The American Art Therapy Association (www.arttherapy.org) defines art therapy as an established mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making by people who seek personal development to improve and enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well being.
I work with a wide range of issues and life transitions including self-esteem, depression, anxiety, grief, self care, trauma, relationship, divorce, family-of-origin and career issues. However, most people I see don’t describe the problem in these clinical terms. And, I think that static labels can undermine everyone’s belief in the possibility of change. I tend to work with clients to name the problem in a way that is useful for them. I talk with clients about the effects of fear, shame, sadness, pressure or disappointment. If a client is interested in using art materials, I will offer an art intervention to help us to see, to better understand and work with the problem. We can talk about how the problem is affecting the client’s life and how to take some practical steps to cope and move through the issue at hand.
I have seen again and again, how art mirrors in a very present and concrete way who we are, how we feel and where we’re at in our lives. Art can hold the polar opposites that we sometimes think, feel and experience. Our art is at once unique, beautiful, ugly, raw, fragmented, and complete. For all of us, it can reflect our strengths, weaknesses, fears, ambitions, hopes, and memories.
Art externalizes the problem. The art allows these repeatedly problematic thoughts to be seen, right there on the page. The problem becomes malleable, workable in the physical world. Working on the problem in its symbolic, physical form, with materials that are manageable can be a new, fresh, playful way of problem solving. And, unlike talk therapy alone, the art serves as a record of the experience. You can see where you were when you were feeling stuck, how your moods shifted and evolved to where you are now.
Children: Art is a very natural language for children. It can be especially useful for young children who have not developed the language to describe their experiences and feelings. Children can show us in their language, that is, in the way they play and through their art making process how they are feeling and what it is they need.
Adults: Many adults seek counseling because they have been trying to work on solving a problem, or changing a pattern of less than useful behaviors, but are ‘stuck’. For adults, art can address the problem in a completely new way and offer insight that was not otherwise apparent. Art can help make the subconscious, conscious.
Groups: I am happy to create an art therapy group for those who have specific needs (addiction, grief, brain injury, major mental illness, etc.). Please contact me if this is something you might have a need for.
Open Studio: Out of a desire to share the studio and my dedication to art making, I also offer Open Studio Sessions. These are open to the community of artists and creative friends and structured as an art making workshop rather than a psychotherapy group. Please contact me for more information.
Transpersonal psychology is a theory of personality that trusts human potential and the inherent health and competencies of the whole client (physical, mental, spiritual). By definition, transpersonal psychology includes and builds upon aspects of each of the other waves of psychology (psychoanalytic, behavioral, and humanistic). Transpersonal psychology has an optimistic view of human development and personality, that one is naturally moving toward wholeness and what blocks them are unrealized or rejected aspects of the whole self. Transpersonal psychology does not have a specific technical modality.
I utilize a combination of modalities including: narrative therapy and art therapy techniques, as well as solution focused, and gestalt approaches which are congruent with transpersonal theory and do offer specific techniques or methods. The methods of assessment I use are client centered and arts based, I offer healing imagery work, and mindfulness and meditation practices.
My main interest and focus is in employing narrative art therapy strategies.
What is narrative therapy?
Michael White and David Epston are credited with pioneering narrative therapy in the early 1980’s. Their concept of “story” or “self-narrative” functions as a formula for arranging a coherent account of oneself and a way to describe this identity to others. Consistent with the transpersonal view, narrative therapy identifies and builds upon personal strengths and self-worth in order to break down a fatalistic pattern of negativity, a step toward re-writing ones personal story. This concept of narrative therapy can be described as ‘re-authoring’ as process of focusing on finding alternate descriptions of events and invite the possibility of more satisfactory endings to situations that have been seen as immutable problems.
How does art + narrative Therapy work?
Narrative therapy is a modality that is useful in conjunction with art therapy for children, adolescents and adults. One of the ways art expression complements narrative therapy is that imagery assists both the therapist and client in finding alternative solutions to problem-saturated stories. There is no other form of therapy where internal processes can actually be made visible and tangible. Art adds another dimension to verbal narrative approaches by providing creative ways to externalize, reframe, and “re-story” the problem. During therapy in the narrative-art context, the stories clients create in their art correlate with the stories of their lives. At Art & Soul, traditional art materials as well as digital art (photoshop, final cut) can be used in sessions to create healing stories be they drawings, paintings, sculptures or digital stories.
|Student Rate||Professional Rate|
|30 minute initial consultation||free||free|
|60 minute individual session||$105||$125|
|90 minute individual session||$125||$150|
|60 minute couples session||$150||$175|