I am a Licensed Family Counselor with a master's degree in Expressive Arts Therapy. Since 2006 I have been helping people of all ages turn adversity into creative growth. My background in person-centered counseling, family systems theory, cognitive-behavioral therapy and arts-based psychodynamic interventions allow me to assess complex situations from multiple points of view and tailor my work to what is best for my clients and their challenges. I am fueled by my passion for tracing how imagination, emotional intelligence, meaning-making and interpersonal relationships connect to build resilience in response to highly stressful situations. My determination to channel painful and frightening events in creatively productive ways has contributed to my choice of combining counseling with the art-making process to support clients use imagery, color, shape, gesture, sound, music, dreamwork and storytelling to release emotions, reduce avoidance and strengthen self-esteem.
HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM MY WORK
If you carry a load that is far too heavy to bear alone or if you experience grief that words fail to express I can help you find that fragment of art that will:
- calm your nervous system
- allow you to feel more in control of your life
- recover personal strength so that not only your hurts but also your hopes will shape your future.
My task is not to eliminate suffering but to give it a voice, to find a form in which it can be expressed. Expression is itself transformation. This is the message art brings. I consider myself an artist of the soul, working with sufferers to enable them to find the proper container for their pain, the form in which it can be embodied.
MY RESEARCH, WRITING AND TEACHING
Meanwhile, I have recorded my research, training and experiences in three academic papers that I enjoy sharing when I am asked to train other counselors and therapists:
- In “Winds of Change: Elements of Creativity in Family Counseling” I document the use of imagination, metaphors and storytelling with clients leaving behind a false façade and giving way to a new sense of vitality while forming a true self.
- In “The Futterwacken Dance. Living in the Underworld of Nonsense” I document what I learned about sound, gesture and meaning-making from a boy living with Autism.
- In “Grief and Dance Movement Therapy. Toward a Somatic Approach for Understanding Loss” I propose framing grief as a bodily phenomenon as a result of what a client with sensory processing disorder and a client with an eating disorder taught me about ambiguous losses and embodiement.
My personal art-making processes include many years of dance, creative writing, drawing and painting, first as a child and adolescent observing my father creatively adjust to a severe neck injury, later on as an adult and mother of two children, playfully gleaning from their budding imagination and creativity. Recently, I contributed as an illustrator to the private publication of a memoire written by a colleague in loving memory of his mother.
My hope is for everybody to recover from adversity through creative community. How? Click on the link below to learn more about Expressive Arts Therapy: How and why it works and whether it's the right therapy choice for you and your loved ones.
Ready to start? Contact Stephany Today