I graduated with my Masters in Art Therapy in 2002 from Southwestern College, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Prior to enrolling into the art therapy program, I studied art at the University of Illinois where I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts. I have exposure to a great amount of art forms and materials. From bronze work in sculpture class, building my own stretchers for painting class, glass blowing, metals, ceramics, printmaking, computer imaging, and life drawing. I continue to make my own artwork from my studio at home. I find for myself artwork is therapy and a form of expression.
In art therapy, the client does not need former experience with making art. This is a space of non-judgement, no critiques, or grades of what is created. I might guide a client through an art activity or help them develop their own. The art making process is to be full of self-discovery and my help is there if needed in controlling the materials.
Art therapy can be viewed in two different perspectives. Art AS Therapy and Art IN Therapy. I use both perspectives in sessions to what I feel is fitting for the client and their journey of self discovery. The process of Art AS Therapy is where the simple process of making art can be a therapeutic experience. It can be very calming and a stress reduction tool. Art IN Therapy is more of a directive during the session, asking them to create something specific. This helps the client express themselves non -verbally, I could interpret the artwork, and potentially create insight for the client.
Art therapy can be misleading and be perceived that it is only for children. I have worked with countless adults who have engaged in art therapy and have learned so much about themselves in the process. I have some adult clients that I see where all we do is art therapy. The process of art therapy is for all ages and gender. It is especially helpful for those that have difficulties articulating their thoughts and feelings. Clients that benefit the most from this process are not fearful of art, they do not have a judgement of what they make as being "good" or "bad", but just trust the process.