Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

Congratulations to students in the soon-to-be graduating MPS Art Therapy Class of 2017, upon successful completion of their thesis presentations!

Here is the list of students and their thesis topics, in the order they were presented:

The school year ends Monday, May 1.

On Monday, May 8, Robert Grant will be conducting his yearly licensing seminar, where he will cover the intricacies of New York State LCAT Licensing, as well as ATR and ATR-BC credentialing.

Commencement is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 at Radio City Music Hall.


Posted in In Class, Professional Development, Students

Art & Horticulture Therapy

SVA alumni, Lena De Leo, ATR-BC, LCAT, presented to SVA MPS Art Therapy department a lecture about the intersectionality of art and horticulture therapy. She is a supervising art therapist at Green Chimney’s Residential Treatment Center in Brewster, NY, where she works with children and adolescents with a range of emotional challenges in group and individual settings.

Art Show in the Garden

The residents who struggle with a variety of behavioral, social, and emotional challenges worked for months with Lena and a horticulture therapist to create a beautiful and expressive outdoor art gallery. The goals of the project were to improve socialization, increase frustration tolerance while working with natural materials, instill hope as some art provided containment for growing things, and offer a sense of control over their environment and their effective role in their community.

Interactive Weaving Artwork in the Garden

The residential participants gained from the experience by building a connection through nature and exploring new ways of expression in a safe and controlled setting.

As an alumni, Lena was nice enough to answer a few questions about her experience at the SVA MPS Art Therapy department and how it helped prepare her for the creative arts therapy field.

What lead you to work with this population?
At SVA, I worked with adults in a psychiatric setting in my first year internship and then children at an elementary school in my second year internship and I really enjoyed both settings. My population now is conveniently a mix of the two. I also had the opportunity to be part of the 2nd year counseling team and my client had a very similar childhood to the kids I now work with, which has been immensely helpful to think back on from time to time, especially when thinking of treatment plans for some of my current individual clients. When looking for my current placement, I was interested in continuing working in the mental health field, but I was also drawn to the multi-disciplinary approach that is offered at my placement.

What specifically did your experience at SVA help prepare you for in your current position and professional experience?
The special projects at SVA really helped broaden my knowledge and way of thinking for approaching art therapy across varied populations. With my population now, I work with many different subsets- sensory processing disorder, pre-verbal traumatic experiences, death of a parent, learning disabilities, reactive attachment disorder, LGBTQ youth, among others. I often approach groups similarly to how we planned for special projects; the only difference being that our group will run for a longer period time than just once or twice.

What was your biggest obstacle in graduate school and how did that work towards your growth as a professional?
In graduate school, I struggled with my confidence as an effective art therapist. “Trusting the process” was sometimes difficult for me when I thought of all the ways I could’ve done things differently, said something differently, or used a different material. Trusting my supervisors and going to my own personal therapy sessions really helped me gain insight into my own process and counter-transference, which allowed me to then gain confidence. I had to really address my desire to “see results” and redefine what “results” even were, and if they were benefiting me versus benefiting my client. In the end, working with so many amazing colleagues and pushing myself to try new things (2nd year counseling team, as many special projects and lectures as possible) really helped bolster my confidence in my own technique.

Do you have any advice for students graduating in today’s art therapy world?
When I was in school, I kept hearing “you’ll have to pave the way for yourself” and I’m not sure I really believed it until I entered the professional world. My advice for students is to focus on why they do what they do and have a clearly defined vision of why art therapy might be the best practice for any certain population. In the working world, you will constantly have to answer these questions for your colleagues and friends who have a limited or absent understanding of the field of art therapy. If you can advocate for yourself and for the field, you will be able to find art therapy positions where there seemingly weren’t any. Keep an eye out for recreation therapist jobs, social worker jobs, and art educator jobs in various placements. These positions all have the opportunity to be filled by art therapists.
I also think that self-reflection is SO important as a therapist! Be open to supervision, explore counter-transference, and practice self-care! And don’t forget to make your own art!

Text and images compiled by Dana Hillebrand (MPS Class of 2017).

Posted in Uncategorized

This Friday, April 21: Class of 2017 Thesis Presentations & What I Carry Opening Reception


what-i-carry-poster (2)

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Faculty, Galleries, In Class, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects, Students

Transforming Space

Transforming Space, an elective class taught by MPS Art Therapy Department Chair Deborah Farber, is a mini-course designed to offer a deeper understanding of material and method used in art therapy by focusing on long-term projects and non-traditional materials. Unique media interventions including experimentation with dyeing, scale, embellishing, and use of regressive and natural materials are utilized to foster active engagement through exploration of innovative visual narratives.

