therapy Association.
  • Professional Member, Association des art-thérapeutes du Québec
  • Professional Member, Association des psychothérapeutes psychanalytiques du Québec
  • Associate Clinical Member, Argyle Institute of Human Relations

Research interests / expertise

Art and Trauma: To examine the survival strategies in images produced in the context of genocides (SSHRC funded research). To study how response-art may foster awareness of racial discrimination (Concordia Seed Grant)

Research questions include:

  • Can drawings made by deportees in the Nazi camps be understood in terms of their embodied survival strategies?
  • How does the portrait, as representation of a fellow being, both subvert and define the principles of an ethics of reception of concentration camp images?
  • How can the witness function incumbent on the contemporary viewer of the images from the camps be conceived of and defined?
In conjunction with the Canadian and the Québec art therapy associations, and with a Concordia Aid to Research Related Events Grant, she also organized Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution, the 1st international conference on art and trauma in Canada (  Dr. Leclerc has recently been invited to present her research at the 6th International Summer Institute, Memorial of Ravenbrück, in Germany, and at the 3rd International Master Class in Arts Therapies, Université Sorbonne-Paris-La Cité, in Paris. 

Art and Psychoanalysis: To study the convergence of art and psychoanalysis from a postmodern perspective.  
Dr. Leclerc's FQRSC funded research has led to the development of a theoretical model defining the epistemological stance of the psychoanalytically oriented art therapist from a postmodern perspective. This model takes into consideration the centrality of counter-transference and the witness function of the image in the acquisition of knowledge about the inner world of clients.

Research questions include:

  • Since the art therapist who bears witness to the "image as event" makes herself both subject and object of knowledge, how can the epistemological stance of the psychoanalytic art therapist be explored and defined?
  • How can psychoanalytic and postmodern theories inform the ways in which countertransference to both patients and images takes form in the framework of art therapy?
  • How can the relationship between psychic expression and creative expression be conceived of?

Grants / awards

  • Dispositifs thérapeutiques et institutions de soin: enjeux cliniques contemporains de la consultationthérapeutique, Commission Recherche UniversitéParis 13-SPC; PI: Dr. Catherine Matha, Psychologie Clinique, Université Paris13 (24,500 Euros), 2015-2016.

    Therapeutic settings and care-providinginstitutions: Contemporary clinical issues in the therapeutic consultation, InternationalPsychoanalytic Association. PI: Dr. Isabelle Lasvergnas, UQÀM(15,300 US), 2016-2017.

  • Répondre de l'image, Concordia Seed Funding Grant, 2012-2014.
  • Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution International Conference, Sept. 18-20, 2008, Concordia Aid to Research Related Events.
  • Étude des retombées thérapeutiques d'un programme d'art-thérapie oncologique: un avant-projet, Concordia Seed Funding Grant, 2007-2009.
  • Art et trauma: Étude des stratégies de survivance dans l'art concentrationnaire, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), 2005-2009.
  • Quand l'image s'écrit: Une anthologie d'écrits d'artistes sur le thème de dessaisissement créateur, Fonds québécois de la recherche en société et culture (FQRSC), 2002-2005.
  • Faculty Research Development Personnel, Concordia University, 2000-2003.
  • Quebec Art Therapy Association Distinguished Service Award, 1997.

Theoretical orientation

  • Psychodynamic (Post-Freudian Theory, Object Relations, Attachment Theory)
  • Theories of trauma
  • Post-modernism

Teaching activities

Teaching / course offerings

  • ATRP 600 - Readings in Art Therapy
  • ATRP 620 - Advanced Art Therapy Clinical Skills
  • ATRP 623 - Advanced Art Therapy Supervision I
  • ATRP 624 - Advanced Art Therapy Supervision II


Select publications

  • Leclerc, J. (accepted). What Seeks to be Represented: On the Sayable and theVisible in the Analytic Situation and in Mediated Psychotherapy.
    London, UK: Routledge.

  • Leclerc, J. (accepted). Dispositif, disposition : le cadre de l’analyste en institution. Paris : Carnet Psy,Ed. Éres.

  • Leclerc, J. (sous presse). Ce qui cherche à se figurer : du dicible et du visible dans le cadre de l'analyse et en psychothérapie à médiation. Monographie: Filigrane..

    Leclerc, J. & Drapeau,C-E. (2018). Response-art as a reflective inquiry: Fostering awareness of racism, The Arts in Psychotherapy Journal, 60,


  • Thaler, L., Drapeau,C.-E., Leclerc, J.,Lajeunesse, M., Cottiera,D., Kahana, E., Ferenczy, N. & Steiger,H. (2017). An adjunctive, museum-based art therapy experience in the treatment of women with severe eating disorders. The Arts in Psychotherapy 56,pp. 1-6.

