“Art is ultimately a tool for communication.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I learned about art therapy when I was 13 years old. I have always loved art, psychology, and working with children. When I realized that art therapy was a marriage of the three, I knew that this was what I wanted for my career.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I have a very collaborative approach to therapy. It’s important for me to ask the right questions, to get a full understanding of a client's experiences, and to untangle what the client is trying to overcome. A first session with me would start with an overview of what negative experiences or symptoms they have been experiencing, a discussion on why they are seeking therapy, and what their long- and short-term priorities and goals are for therapy.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
I regularly partner with nutritionists and dietitians, psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, mental health counselors, and licensed alcoholism and substance abuse counselors. This collaboration gives me a fuller picture of how a client can be helped. There is no one way for a person to learn and grow in therapy and utilizing a variety of approaches is often the most effective way to achieve a goal.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
One of the biggest barriers in seeking care are cultural stigmas around going to a therapist. Clients have expressed that therapy was not accepted by their culture, their families, or their peers. If someone does not know anyone who has tried therapy, the notion of seeing a therapist can make them feel like there is something inherently wrong with them.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
People are looking for new and different ways to support their mental health and I think art therapy plays a role in that. Incorporating art into a therapy session allows the client to express their emotions in a new way, to turn off anxious, depressed or ruminating thoughts, and to tap into feelings that they are not able to put words to. Art is ultimately a tool for communication. Using art in a therapeutic way is extremely cathartic. Art therapy is also universal as it is cross-cultural, used with people of all ages, and employed to treat all diagnoses. People are seeing that therapy is not just a traditional formula of laying down on a couch and talking — although that can still be effective! — and it's opening up new doors.
“There is no one way for a person to learn and grow in therapy and utilizing a variety of approaches is often the most effective way to achieve a goal.”