A Winding Road to Becoming an Art Therapist

   

From the time I can remember I have always loved creating and being around art.  Whether it was sitting at my childhood table with my twin sister and drawing from my mother’s “how to teach art” book, painting rocks in our back yard, or designing fabulous outfits with our fashion plate set.   I have always had art materials all around me.  Creating has always been a natural instinct for me.

Looking back, I remember dreaming about becoming everything from a famous artist, a fashion designer, to an art teacher.  However, it wasn’t until my undergraduate years at The Ohio State University when I changed my major from Nursing to Art Education that I learned about Art Therapy. 

From my first introduction, I knew that becoming an Art Therapist is what I wanted to do.  At the same time, I learned that achieving what I wanted might take time.

Becoming an Art Therapist was a dream and a goal that I held onto for many years before having the opportunity to make it a reality.  In the beginning, affording graduate school was a problem.  After taking out many student loans for my undergraduate education, I had to put graduate school on hold.  Throughout my high school and college years, I worked in various customer service related positions, which eventually gained me entry into the business world.  From there my plan was to pay down my student loans, save some money, and go back for my graduate degree in Art Therapy. 

Great plan in theory, however as the saying goes, “plans are made to be broken.”  I did have a successful business career but my plans of continuing my education remained on hold for longer than I had ever expected.  At one point, I gave up entirely. 

Sometime after losing my first husband on 9/11, I threw away my portfolio of artwork that I had created over many years.  (Unfortunately, it was before this current computer age of cameras and pictures everywhere, so I did not have many photos, only a few slides of my artwork.)

Thankfully, I had a strong will coupled with loving and supportive people in my life, all of which helped me find my way back to believing in achieving my goal.  I was able to build up a new art portfolio and eventually graduate with my MPS from Pratt Institute with honors.  Finally I made my move into the art therapy world.  An opportunity, that I am forever thankful for achieving. 

I am always interested in learning about other people's journey to their career.