My teaching is currently centered on art therapists who are learning and training to work with people in therapeutic, medical, and community contexts. As a teacher I come from a place of knowing and not-knowing; a place of teaching and learning from my students; a place of experience and humility. I strive to appreciate how my students’ experiences are situated within race, class, ability and gender dynamics, and view my role as encouraging them to explore how their own experiences might inform the work that they do with others. I aim to identify and ask questions that examine how the concepts surrounding ‘therapy’ are complex and intertwined with beliefs, practices, and structures that may support the social reproduction of power and inequality. Questions such as: What are the structures that we are part of? Who benefits? Who is harmed? How do the social, political and economic contexts surrounding these structures influence what happens in them? How can we respond to those dynamics given our roles or positions within these structures? What does it mean to advocate for our clients within these structures? How might we build upon our clients’ strengths? What are our moral and ethical responsibilities as therapists? I endeavor to support my students as they absorb the theory that our curriculum is based in and translate it into practical application. My goal is to ensure their understanding of the material in order to critique it; to be aware of the limitations they will undoubtedly meet when they are applying for jobs post-graduation in the same systems we teach them to question; and to help them figure out how to apply what they learn in a manner that allows them to do the work that is needed while staying true to their values and beliefs.
I apply this philosophy to my other educational pursuits as well which include professional development, educational workshops, and consultation for teachers, mental health professionals, school administrators, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and parent groups. I also provide clinical supervision for post-graduate art therapists and counselors pursuing their art therapy registration (ATR) and/or clinical counselor license (LPC, LCPC), and coordinate peer supervision for professionals.
Click here to learn more about my educational, consulting and supervisory work.
Research and Scholarship
My research is centered on the use of art making and personal narrative to explore experiences and identities that exist outside of and in between the norm, and how they inform social art practice through collective art making, participatory art engagement, and public exhibition, in an effort to promote cross-cultural dialogue and collective social action. My focus is on young people and how we do this work in a way that is developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, sensitive to emotional and psychological concerns, and trauma-informed. I am currently under contract with Jessica Kingsley Publishing to write a book Building Social, Emotional, and Community Engagement with Children through Art Practice: Art-Based Participatory Approaches to Working with Young People (provisional title) that explores these topics and includes documentation of my work over 20 years with children and families who identify as recent immigrants and refugees, school-based K-5 social-emotional learning programs, and community art practice focused on elevating the visibility and voices of young people who use art to make changes that have both grassroots and global impact.
My teaching philosophy is informed by and inextricably tied to my professional practice and my art practice. The links below will lead you to pages that offer my rationale and application of art therapy, as well as the nature of my art making as context for my teaching philosophy.
Click here for examples of my professional work.
Click here for examples of my art work.