What do I do, exactly? teach art? Therapy? Do art the whole time, how can you do art with video? We cant do art therapy over video. I only want the therapy, I dont want to pay for the art. Are you a counselor or a therapist?

These are common questions I get on a weekly if not daily basis when people call about scheduling a consult or intake session. I figured now is a good time to describe what I do. Art Therapy – what is it? First – Therapy or counseling?

In the state of Wisconsin my license is LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor. In Illinois they have “LPC or LCPC – licensed clinicial professional counselor”. In Minnesota LPC or LPCC Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. In Massachusetts where i went to school they have “LMHC – Licensed Mental Health Counselor”. To become licensed, regardless of the state i had to pass the NCE – National Counselors Exam ( 4 hours long ) and the wisconsin ( my state of choice) ethics / state stature exam. I also had to have 3000 hours of experience with a LPC -IT ( training license) and supervision to match it / sign off validating that experience.

Art Therapy? Why do you have an R in ATR? ATR stands for Art Therapist Registered. ( instead of Rat – registered art therapists. were not rats! – little humor for ya). To become an Art Therapist i had to attend my masters ( my program in springfield college was a dual masters – two programs – art therapy and mental health counseling). I also needed – if i remember right – 1500 hours( which i was able to piggy back off the counseling hours) and supervision with an art therapist – luckily i found an amazing one in milwaukee who had an open studio that i could volunteer in. This means I was very busy those few years right after gradschool.

For me, i was trained that art therapy and counseling are combined. They compliment eachother so well! The pandemic threw me for a loop becuase yes Art Therapy is different when there is a computer between me and the client and my supplies are sitting across town in my office. I am still learning, along with many other creative therapists out there and even the regular counselors / therapists. Trying to do therapy with internet or phone when everyone else in the world is using the internet and phones at the same time – was an interesting year! Thankfully things evened out, and im partially back in the office with my supplies. Which brings me back to the art therapy and counseling. When i submit a therapy session to insurance for billing, i bill under Therapist. Art therapy is still a newer field and is not covered by insurance yet. When i am with someone though, we talk and if a person is good at multi tasking we create while we talk. Sometimes its drawing, coloring, painting, knitting, smashing clay, using plaster, or making a collage. Other times, its talking most of the time, reviewing journaling homework or art done between sessions. Im trained with the foundation of both the history and theories of art therapy and the history and theories of counseling. The classes had a combination of how to use the artistic medium with talk therapy. We had extensive time doing different projects, researching supplies and how they could be used, or health hazards and how not to use them , using therapy issues as metaphors and matching supplies / directives to the therapy concerns, and so much more. ( i really could talk about it all day if you let me ). I had statistics and research like a normal counseling program, abnormal psychology, human development, and im sure there were others. But where we could we included the art.

When i meet with people 3/4 of them say they saw the art therapy in my bio and want to know more – so i find out what supplies they have and if needed i batch up some various supplies and do a porch drop off – otherwise we discuss some different ways the art could be used and either do that during session or its homework and review it the following session. If people dont want to do art – i wont make them. I have totally become more comfortable doing talk therapy without the art, which was a good experience for me to have. I do occasionally walk people through how to use different art mediums as many have not had experience being creative since childhood. so in a sense im a teacher, but not.So – Art is available if you ever want to use it, if not we can talk or if you prefer we can play chess / other various games / cards/ jigsaw puzzles and use problem solving strategies as metaphors to relate to our anxiety or depressive symptoms.

Im also loving being my own boss and excited to offer groups in my new space. Craft night ( community open studio) is a small fee of 7$ , you can come and go when you want – you dont need to pre register but for social distancing it would be good to know ahead of time if many or few would be coming. Starting february i will offer an Anxiety and Depression Therapy Support Group for teens and for adults – these will require pre registration minimum 5-10 max people in each, cash pay 50$ each.

Craft night – 1st and 3rd friday

Teen group – 2nd Thursday ; Adult Group – 4th Thursday.

I hope this helps explain a little more about what i do! Feel free to ask any other questions, even if its these same questions and youd like a little more detail 🙂