Over four years ago, in January of 2012, I was on the fast track to becoming an art teacher. I had been accepted into a Master’s in Teaching program and had completed all the required prerequisites my senior year of college. I had wanted to be an art teacher my whole life butat the last minute, I found out about the art therapy at Eastern Virginia Medical School and just had to apply for the program. I instantly fell in love with the field and in April of my senior year, I was accepted. My life changed and before I knew it I was headed to EVMS to complete my Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling. I had three different internships working as an art therapy intern while I was in graduate school. My first internship was at a Catholic school, my second was at a state psychiatric hospital and my final internship was at a juvenile detention center. I graduated in May of 2014 and quickly jumped into the working world.
My first job was at the Rivermont School in Fredericksburg. I was working as a mental health counselor II. I was able to assist clients throughout the day during their classroom activities and hosted an art therapy group about two times per week. It was a whirlwind transition as I left behind my life in graduate and immediately began working.
In September of 2014, I started working at Therapeutic Interventions. I was hired as a day treatment counselor and have been working at George Washington Middle School ever since. The purpose of day treatment services is to provide the clients with support throughout the entire school day. By providing clients with day treatment services, ideally they will obtain the support that they need to function at their highest level while staying in the public school system. My adolescent clients all have at least one primary mental health diagnosis. I absolutely love working with my clients. I am able to see some of my individual clients for a few hours per week of art therapy sessions. I have also had the opportunity to host various art therapy groups, as well as mediation sessions, with clients and their peers.
In June of 2015, I began working intensive in-home and conducting art therapy sessions in the community. I have gained experience conducting both individual sessions and family sessions. Intensive in-home has been such a positive experience for me. The flexibility of scheduling along with the ability to conduct and design specific art therapy interventions has been very rewarding. In February of 2016, I started to conduct assessments and reassessments for my company. I continue to work towards obtaining my supervision hours for both my ATR and LPC and look forward to seeing what the future may hold.
Overall, this has been a whirlwind experience over the past four years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Art therapy is my life’s passion and it pushes me to be the best version of myself. While it’s not always easy in this field, it is completely worth it, even on the most difficult of days.