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I am an art therapist and licensed professional counselor working in Evanston, Il.
I specialize in helping clients explore later life, with an emphasis on cultivating creativity, connection, and purpose with older adults living with dementia and other physical and cognitive impairments. I thrive in collaboration with care communities, using the arts to build relationships with residents, families, caregivers, and the surrounding community.
As an artist, I use painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber arts, and animation to explore memory and the construction of personal and cultural narratives. Art-making allows me to hold what is usually hidden and undecipherable up to the light, to tell the stories that exist within and around me. Writing is also a significant component of my artistic process; my artwork is often inspired by the writing of my favorite poets, as well as my own creative non-fiction. Through play and exploration with familiar and unfamiliar materials I am able to find peace and relaxation, exploring the depth and joy of the present moment.
This self-reflexive dialogue within my own art practice contributes greatly to my work as an art therapist with people living with dementia. In individual work with clients I facilitate connection and self-expression in the present moment. In both individual and group art therapy sessions, engagement with art materials can have profound implications in our lives; through witnessing each others’ artwork we are able to witness each others’ presence in the world. Through stitching felted objects or fabric seams together we also make our relationships stronger. In painting or drawing collaboratively we reach out and touch the marks made by our neighbors, stretching out of our often closely-contained borders. I build relationships with my clients through art materials. We share what we see and feel, and I witness these revelations.
As an art therapist I introduce art-making to support the fundamental personhood of my clients and to cultivate strong communities. Art materials serve as tools for connection – connection with past identity, connection with peers, caregivers, and family members, and connection with the present moment. My work as an art therapist is built on my fundamental belief in the significance of relationship and socio-cultural context in enhancing selfhood, and the importance of valuing the unique strengths of people with wide-ranging physical and cognitive abilities. I believe that art therapy presents an alternative to a biomedical model of dementia care that emphasizes cognitive loss over present moment strengths. Due to my interest in person-centered care, culture change in long-term care communities, and emphasis on relationship with people living with dementia, my work is informed by Personhood Theory, Relational-Cultural Theory, and Postmodern approaches to therapy. As an art therapist I use a wide range of art materials and processes with my clients, including painting, drawing, fiber arts, collage, stop-motion animation, paper-making, sculpture, and poetry. Please peruse both my own artwork and the art of the older adults and caregivers I have had the privilege of collaborating with!