My clients trust me to be a facilitator of their personal journey to mental wellness because I can be real with them, more than a blank slate presence to echo their thoughts or feelings. I establish a trusting and comfortable therapeutic relationship that does not censor the client, but encourages their expression. Whether dissecting an internet “meme” for life metaphors, exploring the joy and challenges of social media interaction, or role playing the voice of a problematic authority figure, my flexibility to adapt to the client’s style makes me relatable. When working with a minor it’s not beneath me to take an impromptu dance lesson from a child “expert” in Fort Night video game dancing in order to build rapport and ease anxiety in session (though I have yet to conquer “The Floss”). When a strong level of comfort has been developed in the therapeutic relationship, clients are more willing to allow me to challenge cognitive distortions or play devil’s advocate when processing issues. Humor is my personal favorite coping mechanism, and I enjoy bringing it into sessions when appropriate.
In addition to being a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), I possess extra credentials which allow me to utilize art making and the creative process to help clients reach clinical goals. As a nationally registered and board certified art therapist (ATR-BC), I believe human beings possess an intrinsic drive to create; this drive spans the gamut of art, music, entertainment, ideas, and beyond, and is directly linked with mental wellness. Art therapy can supplement traditional talk therapy or take the place as primary methodology for achieving mental wellness. The most common concern I receive in relation to art therapy is: “But I’m not an artist!” One does not have to be an artist or possess any basic level of artistic skill in order to benefit from art therapy. Art therapy provides an alternative mode of communication using hands-on, evidenced-based practices.