Creative Alternatives Counseling

Services​

Art Therapy

“Art is the set of wings to carry  you out of your own entanglement.”

  – Joseph Campbell

So, what exactly is Art Therapy?

In the simplest terms, art therapy is psychotherapy that makes use of the art process/product instead of, or in addition to, more traditional verbal therapies. Art therapy is a specialized form of psychotherapy, which features visual art among the many tools available to support your personal journey and growth. Engaging in the creative process and reflecting on the artwork can foster self-awareness, reconcile emotional conflicts, reduce anxiety, enhance self-esteem, and manage stress and traumatic experiences. Art therapy is based on the premise that we are all creative beings and art comes in all forms! There is no wrong way to express yourself creatively — just a willingness to be open to the process.

Do I need to be an artist to participate in Art Therapy?

Art experience or skill is not a requirement to benefit from art therapy. You do not need to be an artist — but if you are, that’s cool too! I can assist you in using the art materials if you have any questions. Art therapy isn’t about being a great artist or achieving perfect technique. It’s about allowing yourself the freedom to express, explore and expand beyond your comfort zone. It’s about being open to the process of getting to know yourself in a different way. If you deal with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or trauma, or if you’d like to finally get to the root of your struggles, art therapy can provide an alternative way to express, process and transcend these challenges.

How can Art Therapy help me?

Perhaps you have been in traditional talk therapy, and felt you have reached a limit. Or maybe you feel stuck and want to try an alternative way to process things. Because art is a universal language, anyone can benefit from art therapy.

Some of the ways art therapy can help:

  • Creates order and meaning from inner chaos, deepen self awareness, enhance authenticity, increase self-empowerment, foster spontaneity, discover your unique strengths and residencies, and ultimately create positive change. 
  • Promotes self-discovery on a deeper level and acts as a reflection of the body/mind/spirit, increasing insight to your inner emotions, memories and experiences.
  • Makes the unconscious conscious thus fostering deeper self-awareness — at times it can get to the root of things  and resolve more quickly than traditional talk therapy
  • Less confrontational way to work through difficult issues.
  • Inherently mindful, relaxing, and life-affirming – it reduces anxiety and naturally induces a state of flow
  • When words are not enough, or are inadequate
  • Acts as a reflection of the body/mind/spirit to enhance insight into your emotions, memories and experiences
  • Gets you out of your head; art-making allows you to get out of your “thinking” brain, to tap into the more creative, intuitive brain

Who are Art Therapists?

Art therapists are Masters or Doctorate level mental health practitioners. We are skilled at talk therapy (and sometimes we even leave the art materials on the shelf) but our “superpower” is that we are also skilled at using art media, the creative process and the resulting artwork, when words are not enough. In Art Therapy, professional art therapists are trained to use an additional tool — the artistic process and product. Sometimes this is the perfect complement to the verbal aspects of more traditional psychotherapy to allow for deeper insight and growth.

How does online Art Therapy work?

Similar to in-person therapy, there is no one way for a session to unfold. Treatment is varied based on individual needs and goals. Sometimes art-making might be spontaneous… perhaps a discussion sparks an idea for an image, so you might create  in session where the art therapist can simply hold space as a “witness” to your process (this can be accomplished by simply adjusting your computer camera on your work area). Then,  you might look at the image together to discover any personal meaning or insights. Other times you might bring in artwork made outside of session that you want to explore, or your art therapist might provide an art therapy directive to focus on a particular issue that you are working to resolve.

“Research supports the use of art therapy within a professional relationship for the therapeutic benefits gained through artistic self-expression and reflection.”

  – American Art Therapy Association, 2016

What about art supplies?

Any basic art supplies will do– pastels, colored pencils, paint, collage materials, etc. I would be happy to give you an idea of what to have on-hand.

Or, Ask me about a complimentary tote of art supplies available exclusively to clients so you can  start your creative journey.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”

– James Baldwin

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MARI®

“A mandala is the psychological expression of the totality of the self ”

 –  Carl Jung

The MARI® ( mandala assessment research instrument) is an accurate and comprehensive psychological reading by a trained practitioner that uses symbols, known as mandalas, to reveal the inner truth and reality of a person. It has been described as ‘a light that gets flipped on in the psyche ‘

It is based on the cyclical nature of life, representing change and growth. In the form of the ‘Great Round’, it gives a visual representation of where you are in your journey and allows you to literally see your strengths and challenges, as it guides you towards change and healing.

