Tell us about what you do at THIRA Health.
Emily: I have previously been a milieu therapist and am currently a primary and art therapist. I work with both adults and teens, and currently run several art-based therapy groups, DBT skills groups, and milieu coaching in addition to individual therapy sessions. I enjoy combining my training in art therapy with emotion focused therapy and DBT to facilitate a deeper understanding of the present moment in a way that’s creative and tangible.
When did you first decide to create a career around art (or mental health)? What inspired your path?
Emily: I wasn’t always aware that art therapy was a career that existed, even after college. I have my BA in Fine Arts and after several internships in stained glass design and restoration, decided it was not what I wanted to turn into a career. I’ve always been fascinated with psychology, and after some research, I found the perfect synthesis of my passion for art and my obsession with psychology in art therapy. I credit my ability to infuse the dynamics of DBT with creativity to art therapy.
What is Art Therapy?
Emily: Art Therapy is a way in which many people can express themselves, especially persons who have difficulty with vulnerability, have a tendency to intellectualize emotion, or those who are non-verbal,. Art therapy essentially allows people to sit with and explore their emotions rather than rationally describing them, which is useful during exposure therapy. It can also serve as a way for individuals to gain confidence in an area they may have previously deemed inaccessible. My favorite way to advocate for art therapy is to show clients how beautiful and moving images can be created from their own painful and sometimes seemingly intolerable emotion.
Do you have a favorite artist and medium of art? If so, who and what?
Emily: I’ve always been fascinated by hyper realism and expressionism. My current favorite artists are Kit King who draws hyper realistic, and beautifully moving figures, and Eric Lacombe, who’s portraits are quite haunting. I think a large part of me is fascinated by the person behind the artwork, as well as the works themselves. I also adore Vladimir Kush.