  • Leclerc, J. (2013). Images concentrationnaires et mal d'archive, in Fabienne Charland, Katerine Gagnon & Simon Harel (Eds.) La confiance altérée (pp. 147-156). Montreal: Presses de l'Université Laval.
  • Leclerc, J. (2013). A review of Through a narrow window: Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and her Terezin students, by L. Wix (2010). Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 30(1), 50-51.
  • Leclerc, J. (2012). Quand l'image s'écrit: figures de l'atteinte dans le témoignage d'artistes (When the image writes home: The phenomenon of being struck, from the writing of artists). Montréal: Liber.
  • Leclerc, J. (2012). When the image strikes: Post-Modern thinking and epistemology in art therapy. In H. Burt (Ed.) Art therapy and post modernism: Current trends and new research. Waterloo: University of Wilfred Laurier Press.
  • Leclerc, J. (2011). Re-presenting trauma: The witness function in the art of the Holocaust, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, (28)2, pp. 82-89.
  • Leclerc, J. (2010). L'art-thérapie d'orientation psychanalytique. In J. Hamel & J. Labrèche (Eds.), Découvrir l'art-thérapie (pp. 88-99). Paris: Larousse.
  • Leclerc, J. (2009). Desseins et destins de l'image: le pouvoir transformationnel de l'image en art-thérapie d'orientation psychanalytique, Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 30(3), 43-56.
  • Leclerc, J. (2008). Art trauma: Survival strategies in prisons and concentration camps art. Website hosting funded SSHRC research.
  • Leclerc, J. (2006). Du non-détachement. La méthode psychanalytique à l'épreuve du malentendu, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, coll. Petite bibliothèque de psychanalyse.
  • Leclerc, J. (2006). The Unconscious as paradox: Impact on the epistemological stance of the art therapist. The Arts in Psychotherapy International Journal, 33, 130-134.
  • Leclerc, J. (2004). Art et psychanalyse. Pour une pensée de l'atteinte [Art and psychoanalysis: When the image strikes]. Montreal: XYZ Editor.
  • Leclerc, J. (2003). L'image en effet: Pour une pensée de la présentation. In Tanguay, D., Bolster, G., & Leclerc, J. (Eds.). Proceedings of Convergence: Common grounds and new perspectives in Creative Arts Therapies.
  • Leclerc, J. (2002). La folie de Dieu: Parcours dans les graphies du vide divin, Spirale, 184, 30-31.
  • Leclerc, J. (2001). Art et thérapie: Prolégomènes à une épistémologie de l'art-thérapie, Revue Française de Psychiatrie et de Psychologie Médicale, 50(5), 18-23.

Participation activities

Selected conferences

  • Toward the Recognition and Regulationof Art Therapy: A Painting of the Canadian Landscape, panel, CanadianArt Therapy Association AnnualConference, Concordia U., October 12-14, 2018.

  • Raising Awareness of Racism through Response-Art, research workshops, Masters’ program in Art
    Psychotherapy,Division of Occupational Therapy

    and Arts Therapies, Queen MargaretUniversity, April 23-27, 2018.

  • Raising Awareness of Racism through Response-Art, research workshop, Department of Creative ArtsTherapies, June 8th 2018.

  • Genocidal art, response-art and efforts to awaken consciousness ofracism: Discussing ethics and
    methodology, J.Leclerc & C.-E. Drapeau,

    48th Annual Conference,American Art Therapy

    Association, Albuquerque, NM,Nov. 8-12, 2017.

  • La consultation psychanalytique en institution : quels transferts ?,Ciantaretto, J.-F., Cornalba, V., Lasvergnas. I., Leclerc, J., Matha, C. & Pinard, L., Paris, 3-4 mars 2017.

  • Ciantaretto, J.-F., Cornalba, V., Lasvergnas. I., Leclerc, J., Matha, C. & Pinard, L., Montréal, 29 oct 2016

  • Fostering consciousness of racist discrimination through response-art: A phenomenological research study, Canadian Art Therapy Association Annual Conference, Toronto, October 14-16, 2016

  • La consultation psychanalytique aujourd’huiCiantaretto, J.-F., Cornalba, V., Lasvergnas. I., Leclerc, J., Matha, C. & Pinard, L., Séminaire franco-québécois et projet de recherche international, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, 21-22 mai 2016.

  • The creative arts therapies within the context of Law 21, Creative Arts Therapies Awareness Week Symposium, March 19, 2016.

  • Art-thérapie: fondements théoriques et applications thérapeutiques, invited speaker, UTA–Université de Sherbrooke, March 3, 2016.

