“I believe being encouraged as an artist from a very young age has shaped my approach to therapy; I value the power of images to reveal and validate a person.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I came late to therapy and worked previously as an artist. I noticed that my art informed me of what I was responding to, where I was, and who I was. This prompted my master’s degree in art therapy and counseling. I think of this work as a calling and find it comfortable to focus 100% on the client. I have worked in hospital settings, in outpatient clinics, with elders and kids, with folks with developmental disabilities, with adolescents in alternative high schools developed for at-risk kids, in rehab settings, and with ongoing groups and individuals within my own private practice. Personally, I’ve always been a quiet person, looking within to find my strength. I find wonder in nature. I feel that imagination is my source of spiritual growth. I enjoy my own therapy, often ongoing and sometimes on hiatus. I think it keeps me honest in knowing how it feels to be a client and careful about the power I may wield as a therapist. I’m big on boundaries. These things make me well-suited to be a therapist.
What should someone know about working with you?
The intake process on paper will include an understanding of the confidentiality statement. In the beginning and continuing, I will want to know about your history and your foundation. I will ask what brings you to therapy. Therapy means caring for the self. Many of us don’t know how to begin this caring. I think progress looks like answering hard questions and probably getting out of your comfort zone. Often, I assign homework to share at our next session. This time spent with yourself will be revealing. Everything about therapy is not light and bright and beauty in the dark needs to be seen to establish balance. Learn to embrace this; sometimes just breathing is what’s needed in the moment.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I believe being encouraged as an artist from a very young age has shaped my approach to therapy; I value the power of images to reveal and validate a person. Art has taught me the beauty in all things and people. I find that helping people discover things about themselves is amazing. By listening, watching, and asking, I can help restore or establish someone’s faith in themselves and hope for their movement. Being interested in oneself is much like being an artist. Caring for oneself and one's place in the world and knowing where one belongs in the larger picture makes this world of ours a better place.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I never expected to be excited about telehealth. At first, it felt temporary and just an okay substitute for the real thing. I miss the shared space and what one can learn from another by being in the same place. But telehealth has opened me up to reimagining ways of accomplishing some of the parts I miss in a traditional setting. I have been able to work with some incredible folks who would not have come to my office due to physical limitations or distance. Change is always hard but good for us.
How will a therapist help?
My formal education focused on a Jungian-based archetypal approach. This approach takes into account those things we all have in common, how we are connected, and what keeps us separate. Our mythologies are common but our perceptions or beliefs keep us separate. We need to recognize these and attend to them. Sometimes, we need help looking at beliefs. Our answers are always within ourselves. A therapist will help us by offering support in visiting those places within ourselves that seem hard to visit alone. We need balance and beauty and can find them more quickly and completely with a therapist's help.
“Art has taught me the beauty in all things and people.”