MPS Art Therapy Student Highlight: Lillian Beach

Lillian with work featured in MPS Art Therapy’s annual exhibition, “Open Door.”

MPS Art Therapy: What drew you to Art Therapy?

Lillian: I’ve always been interested in art, and [it’s been] present in my home life. I’ve always wanted to do some kind of career where I could help others so when I found out about art therapy in college, I declared my major immediately and have stuck with it since.

MPS Art Therapy: Why did you decide to come to SVA?

Lillian: SVA is close to home and an easy commute. I really liked the structure and art community in the area seemed to provide great opportunities. I was out to breakfast with my roommate the week before graduation when the chair called me and I freaked out, so excited about getting into graduate school. I was so loud, several people in the diner came over to congratulate me!

MPS Art Therapy: What is your favorite part of the program?

Lillian: The structure and support that they give here is really great. The professors are all so passionate and knowledgeable about their work. The instructors have many resources and have been in the field for enough time that they are able to provide us with tangible advice. It is also really awesome that not all our instructors are art therapists so we are able to relate to other fields that we will be working within our careers. The staff is also very supportive in getting back to us quickly and helping us however we need. I like how much the art experientials are incorporated into our education so it’s more than just lectures.

MPS Art Therapy: Tell us about your internship: where, what population, and what you like about it.

Lillian: I am interning at a day program for adults with mental illness, from 18 to 65 years old with a wide range of diagnoses from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia. They program is group based and focused on helping clients achieve goals like living healthier lifestyles, going back to school or gaining employment. It is staffed by art therapists, social workers, and other mental health professionals. I love the emphasis on how much we are trying to help everyone. That’s common in many sites, but here, it is focused on the potential they have in themselves. The community of the staff is also warm and welcoming. There is a lot of freedom in how we choose to run our groups and there are a lot of different perspectives and interpretations that can be shared between clients and staff.

MPS Art Therapy: What is your advice for those considering a career in Art Therapy?

Lillian: It is a lot of work to be in the program, but it is so worth it. It is one of the best introductions you can get going into this field.

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