I have heard that question a lot these last couple of years. You see, I am not your typical graduate student. I decided to take a leap of faith later in life, and leave a great position as a creative art director to go back and earn my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy. So, why did you go back to school after all these years?
I have always been interested in Art Therapy since hearing about it during my undergraduate studies in Advertising Design and Psychology. The ability to use art to help others to communicate their issues during therapy sounded like an amazing way to help someone. I know personally how the art process has had a profound ability to help me through some rough times in my own life.
Just a few years ago—I witnessed first hand how art-making can help someone going through a crisis. I have a dear friend who was going through some very hard, dark times. Addiction was playing havoc with one of her family members—and I desperately wanted somehow to help and make a difference. I was asked by my friend to come and sit with her daughter and help her with her own art-making—and perhaps help her to gain clarity and calmness during this difficult time. It was eye-opening to me. I experienced how a therapeutic art process opened up much needed communication, and aided in working out more than just strokes or marks on a piece of paper. I valued this time and opportunity more than I can ever say.
So, now with graduation these past weeks, I am moving from internship to clinician. It has been a difficult, but very rewarding time. I am starting down a new venture as I work towards my licensure. I appreciate the talented therapists and professors I have met through my different studies—and I applaud all the work they have, and are doing every day.
So, why did I decide to become a therapist? I wanted to have the ability to partner with people who are needing a more positive direction in their lives—and draw from my new and old experiences and trainings to help. I know it was a leap, but I made it with faith and determination —and now with therapeutic skills to back up those hopes.