I received my degree in 2015 at The University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. My degree was in Counseling and Personnel Services with a concentration in Art Therapy. I was able to get licensed as an Art Therapist (LPATA) and as a Counselor (LPCA) in the state of Kentucky. Upon arriving to North Carolina, I was able to be Licensed as a Counselor and registered as an Art Therapist (ATR).
I was a fine arts major in undergraduate school and then went on to get my Masters in Fine Art when I realized that this track was not right for me. I did not like justifying my art and felt that my creations were very personal, exploring my deep unconscious self and soul. It wasn’t until I left Philadelphia and traveled to North Carolina to work as an intern on a sustainable organic vegetable farm in Pittsboro, NC, that I realized what art really did for me. Whenever I was depressed or lost I would paint and get enveloped in the process. I would work through my own issues with art as therapy. I decided to apply to graduate school to be an art therapist to learn how I can help others use art as a tool for healing.
I work as an art therapist at Simply Thrive Therapeutics, a private practice located in Cary, NC. The type of clients I see range from children to adults working on overcoming depression, anxiety, low-self esteem, low self-confidence and anyone trying to gain control of who they are and who they want to be. I use Jungian therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction as modalities in healing the mind and body. I run a group for adolescents for self-esteem and a group for adults for stress reduction. I also am a contract PRN therapist for Pasadena Villa IOP in Cary, NC. In addition to providing counseling, I am spearheading a program as a Social Care Farmer at Blawesome Flower Farm in Chapel Hill, NC to help adults with autism learn how to grow flowers and live a purposeful and mission driven life. I work 1:1 to support an individual with autism as he learns to grow, cultivate, harvest, market and deliver flowers. I believe that everyone deserves time outside to experience the growing of something from seed in order to see how they, themselves, can grow and change with care and support. I combine this idea of nature-as-therapy into my therapy sessions and into my own daily life.
I am creating my own art but in a different way then I previously experienced art in undergraduate school. Depending on my mind and body each day, I pick a medium that suits to either uplift or help in supporting myself feel grounded. I recently have been into hooking rugs for the physical nature of the material and the control I get from pulling wool through the frame. The practice is very meditative and grounding for me. I also love clay and found object sculptures at the moment and creating installations in the woods for people to find. I am inspired by my intuition and into letting my inner child let me know what I need for that day.
In my free time, I like to work on my land and farm, Southern Wild Food Forest. I have 10.5 acres of woods that I am working on transforming into a retreat center for stress and burnout. At the moment I like to carve out trails and grow gourmet mushrooms and forage mushrooms for sale at farmer’s market and restaurants in the area. My husband and I are also in the process of building a pole barn and meditation decks around the property. I find this another creative practice of transforming barren woods into an active sustainable food forest with a purpose to heal the land and people in need.
I hope that North Carolina will be able to License Art Therapists soon, bringing Art Therapy up to the same level as Licensed Counseling where it has proven to be just as impactful if not more with the tools that we can provide our clients. I also hope to have more Art Therapy networking events with other Art Therapists in North Carolina to brainstorm together what North Carolina needs and how we can make a difference as a group.
A favorite quote of mine:
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”