Expressive Art Therapy Non-Profit on the way

I am so very excited to announce that Jamie Heavey, LPC, ATR and myself are working to establish a non profit Expressive Art Therapy Studio in Dallas!   We are currently writing our business plan which is a lengthy and not so fun and exciting process compared to art making.  We are looking at potential locations that have space we can afford.  Next we will name a board and then start fundraising so we can open the doors.  I know there is such a huge need for expressive art therapy services and we can not wait to be able to provide them to our community!  We are also excited to have a place to train students from many universities near and far!


We are ready to get messy and take risks!

Want to help this dream launch?  Go here:

Every bit helps to bring expressive arts therapy to our community!

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New Office

This month has seen a few changes.  I have relocated my office to 9550 Forest Lane, Suite 715 – F.   I enjoyed my time at the White Rock location but a move was forced when the build was sold to RISD.

Update: I have an opportunity to love to a newly built office across the street. It is part of a new office concept.  It will have a coffee bar in the waiting area that is serviced by the building and a conference room right outside my door which will be very convenient for a big project I have in the works!

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Parentified children and art making

Child_Parent_Reverse-300x300In my work with children who have been removed from abuse or neglect settings, more often than not children will display “parentified” behavior.  These children have experienced a role reversal between parent and child.  The child has, by necessity, taken over the parental role, sacrificing their own needs in order to maintain the needs of the parent.  Foster or adoptive parents will often complain that their child is consistently arguing, being bossy, manipulating, sneaking, and outright parenting siblings.

It is very hard for a parentified child to relate to peers.  They have been so busy maintaining the emotional and physical needs that the parent has neglected that they have unmet developmental goals.  Letting go of feelings of responsibility and playing or being silly can be a challenge.

Art therapy is a powerful therapeutic method for these kids.  The art process helps loosen up rigidness and allows for a safe expression of playfulness and exploration.  One child who participated in art therapy started out feeling very self critical and afraid to make a mistake. Once she had developed trust with her therapist she was more tolerant to experiment and try new things risking mistakes.  To be able to tolerate mistakes is a huge milestone that mirrors the capacity to have self worth regardless of outcomes.   Children who parent, tend to have a great need to be the “good” child and have less tolerance for mistakes.  This is one way art therapy heals.

Watch for these behaviors:

  • Grades are falling
  • Not making or keeping friends
  • Acting depressed, anxious or uninterested in things
  • Overly concerned with siblings following rules
  • Overly interested in adults conversations
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Medical Art Therapy Blog

Rachel Schreibman has a blog all about the growing field of Medical art therapy.  Medical Art Therapy

I have worked in a hospital setting for several years and love it.  Working with both children and adults is amazing.  Creativity during the healing process….so fascinating.  Don’t steal that line…I may use it someday!

The medical field is rapidly catching on to the myriad benefits that art making has for patient care.   Check out her blog!

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Medieval Russian Boys drawings show boys will be boys whatever century it is…

Here is the article

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If only she knew….

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Arts in Healthcare

Creative Arts Therapy May Improve Quality Of Life For Pediatric Cancer Patients
25 Apr 2010

As health care professionals continue placing greater emphasis on the quality of life (QOL) of childhood cancer patients, researchers have found that creative arts therapy (CAT) may improve QOL in pediatric oncology patients undergoing therapy. Their findings were published in the May/June 2010 edition of Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, published by the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON).

“By using creative expression, a child or adolescent with cancer can express feelings about the course of the disease and tumultuous treatment through dance/movement, music, and art. This outlet allows the patient to creatively and kinesthetically process the assaults of cancer and its treatment, and thus establish a stronger sense of self and improved quality of life,” the authors wrote.

Jennifer R. Madden, MS, RN, CPNP, of the University of Colorado Medical School, Denver, and colleagues conducted their research in three phases – a small, randomized pilot with brain tumor patients only, a descriptive study observing all eligible hematology/oncology patients who received CAT, and qualitative interviews with medical and nursing providers.

“Little is known about the effect of CAT on QOL in children receiving chemotherapy in the outpatient venue,” the authors wrote. “Because many children spend 4 to 8 hours in the infusion room, patients, parents, and staff have verbalized the need for additional stimuli such as arts and crafts or music to make the hours spent receiving treatment more tolerable. In addition, there are continuous requests for psychological support from patients and staff. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of CAT on the QOL of brain tumor patients and subsequently all patients receiving infusions in the outpatient hematology/oncology clinic at a tertiary care pediatric hospital.”

“All participating patients and parents reported satisfaction with the CAT intervention and stated that they would like to see the program continue. Future research investigating biophysical measurements or specific symptoms (pain, nausea) is warranted to pro¬vide concrete evidence to the medical community of the benefit of CAT. In addition, in this era of holistic nursing, CAT is the perfect example of how a nurse can involve the whole patient using the creative arts to aid in healing from the traumatic treatment of cancer in a child,” the authors concluded.

Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON)

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