MPS Art Therapy Student Highlight: Jenna Santos

MPS Art Therapy: What drew you to Art Therapy?

Jenna: I actually found it by accident. I was 17 and knew I wanted a career in the arts, but did not know what exactly to do. I felt like my personal art did my talking for me because I was really quiet, but I always felt I could be more and art therapy allows me to do that. When I looked into SVA for my undergraduate degree, I accidentally clicked on the Master’s programs and saw Art Therapy and realized that was it! I came to the open house before I even started my undergrad!

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

Jenna: SVA is what I found first and I looked into other programs, but when I went to the open house here, it just felt right. I knew beginning undergrad that I would stick with Art Therapy and SVA ended up sticking with me.

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

Jenna: The people are my favorite part. The professors, the class itself is something I am grateful to be a part of. They are really supportive and open for each in ways that not many other people outside of the program can understand.

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

Jenna: My internship is with The Art Therapy Project, which is a non-profit that provides art therapy services for people affected by trauma for free. Part of that is that they work with a variety of populations, including hospitals, veterans, LGBTQ+ youth, and adults in substance abuse recovery, which is where I work. It is a residential facility for adults with chemical substance abuse recovery. I really like that it is long term and I have the opportunity to form strong therapeutic relationships with them. This specific internship I chose for my second year because of how prevalent substance abuse recovery is as it is an epidemic and I feel it is so important to provide services to those in recovery, and also because of the small size of the organization, which has been helpful in allowing me to develop my clinical voice.

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

Jenna: My advice would be to allow yourself the space to be wrong and not know everything. It is really hard to sit with that and as a therapist, you want to be perfect for your client. It is hard, but better in the long run because it is what allows growth. Prepare to change and adapt to anything that might come up. Having the ability to do that is a huge strength that I did not know before starting this program.

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