My Journey as an Art Therapist
I have loved art my whole life. As a child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was an artist. I would draw and paint and colour and collage for hours, always thinking up new projects and ways to keep my hands busy. But, somewhere along the line, I was convinced that art wasn't a real career, or that to be an artist you had to be wildly talented, with a one-in-a-million shot.
Thankfully, I don't think that anymore. My training as an art therapist has taught me that you do not need to make money making art to call yourself an artist. If you create art, you are an artist.
I didn't even know that art therapy was a career until my second year of undergrad. I walked into a career fair and saw an art therapy booth. I wasn't even planning to go to the this career fair, yet here I was, cemented to the spot, stunned, on a Tuesday afternoon. I suddenly knew what I was going to do with my life, merging my artistic passion with a purpose-driven career.
It's now been 7 years since that day. I studied psychology and made sure to take extra art courses in my undergrad to keep up my artistic proficiency. I spent one whole summer at an art school, painting and drawing. I worked as recreation support at a Community Living, relishing the days when we had art class; as a craft instructor in under-priviledged schools; as a psychiatric hospital volunteer, running art workshops; and as a support worker at a community organization working alongside a real art therapist (gasp, this was the dream summer job). I applied to that school that I saw at the career fair and was accepted. Then, I moved across the country to attend that school. Now, I've been a counsellor and art therapist for almost exactly one whole year. It's been quite a journey.
If you would like to know more about my story, I was interviewed for a series on local artists called Curated and Curious. I talk about the art I make (and sell! My childhood self would be proud), my personal journey in discovering how art heals and why art therapy works. Check it out here.