  • Response-art as a reflective inquiry: Fostering awareness of racism, J. Leclerc & C.-E. Drapeau,

    invited speakers, The Arts in Cultural Psychiatry: Identity,Creativity and Transformation, Advanced Study Institute, Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, June 1-3, 2015.


  • Répondre de l’image: L’art comme vecteur de conscientisation, Colloquium Art, creativity and well-being: Progress and challenges in the research in creative arts therapies, Acfas Congress, Montréal, May 12-13, 2014.

  • Art response and trauma research, invited speaker, training on trauma, Master’s Program in Drama Therapy, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, April 3-5, 2014.

  • Response-Art as a Reflective Inquiry: Raising Awareness of Racism, research workshop, European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education, Paris, Sept. 11-14, 2013.

  • Response-art, meaning-making, and genocidal art:A participatory research project, accepted  Master Class, 44th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, Seattle,WA, June 26-30, 2013.
  • L’art-thérapie analytique, full-day presentation and workshop, Clinical Events Series, Association des Psychothérapeutes Psychanalytiques du Québec, March 31, 2012.
  • En mal d’archive: traitement des images concentrationnaires, Journées d’études La confiance altérée,UQÀM et le CÉLAT,  May 5-6, 2011.

  • Images from the Holocaust: Toward an ethics of reception, Expressive Therapies Summit, New York, Nov. 9-13, 2011
  • En mal d'archive: traitement des images concentrationnaires, La confiance altérée, UQÀM et le CÉLAT,  May 5-6, 2011
  • Awakening analytic awareness: Working with patients facing serious illness and death, Accepted panel, American Art Therapy Association Annual Conf, Sacramento, CA, Nov. 3-7, 2010.
  • Pictures from the camps: Toward an ethics of reception, Workshop, 6th International European Summer School in Ravenbrück, August 29-Sept. 3, 2010.
  • Archive ache: The treatment of images from the camps, paper presented at 6th International European Summer School in Ravenbrück, August 29-Sept. 3, 2010.
  • Frontier of Psychoanalytic Art Therapy: Four Contemporary Clinical Approaches, panel, 40th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, Dallas, TX, Nov. 18-22, 2009.
  • La détresse du soignant: un commentaire sur le film de David Homel 'Le psy, la victime et le bourreau', Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution Intern. Conference, Montréal, Sept. 18-20, 2008.
  • 2008 Le regard de l'autre: fonctions du portrait dans l'art de la Shoah, Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution Intern. Conference, Montréal, Sept. 18-20, 2008.
  • 2007 The function of portraiture in the art of the Holocaust: Eros in Thanatos?, 38th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, Albuquerque, NM, Nov. 13-18, 2007.
  • Four art therapists respond to a single case, panel, 38th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, Albuquerque, NM, Nov. 13-18, 2007.
  • Art and Trauma, Keynote Address, "Imagining the Unthinkable: L'exposition du génocide", Global Conference on Prevention on Genocide, McGill Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism, Oct. 1-13, 2007
  • Transforming chaos: The creation of images in concentration camps, National Association for Drama Therapy Annual Conference, Montreal, August 9-12, 2007.
  • On the use of art to overcome trauma: Survival strategies in the art of the Holocaust, Accepted paper, 37th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, New Orleans, Nov. 15-19, 2006.
  • Creative arts therapies education in Canada: Challenges and pedagogical strategies in graduate training, 1st International Conference of Creative Arts Therapies in Japan, Tokyo, October 7-9, 2006.
  • Imag-ination du semblable: Fonctions de représentance dans le portrait  concentrationnaire, Peace: Aesthetics of an ethic, Concordia U, April 27-28, 2006.
  • 2To think psychoanalytically: What does it mean for the art therapist?, panel, 36th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, Atlanta, Nov. 16-20, 2005.
  • Quand la mort se dessine, Terror, terrorism and unconscious processes international conference, Montreal, October 27-29, 2005.
  • The knowledge of experience: Aesthetics and epistemology in art therapy, 8th European Consortium of Arts Therapies Educators Conference, Crete, September 14-17, 2005.
  • Cultiver la paix/Cultivating peace, Peace and conflict resolution series, Concordia U, Feb 8, 2005.
  • The Unconscious as paradox, panel, 35th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, San Diego, Nov. 10-14, 2004.
  • Du thérapeutique dans l'art, 72nd Acfas Annual Conference, Montreal, May 10-14, 2004.
  • Surviving Dachau: The witnessing presence of Zoran Music's images of art, 34th Annual Conference, American Art Therapy Association, Chicago, Nov. 19-23, 2003.
  • Dialogue of Alterities: The aesthetic dimension of image and subject in the analytic encounter, Culture and the Unconscious, London, UK, July 11-12, 2003.

Back to top

© Concordia University