A MARI® reading reflects the13 stages we traverse in our life journey—over and over again-  and can be thought of as the ‘Hero’s Journey’. As explained by Joseph Campbell the 4 stages of the Hero’s Journey include:

Home the safe and comfortable place before we ‘wake up’ to The Call which tells us there can be more to life that what we are living, it requires shifts, changes and endings. The Ordeal is the painful place where everything falls apart. While it is a difficult stage, it also contains the seeds of our greatest learning for our return Home Again, the place where everything comes together again, creativity flows, our consciousness has been raised, and we are changed forever.

Each stage informs and prepares us for the next

Each stage has its own different qualities, challenges, rewards, and requirements for growth

MARI® is the only psychological assessment that provides a visual picture of the psyche. Once a person can see their choices, they are in a far better position to change or enhance their life

For more info click here

https://www.maricreativeresources.com/what-is-mari/

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online therapy​

I provide online therapy via secure, easy to use video.

You’ve probably heard that “online therapy is the future” of mental health care—certainly going through a year-long pandemic has magnified the need for and effectiveness of telehealth, and it just makes sense during this digital era in which the internet has had a profound impact in all areas of our lives.

I began my exclusively online practice before COVID made Zoom ubiquitous in our lives. I did so because online therapy can be a game-change for many people who seek to improve mental wellness. If you have a busy lifestyle, a high public profile, wish to find just the right therapist or specialty in your area, struggle to go outside, or you just like the idea of therapy from the comfort of your space, no special equipment is required for our private and confidential platform, which is free and easy to install. There is a great deal of research that demonstrates that telemental health/online therapy/video therapy/e-therapy (and all of the other names it falls under) is as effective as, and often more effective than, traditional office-based psychotherapy. via https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/online-therapy.aspx

How it works: All you need is a secure, high speed internet connection.

A secure video link is created for your appointment and sent to you via email. Videoconferencing sessions take place on a private and confidential platform which is free and easy to install. As long as you have reliable internet, capable of streaming video from services like Netflix or Hulu, then your connection is fast enough to participate in Online Therapy. It’s seriously super-easy!

I’d be happy to set up a  free 15  minute consultation via  Video platform so you can experience it firsthand and see if video therapy is right for you!

6 reasons why online therapy might be right for you:

  1. Convenience
    One of the biggest reasons people choose to work with a therapist online is that it can be so convenient. Convenience means you can be in the comfort of your own space, no loss of time due to traffic, transportation problems, or mobility limitations. No need to take off extra time from work for travel to/from an office. In fact, you can even have your session from your office, or during your lunch hour.  Convenience also means not missing work or family responsibilities when time demands are crucial. Online therapy allows you to find just the right therapist for your needs without committing extra time to commute to the session.
  1. Privacy
    If you’re worried about privacy or if someone seeing you walking into a therapist’s office is of concern,  you may appreciate the way that you can access online therapy from the privacy of your own space. Unlike traditional therapy of having to go out in public, online treatment gives you anonymity ( only your therapist is aware of your identify)  In online video therapy, besides being alone in the room, the therapist generally uses earphones or a headset, so you’re not going to be overheard by anyone else (on their end, at least). And all communications ( video, email, text) are HIPAA secure.
  1. Choice
    You may have constraints that limit your options for finding a therapist  such as, location, unpredictable schedule, high anxiety, a physical challenge,  etc.…. Or you may have a preference for a therapist who has specific expertise in the problem you want help with, or who is trained in a particular type of therapy, (such as Art Therapy) . If you live in a rural community, or are an expat living abroad, it might simply be impossible to find a local therapist . Online therapy allows you to get exceptional therapy with a highly credentialed and experienced therapist who has the expertise you’re looking for.
  1. Comfort
    Along with the convenience of accessing counseling just about anytime, anywhere – online therapy is a great option if you tend to get stressed or anxious about new environments and new people. During your online therapy session you can be in any  space where you feel comfortable ( as long as it has good Wi-Fi and privacy). You can have your coffee/tea beside you, and you can look out of the window at a reassuringly familiar view. After a therapy session, people may sometimes feel a sense of heightened sensitivity and/or emotional fragility With online therapy you don’t have to worry about having to go out in public to get home after  a particularly intense session Additionally, online therapy can seem more comfortable or easier than talking to someone in person, especially when revealing personal or private information.
  1. Reliability
    With internet counselling that you can access from home or work, there’s no need to struggle through rain-soaked streets, or to drive through hazardous fog, spray or high winds. And you won’t miss out on a session due to snow or ice, or risk being late for your session because of roadworks, a broken-down bus or cancelled transit.
  1. Flexibility
    Many online therapists are able to have more flexibility in their schedules. can sometimes accommodate changes and alterations that you may need to make with regard to your session times and days. If one week or month is never the same as the next, and you’re working in different places on different days, you may really love the flexibility of being able to access therapy from wherever you may happen to be. And if your therapist charges for missed sessions, and you travel frequently, you will still be able to access your session every week.

