“My goal is to help you to make lasting changes and self-discoveries that will ultimately lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
From a young age, I used art to express myself. I pursued dual degrees in Studio Arts and Psychology in college, and when I was introduced to the field of art therapy, I knew it was for me. I have always been driven to make a difference, so combining my passion for creativity with therapy felt like an ideal path. Being able to use creativity to empower others in their journey to well-being has been a dream job for me. I have also experienced first-hand the powerful transformation that therapy can provide in one’s life. It gives me a great sense of purpose to support others through the process of healing, self-reflection, and mental wellness.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
In our first few sessions, my main goal is to make you feel supported and comfortable in our working relationship. I use a client-centered approach, meaning that above all, I want to know what you want out of therapy. You are the expert on yourself, not me. My goal is to help you to make lasting changes and self-discoveries that will ultimately lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life. We may not participate in art-making in each session, and that's okay. As an art therapist, I work with the idea that art-making is a therapy in itself, but also that the art can be a window into someone’s state of mind. Sometimes you may not be able to speak directly about certain struggles in your life, but being able to process it visually through art can be healing in itself, even at the neurological level.
What is art therapy? Do I need to be good at art to participate?
Art therapy uses art-making in a psychotherapy session as a means of further exploring one’s inner world. With the support of a licensed art therapist, you can create art to improve different aspects of your life or to express difficult feelings that you may have trouble finding the words for. I view art as an extension of one’s self and sometimes the art can become a “third partner” in the therapeutic space, if one feels comfortable processing what is created in a session. You do not need to have ever picked up a pencil or paintbrush to participate in art therapy. Art therapy is about the process not the product; the goal isn’t to make museum-worthy art, but to know yourself on a deeper level.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
You are the expert in your own journey to healing. I am not here to give you advice, but rather to support and guide you in finding your own inner wisdom. There is something so courageous about entering into therapy and creating space to deepen your connection with yourself. It really is an investment in your future self. Additionally, I view therapy as a beneficial part of everyday life — a form of self-care. Although some turn to therapy in times of distress or big transitions, it can also be a way to fine-tune certain aspects of your life and continue to strengthen your sense of self. You don’t need to be grappling with major issues to benefit from therapy.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
A shift is taking place in our society and we're recognizing the importance of addressing our psychological needs. I am inspired by those who are lending their voices to the importance of mental wellness. People are seeking regular therapy more than ever before, and organizations like Alma are trying to streamline and bring convenience to an otherwise daunting task. Especially in New York, there seems to be a push to not only make therapy more accessible, but to decrease the shame and secrecy of participating. I am often asked by patients at my hospital, and even family and friends, where to go to find a therapist. Organizations like Alma are connecting these dots for people and I am delighted to be a part of this community.
“Sometimes you may not be able to speak directly about certain struggles in your life, but being able to process it visually through art can be healing in itself.”
Interested in speaking with Laney?