LARA HAAGEN, MA, ATR-BC, LPC
BOARD CERTIFIED ART THERAPIST, LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR
Art Therapy and more
There are a number of verbal, expressive, and sensory based options for how we work together. We can make use all of them, or just one. Your process will be the guide.
Learn more about your options below.
How expressive arts help
Art making is inherently human. We’ve been using art to communicate, express, connect, understand, and transform our experience since the beginning of time. Engaging in an expressive process with the support of a professional art therapist, like myself, can support emotional well-being and personal growth for people of all ages, and with many different needs.
Expressive arts can:
Increase self-esteem, confidence, and resilience
Encourage self-discovery and awareness
Connect words to feelings and experience
Improve communication skills
Soothe and reduce stress, and experience new ways of coping
Begin to make meaning in the face of confusion, crisis or loss
Provide an experience of choice and control
Support feelings of well-being and increased quality of life
Increase creative problem solving
Provide a space for meditative and mindful experiences
Support personal growth
Reorganize thoughts and reframe experience
Support healthy brain function and connections
Specifically for children:
Improve motor skills and eye-hand coordination
Encourage complex thinking and problem solving
Support healthy cognitive and emotional development
Therapy at Temenos Creative can support those experiencing:
Life changes and transitions
Trauma & adverse experiences
Physical illness and chronic pain
Substance Use Disorders
“The use of art for healing and mastery is at least as old as the drawings on the walls of caves... while art therapy itself is highly sophisticated, the art process on which it rests is simple and natural.”
Judith Rubin, PhD, ATR-BC; Child Art Therapy
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.
Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.
Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by ethical standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Honoring individuals’ values and beliefs, art therapists work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth.
Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience, and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.
American Art Therapy Association
For children, making art is natural and can be much like play. Children use art to express inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences, especially that which can be difficult to express through words- they can "tell without talking”.
Similarly, the normal emotional changes that occur during adolescence can make talking about thoughts, feelings, and experiences more difficult. Making art can help give voice to the unspeakable, as well as provide some distance. This makes it easier to explore, work through, and problem solve; all in child-focused and self-directed way.
How is art therapy helpful for adults?
You may think to yourself, I’m not an artist- how can art therapy work for me?
Art therapy isn’t about making something to hang on your wall, it’s about connecting to your inner world in a way that is deeper than words- all within an environment of support, non-judgment, and empathy.
No prior experience or talent is necessary to experience the benefits of art therapy. Your personal symbolic communication becomes a stepping stone to explore memories, feelings, thoughts, goals, values, and beliefs. The work of art-making builds a bridge between words and feelings, to ourselves, and to others.
Sandtray is another form of expressive therapy where figurines, miniatures, and natural objects are chosen and placed in a tray of sand to create a scene or tell a story. It's often thought of as a "three dimensional" form of art therapy.
In choosing these “ready-made” symbols and giving them personal meaning, your inner experience, conflicts and struggles, emotions and thoughts can be represented in the real world. Inside the sandtray, you can discover and observe them more easily.
I draw on my years of experience as an art therapist working with imagery and symbol creation to inform my work with this technique.
How is Sandtray Therapy helpful for children and adolescents?
Play is the work of childhood. ~ Jean Piaget
For children, sandtray therapy, like art therapy, is a lot like play. Children are drawn to the sensory experience of the sand and the miniatures, much like they are drawn to toys. Children often don’t yet have the words to fully describe thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Allowing the child to “play” with these objects and materials with the support of a professional therapist, and within the natural boundaries of the sandtray, the child can experience a safe place for exploration, expression, and working through conflicts in a non-verbal way.
Like younger children, adolescents also experience difficulty finding the words to express their complex feelings and describe what they are going through. Talk therapy can be a pretty intense and uncomfortable experience. Working with the miniatures and sand in the tray can provide some distance and relieve the pressure to talk, while providing space for self-reflection and expression, working through issues, making sense of experiences, and creating personal solutions in a non-threatening way.
How does Sandtray Therapy help Adults?
Sometimes we can feel stuck. Working with the primary tactile experience of sand, and images and symbols in the form of miniatures and figurines, can bypass the “logical” parts of ourselves and get to feelings and experience that are just out of the reach of consciousness. Once this material begins to literally take shape in the tray, it can then be looked at and considered without judgment.
Sometimes slowing down and talking less can help us to sense into our needs, make meaning, and create forward movement of our own design.