This class was taught this semester for the first time to MPS Art Therapy students.

Projects were offered that combined diverse modalities such as poetry and building, theater and art, life narratives expressed through creation of objects, and investigating processes of dyeing and painting with found objects.

This non-credit elective class is offered to both first-year and second-year students.

Posted in Art, In Class, Students, Workshops

Community Lecture Series: Art of Autism – Beyond Etiology, Friday, April 14, 6:30-8pm

Join MPS Art Therapy next Friday, April 14,

for our final Community Lecture of the Spring 2017 semester!

This lecture will discuss the latest research on the etiology of autism and later explores treatment plans using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Art Therapy. This talk will feature how Art Therapy can promote communication, emotional growth, social interaction and channel autistic behavior into expressive and creative outlet. Parental perspectives and how to support families affected with autism will conclude this lecture.

Lukas Prokes, PsyD, graduated from SVA with an MPS in Art Therapy and continued with his education in Los Angeles receiving his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD). Mr. Prokes divides his time between private clinical practice and as a founder of a non-profit organization The Half Full Institute Inc. As the director of Clinical Services, Mr. Prokes works closely and collaboratively with parents, teachers, students and administrators to tailor programs to the specific needs of each child, family, and school. His work in the public school system of NYC focuses developing tailored therapy for students and families struggling with the challenges of autism. In addition to his clinical work at the organization, Mr. Prokes helps The Half Full Institute find opportunities to work other non-profit organizations to create stronger and healthier individuals and communities through music, theater and art.

April 14, 2017


133/141 West 21st Street, Room 101C

Free and Open to the Public, CEC’s Available for ATR-BCs

Posted in Alumni, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects

The Face of Hidden Leaders: Opening Reception April 6

Join us in celebrating the talents and work of featured young artists in this collaborative exhibition.

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 6, 5-7pm

Friends and Family Reception: Friday, April 7, 5-7pm

132 West 21 Street, 5th Floor

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects

Loving Human Kindness: Opening Reception Thursday, April 6

Join us for the opening reception of Loving Human Kindness, an alumni-curated show on view from April 1-21.

Reception is April 6, 7-9pm, 132 West 21st Street, 5th Floor Project Space Studio.

Email [email protected] to make an appointment for additional viewing times.

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, International, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects, Workshops

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Each Spring semester, the 2nd year Community Access Through the Arts class visits Materials For The Arts, located in Long Island City, NYC.

Materials for the Arts is New York’s premiere reuse center, providing a way for companies and individuals to donate unneeded supplies to thousands of nonprofit organizations with arts programming and public schools. We offer a wide variety of events, workshops, and classes to help people see and experience creative reuse up close.

Director of Education, John Kaiser, gave students a tour of the MFTA space, which included galleries, an artist-in-residence studio, workshop rooms, and the massive room devoted to donated materials and their distribution. After the tour, students participated in an art-making workshop using recycled materials, facilitated by Kaiser.

Thanks to John Kaiser, MFTA, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for the important and inspiring work that you do.

Posted in Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, In Class, Professional Development, Students, Workshops

Faculty Member Val Sereno Presents at the American Society on Aging Conference

Val Sereno, faculty member in MPS Art Therapy, presented this past Monday at the American Society on Aging (ASA) conference in Chicago. There were over 2,000 mental health professionals in attendance at the Hyatt Regency.  Her workshop was a collaboration with two other psychologists – Britt Eksell, PhD, and Christiane Manzella, PhD – on Creativity as a Means to Expression of Emotions by Older Adults. Their workshop was well attended by 45 other professionals.  Val teaches Community Access to second-year students and one of the topics that is covered is advocating for the field.  This was a great opportunity for her to practice what she preaches!



Posted in Uncategorized

The New American Landscape

The Creative Arts Therapists of Color group will be holding an exhibition, The New American Landscape: Unearthing the American Unconscious, March 20-31 in the MPS Art Therapy Department’s 5th Floor Project Space Gallery at 132 West 21 Street in NYC.

A reception, performance, and artist panel discussion will be held Friday, March 24, from 5-9pm. These events are free and open to the public.


Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development