In this episode, Melissa talks about her vast experiences working with many clients during her art therapy career. She discusses current groups that she works with focusing on burnout and mindfulness. Melissa shares the story of her own community arts initiative called Open House BK and the balancing act of being a visiting instructor and clinician. She dives into the role of compassionate inquiry within her sessions as well as the value of those happy little accidents!
Melissa is an artist and a licensed, registered, board-certified art therapist. She holds a Masters in Art Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute, certification in Integrated Mental Health/Addiction Treatment, and a BFA in Painting from The University of Central Florida. Melissa has ten years of experience as a Creative Arts Therapist, working as a primary therapist, group therapist and program assistant director. Melissa uses art therapy interventions to support individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, mental illness, developmental disorders, addiction, familial issues, life transitions, and stigmatization. Melissa’s clients can expect an eclectic approach to using art in therapy that includes tools and theory from humanistic, attachment and behavioral practice approaches, interwoven with mindfulness and self-compassion. She meets her clients where they are right now and uses creativity and art to help them get to where they want to be. In addition to her work as a therapist, Melissa founded Open House BK (est. 2010), a community arts initiative that provides affordable pop-up events, emerging artist exhibitions, and therapeutic workshops. Open House BK strives to shed light on the arts and community as integral for social justice, personal healing and progress. Currently, Melissa is a Visiting Instructor for Pratt Institute’s Art Therapy Department and Chapter Delegate to the New York Art Therapy Association. Melissa is also a practicing studio artist, exhibiting in galleries, universities and alternative spaces. In her artwork, she creates interactive installation art as a source of viewer engagement. Melissa believes creativity exists within everyone, serving as a gateway to heal, transform and explore the impact of one’s internal and external experiences.
Lisa Dion’s Book “Aggression in Play Therapy”
The book mentioned about Bob Ross, Happy Clouds, Happy Trees
Melissa’s photo was done by Gili Levinson, https://www.instagram.com/giiiliiii/