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Student Profiles

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology & Expressive Arts Therapy Program (MA) Program

Student Profiles

Crystal TalbotCrystal Talbot is a first year student in the MSPP Expressive Arts Therapy Program. She first heard about Expressive Arts Therapy while considering MSPP. She knew that she wanted to do some form of counseling and that she had an interest in working with children. After first hearing about Expressive Arts Therapy she did some research and realized that she had already been utilizing some of the techniques with the kids in her after school program.

Crystal first heard about MSPP while she was an undergrad at Wheelock College. When representatives from MSPP visited her psychology class she immediately became interested in the school and it quickly became her first choice. Crystal was so confident that MSPP was the right school for her that it was the only school that she applied to.

Crystal enjoys singing and writing and she incorporates these activities into her work with children. She has been learning about sandbox therapy and she would like to use it with clients in the future. She believes that the arts are a natural way to cope and that Expressive Arts Therapy can be more fun for clients than more traditional modes of therapy, especially for children. Instead of talking you can get and move or sing which helps you open up and learn new things about yourself.

Leana PiletLeana Pilet is a first year student in the Expressive Arts Therapy program at MSPP. She always had an interest in psychology but wasn't sure exactly what she wanted to do. While she was interning at a middle school she found that sometimes sitting down and just talking to the kids wasn't very affective. After seeing social workers use play and art in their practice she decided to try bringing coloring sheets with her when she met with the students. As the kids began to color they also began to relax and open up. Leana herself enjoys painting and drawing as a form of stress relief.

It was at the MSPP Open House that Leana first learned about Expressive Arts Therapy. She had come to learn about the Forensic program and was drawn to the welcoming atmosphere at MSPP with it's tight knit community, homey feel, and art all over the building. After the Open House she decided to apply to the Expressive Arts Therapy program.

Leana enjoys Expressive Arts Therapy because it can be affective where other modalities have failed. She enjoys being able to introduce people to the field and believes that is important for people to have some way to express themselves, whether through art or other activities. She says that many people incorporate aspects of Expressive Arts Therapy in their lives without even realizing through things such as journaling and painting. Her goal is to help people be able to adopt Expressive Arts Therapy techniques into their everyday lives.

Lacey SassoLacey Sasso is a first year student in the Expressive Arts Therapy program at MSPP. She is a professional dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher. She had an interest in counseling and wanted to be able to combine that interest with her passion for dance. She found that the program at MSPP would allow her to get dual certification, which was one of the reasons that she made the decision to attend MSPP.

Lacey was also drawn to MSPP because of its focus on field experience, the small class sizes, and the variety of classes offered. She also liked its location, close to Boston, and the warm, familial atmosphere. Studying at MSPP gives her a wide variety of tools as the program integrates counseling psychology as well as Expressive Arts Therapy.

Lacey loves the Expressive Arts because it applicable to a wide variety of clients and gives her new ways of working with people. One thing that she would like for people to understand about Expressive Arts therapy is that it is not about judging your art, or making art that is "good" or "beautiful", it's about finding a medium to express your emotions.

Anna RioloAnna Riolo is a first year student in the Expressive Arts Therapy program at MSPP. She began in the Counseling Psychology program and transferred after her first semester. Anna does not have a formal background in the arts but has taken classes in metal, ceramics and glass and has always used art as a way to relax or express herself, and so found it fitting to make art a part of her work as a therapist.

Anna chose to come to MSPP because of the community feel. She knows that she can always talk to a professor or a peer openly without feeling that she will be judged or not listened to. She finds that MSPP is supportive and helpful not only with classes but with future career goals as well. She switched to Expressive Arts after taking Dr. AlAjarma's Lifespan Development class. It was the class that she felt most comfortable in and his use of art brought the class together as a group. Once she found out that she could switch programs it was an easy decision.

One thing that Anna would like people to know about Expressive Arts is that it is not easy. She says, "Although we have a lot of fun as a group, it takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment. To be successful in this program you must be willing to grow and learn. The more that you put in, the more you will gain."

Kristin BruceKristin Bruce is a first year student in the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at MSPP. She began in the Counseling Psychology program and switched after her first semester. She made the choice to enter the Expressive Arts therapy program after learning more about it through speaking with professors and getting to do some Expressive Arts activities in some of her other classes. Kristin plays bass guitar as well as flute and enjoys charcoal drawing, so combining art with therapy is something that felt natural to her. She also has a background in therapeutic riding and so had an interest in utilizing techniques other than traditional talk therapy.

Kristin chose to come to MSPP for a variety of reasons, though it was the warm community feel that clinched her decision and led her to not even apply anywhere else. She loves the emphasis on field experience as well as on helping the community and focus on underserved populations. She also enjoys the small class sizes and close relationships with professors.

Kristin feels that art is a natural form of expression and that it can open up doors for clients who may be unable to express themselves fully in a purely talk therapy setting. She feels that art can often bring awareness to ourselves and is looking forward to finding new ways to utilize the arts in practice. One thing that she would like people to know about Expressive Arts is that it isn't about making something traditionally beautiful or about interpreting a client's art, it is about allowing the client to express themselves in new ways.

Gared DeadyGared Deady is a first year student in the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at MSPP. He began in the Counseling Psychology program and switched after his first semester at MSPP. Gared began his undergraduate studies by majoring in Fine Arts before switching to Psychology. He works mainly in pencil and paints but enjoys exploring other mediums.

Gared chose MSPP because of its small and intimate nature and focus on diversity. Gared says, "The community is like a family and the staff support students in a way that shows they really care. They are the gate keepers to this field and care about the quality and education of the next generation."

Gared chose Expressive Arts because the unique combination of the healing power of the arts along with counseling. He likes the focus on gaining self-awareness and feels that it is a more nurturing style of therapy. He also is drawn to the fact that Expressive Arts focuses on the meaning, symbolism, and creative journey of the art rather than the finished piece. "There is no wrong way to expresses yourself." One thing that Gared would like for people outside the field to understand is that "There are endless ways to use EAT as a form of healing. The humanistic quality provides an existential focus, yet the clinical aspects are strongly in place as well. It's extremely well rounded despite its infancy, and is only growing from here."

Updated 5/1/14

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