I received my M.S. in Art Therapy and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI. After relocating to the Los Angeles area, I became licensed as an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in California (7111) under the supervision of Dr. Jane Shomof, LMFT (86590) and two board-certified art therapists: Dr. Emily Nolan, ATR-BC, LPC and Erica Curtis, ATR-BC, LMFT.
I understand that talk therapy may work well for some and that others find creative approaches to therapy more beneficial. I specialize in trauma processing through art therapy techniques. Art making connects with areas of the brain that store traumatic experiences, where our language centers are blocked. Communication can take on many forms, so this approach to therapy integrates movement, meditation, and the visual arts.
After a traumatic birth with my first son, I was overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation. I struggled through this time wishing there was more support for postpartum parents. I avoided the feelings about my birth experience until my son was five. At this time, I employed art therapy techniques to process this trauma. Now I’m passionate about helping people during the perinatal stage ease this transition with the necessary counseling support and resources.
The therapeutic relationship should be a collaborative alliance that helps to facilitate the change you seek. I believe that positive relationships are the most valuable resource for mental health and wellbeing. I have experience working with women’s issues, LGBTQ issues, survivors of sexual assault or abuse, and those struggling with addictions.
Engaging in the healing benefits of art-making with people from all backgrounds has brought depth and breadth to my identity as a relational artist. Many contemporary artists work in a social practice with a mutual community involvement. I see my unique training as both an artist and art therapist as in line with this participatory artistic perspective.
After receiving a B.F.A. from the College of Santa Fe, I promptly moved to New York City. As an exhibit sculptor at the Bronx Zoo, I constructed realistic animal habitats from various materials like epoxy and fiberglas resin. I participated in the contemporary art scene showing artwork and by assisting many artists like John McCracken, Terence Koh, and Fritz Haeg. These experiences gave me a broad understanding of materials and showed me how different artists make art.
Being around working artists helped me understand my artist identity. Art-making is my healthy response to daily stresses or emotional life transitions. In my art process, I encounter obstacles and frustrations. I sit with the discomfort and develop resiliency that transfers to other aspects of my life. In the end, I’m left with a piece of art that represents self-trust and intuitive knowing. The artwork always tells a story.