I am a masters level, nationally registered and board certified art therapist in private practice in the state of Utah. I specialize in early child development, parenting, and working with women. I am passionate about what I do and those I am privileged to do it with. In addition to being a practicing clinician, I am also a classically trained figurative artist having apprenticed with Philip Pearlstein. I enjoy reading about neuroscience, human development, faith and art and seeing how they all connect.
Albion College, Albion, MI: 1995 BFA, Fine Arts & Psychology, with honors
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY: 1998 MPS, Art Therapy & Creativity Development
I believe that at the core of dysfunction is a loss or interruption of the ability to play. Play is a learned skill (Winnicott, 1974) and a luxury (one must feel safe in order to do it). It allows us to explore options, create our own rules, and gain mastery over challenges. When we can play with something in life, we have mastery over it. When trauma occurs, it can be intimidating and the traumatic experience can mask our self, gaining control over our actions and without even knowing it, we’ve turned over our ability to play with the difficult emotions and memories of what happened. The act of creating something about that significant experience begins to externalize it and slowly creates the transitional object or, in the case of art, a healing image. It becomes our action figure. Through metaphor we can now play with the original traumatic event and the experience that masked our self becomes transformed into simply an experience: something we learn and gain meaning from and move on. I believe art to be an effective component to healing, understanding and creating meaning in the psychotherapeutic experience. I know its power to transform individuals, families and communities to a greater functioning before the art. I think there are certain ideas or perceptions that we are not reasoned into, therefore we cannot be reasoned out of; I see art as the unreasonable way to speak to these areas, bringing awareness and intentionality about who we are and who we want to be.
My training and personal interest have focused on early childhood development, parenting and the family constellation. Through this foundation I have found that it provides a broad understanding for any population I have had the opportunity to work with. My passion lies in working with parents to appreciate the magic of their child’s development and gain understanding and insight about themselves to be more intentional in their parenting, creating their own vision for themselves in this endeavor.
I have long term experience working with acute mental illness, including eating disorders, medical illness and aiding professionals to unlock their creative process to move forward in their careers and personal lives. I am also invested in research and evidenced-based practice based on that research. I also been involved in research examining communication in the mother-infant dyad in the Fogel Lab in the Developmental Psychology department at the University of Utah under Dr. Alan Fogel.