corporate arts & wellness workshops​

Paintbrushes covered in paint

Creative Alternatives, LLC was founded on the premise that mental health and emotional well-being shouldn’t have to be sacrificed in order to achieve success in this crazy-busy, fast-paced world. I’m excited to offer “therapy beyond the couch” through on-site OR virtual Corporate Arts & Wellness Workshops. Facilitated by a team of professional Art Therapists, some of the ways our programs help to improve and support employee wellness include igniting creativity, relieving stress, enhancing communication and collaboration, increasing self-awareness, and improving spontaneity.

We fully understand the demands of a busy lifestyle and the challenges of work/life balance, the primary struggle of which is individual self-care; a necessary part of life that is non-negotiable when it comes to cultivating the best we can be. If we do not give the same energy and attention to our emotional, mental and physical health as we do in our jobs, we are not able to be the best version of ourselves for our family, friends, work and co-workers.

Our Corporate Wellness Workshops are creative and collaborative. They consist of specific art directives (not art lessons; the focus is on the creative process rather than a final product), tailored to your organization’s needs, and absolutely no art experience is necessary. We also integrate mindfulness, writing, movement, meditation, drama, music and other holistic and creative approaches as additional elements to enhance the process. Our sessions can be designed to focus on objectives ranging from stress reduction and relaxation, to team-building and developing creativity in the workplace. Each workshop includes hands-on art experiences to provide participants with the opportunity to use alternative approaches to communicating ideas and problem solving.

The arts evoke responses and create outcomes that are different from traditional employee wellness and personal development programs. Creating art reveals patterns and structures from which insight can be gained to foster personal creativity and productivity.  It releases tension and often demonstrates that order can be created out of chaos. Not to mention, creating art is innately relaxing and FUN!

As an art therapist and integrative psychotherapist, I truly believe in the power of creativity to nurture and develop Wellness and the necessity that mental health should  be treated holistically, from a mind-body-soul perspective , for ultimate well-being. We are living in a world of constant change, uncertainty, technology overload, and are performing at a pace that doesn’t leave much room for mindfulness, play and just simply “being.”

Your Employees will return to work feeling energized, inspired, calm, confident, and focused. Let us help your organization begin a journey of self-discovery.

emdr

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a well-researched , evidence-based psychotherapy method that is effective in relieving emotional distress associated with many psychological disorders.

EMDR was originally designed to treat individuals suffering from PTSD as traumatic memories from the past caused disturbing emotional responses in the present. In recent years, EMDR’s use has expanded to treat a variety of disorders beyond PTSD, such as chronic anxiety, panic disorder ,depression, phobias , grief and loss ,performance anxiety , acute trauma , and many other areas of distress.

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How EMDR is different

EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. For some clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other psychotherapies.

EMDR is recognized as an effective treatment by the American Psychological Association, World Health Organization, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, among other national and international organizations.

( EMDRIA)

EMDR therapy can address a wide range of challenges including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Depression and bipolar disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Performance anxiety
  • PTSD and other trauma and stress-related issues
  • Sexual assault

For more information about EMDR https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkfln-ZtWeY

Meaningful Therapy Without Limits!

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Consultation & Mentoring

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Laura Spinelli  offers online art-therapy and/or LPC supervision/mentoring via secure, HIPPA compliant video for recent graduates as  they work towards licensing, and any new professional who would like additional help and mentoring in their careers

 For additional information, don’t hesitate to reach out!

“What makes humans so extraordinary is that we have imagination; that we can think about creating worlds different from the ones we are in. If we are lucky, we use the misery that we go through to create better things…we are fundamentally profoundly creative and transforming people.”

 –  Bessel A. van der Kolk