Heather Matson, MA, LMFT, ATR-BC and Kristin Kane, MA, LAMFT, ATR
I would like to spotlight Art of Counseling, pllc, whose mission is to create a unique specialty using Creative Art Therapies to foster emotional healing, encourage internal resiliency, enhance personal relationships and give a unique perspective to human storytelling and expression. Art of Counseling is a psychotherapy group practice located in Saint Paul, Minnesota that provides mental health services to clients in the metro area. We have clinicians that are Registered Art Therapists (ATR & ATR-BC); trained in movement, play and poetry therapies; licensed or on track for Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) or Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC); trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and intertwines a trauma-informed therapy model in our clinicians’ individual theoretic model of therapy.
Clients that have been attracted to our unique approach have been those who struggle with feeling stuck, depressed mood, anxious, nightmares and sleep issues, trauma, dissociation, self-harm and risk taking, shame and guilt, childhood issues, anger, addictive behavior, eating and body image issues, sex and sexuality, cultural exploration, blended family situations, couples and marriage counseling, abandonment, grief and loss, etc. Even though we in-network for some insurances, Art of Counseling is proud to say that our clinicians’ dedicate a percentage of their case load to individuals on a sliding-fee-scale or pro bono, to help bridge the gap for affordable mental health services. We recognize Creative Art Therapies Week honors the importance of how the arts can heal, enhance and help us all to grow
Alison Barnes, MA
As an art therapist at The University of Minnesota, Masonic Children’s Hospital I work in the child and adolescent outpatient mental health services. My role fits into the day treatment program where children and adolescents attend various groups run by a multi-disciplinary team, which include: school, verbal therapy, skills lab, recreation therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. I facilitate several art therapy groups each day and offer individual art therapy sessions when needed. The focus of the art therapy groups is to address the patient’s treatment goals and work with them to develop skills that help build self-esteem, cope with difficult emotions, and express their thoughts in a creative and visual way. I utilize the art therapy space with an open-studio approach. This way, as an art therapist I am able to meet the patients where they are at and form a therapeutic relationship with them in a safe and non-threatening environment. This approach also works well with our short-term setting and helps patients to build upon their strengths by introducing them to a variety of creative materials and techniques and allowing them to work with their choice of art media. I moved home to Minnesota in 2014, after completing my Masters Degree in Art Therapy from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Currently working towards registration as an art therapist (ATR),I feel very fortunate to have gained a wonderful international experience that informs my practice here in my home state.
Juliana Thrall, MPS, ATR
The Ars Bellum Foundation is a non-profit founded by Veterans for Veterans. Their mission of is to provide clinical art therapy programs for veterans and their families with PTSD and related mental health conditions as a result of trauma from their service. They also showcase art created by Veterans in the Beyond the Battlefield Art Exhibition to raise awareness and educate the public about the realities our soldiers face when they come home. The program currently serves Veterans in the Minneapolis/St. Paul and St. Cloud metro areas with aims to expand to several more locations this coming fall. The art therapy programs serve up to eight Veterans per group and follow a specific trauma focused program to build coping skills, process emotions, and enter into the trauma from combat experiences. They have teamed up with Adler Graduate School and Tee it up for the Troops to expand awareness of how art therapy can be an asset in the healing process from trauma and separation from military life to civilian life.
Juliana Thrall also works as an Art Therapist at Clara's House, a partial hospitalization program and chemical dependency residential program for children and adolescents. Clara's House is part of the Behavioral Health Services Department at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, MN where Juliana's facilitates group and individual art therapy sessions with adolescents who have mental health and/or chemical dependency diagnoses. In this position, Juliana focuses on trauma informed art therapy and aims to develop programming specific to each patient and complete assessments on attachment and trauma. She co-facilitates psychotherapy groups and family therapy groups enhancing the overall quality and depth of the programs offered to patients. She has worked in a variety of facilities, including Adult Inpatient Mental Health, free programs for children with Autism, and group homes for adults with disabilities in Brooklyn, NY before moving to Minnesota.
Craig Balfany, MPS, LPC, ATR
Art Therapy as one of my life's passions. Craig is the current Art Therapy Program Director at the Adler Graduate School in Minnesota. In professional clinical practice over 25 years, I have worked with children, adolescents and adults to cope with mental, physical and chemical health issues using art therapy. Since 2005 I have been integrating the theories of Individual Psychology and the profession of Art Therapy in the graduate training and clinical instruction of students. I have facilitated the training of over 42 Adler program graduates and actively working with 45 current art therapy students. It has been exciting to see the person growth and development of these new professionals and the exciting career opportunities they are creating.
The power of creativity has always been a driving force in my life to overcome obstacles, solve problems and engage with the community and the environment. I use painting, sculpting, clay work, mask making and photography to respond to the integration of internal experience to external stimuli. The creative interaction allows for personal expression, insight and healing. It is a positively dynamic time to be an Art Therapist in Minnesota!