“As a therapist, I offer an open environment where communication, creativity, and honesty allow for personal growth and change.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
Personally, I have always best expressed myself — my feelings, thoughts, and ideas — through art and connection. After spending many years as an artist and an art educator, I discovered that my connection to this work extended beyond myself. What I enjoyed most was creating space for others to do the same: to create in order to explore their emotional and social selves. I discovered the field of art therapy, which emphasizes process over product. The utilization of art making combined with verbal communication as a therapeutic intervention made all the sense in the world to me. With clients, I find that it allows an access into the subconscious that words alone are not always able to unlock.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
My approach is humanistic and individualistic. I aim to meet each and every client where they are and support their emotional space. As the therapist, I offer an open environment where communication, creativity, and honesty allow for personal growth and change. Although therapeutic work is serious in nature, I encourage humor and casual communication when appropriate. I truly believe that art therapy can mean many things and, when explored flexibly, can be for everyone. Most of my work is focused on adolescents — people ages 12–18 — with some family work if it serves the client's needs. I also offer professional development to fellow clinicians, educators, and non-profit organizations.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
Affordability, socioeconomic limitations, historical experiences leading to stigmatization, and a lack of representation of diverse clinicians to best meet the needs of a client, regardless of demographic.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
There is no one modality, approach, or clinician that is right for all. Therapy takes time to work and for results to show in daily life and in relationships. It takes trust, safety, and honesty in order to work.
What is art therapy and how does it differ from typical talk therapy?
Art therapy offers a non-verbal language through which one processes their most dormant and vulnerable feelings, experiences, and self-reflections in a symbolic, expressive, and meditative medium. Art therapy creates an essential buffer between disclosure or epiphany, and is a trust-building process. It can foster joy, relaxation, and an unpacking of emotions without the pressure of verbal interaction. It can offer the therapist and client an opportunity to process the art together and reveal important information.
“Art therapy offers a non-verbal language through which one processes their most dormant and vulnerable feelings, experiences, and self-reflections in a symbolic, expressive, and meditative medium.”
Interested in speaking with Naomi?