An Interview with Courtney Taylor, LMHC
Recent NWCEAI Graduate
Meet Courtney Taylor, a counselor and recent graduate of the professional certificate program at NWCEAI. Courtney uses a unique traveling art kit to bring creativity to her clients. This week, we asked her about her therapeutic process, creativity, and recommendations for other therapists.
What is your background and journey in expressive arts therapy, and what does your current work look like?
Courtney: Expressive arts have always been a fundamental component throughout my life. On a personal level, using creativity as a way to cope and grow has been a great way to gain insight into my own personal needs and desires. As a counselor, I have always used the arts. I may not have had the appropriate training to justify that, which is why I decided in Spring 2018 to enroll into the NWCEAI Certificate Training Program.
The past year has been an excellent learning experience that has expanded my professional knowledge and has also provided me with the personal strength to heal. I am currently working towards my 1000 direct hours towards the application for the REAT (Registered Expressive Arts Therapist) with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
I work at a nonprofit children’s community mental health agency, where we primarily work with Medicaid. I also specialize in providing school-based counseling. This last winter, in one week I visited 11 schools providing them with counseling services. This is when I decided to make a mobile art kit, so I can bring arts into schools with ease.
What does your travel art kit include?
- Paper- card stock, lined, construction, velvet feeling, regular and multiple colored
- Colored pencils
- Oil pastels
- Dry pastels
- Sketch pad
- Play Doh
- Travel sand tray kit
How do you find interesting ways to use the same materials in different ways each day?
Courtney: Having so much diversity and allowing a client to gravitate towards what they want to do is beneficial for their therapeutic process. It allows them to identify what materials they would like to engage in, providing them with the opportunity to develop a sense of agency. Utilizing a person-centered approach, we will spend time exploring their needs. Sometimes there are sessions with specific prompts or directives. It depends on what their needs are. Some find strength and comfort with mostly writing, while others will engage in drawing and spend time playing with the different supplies. What I have noticed is that I will get clients who are timid at first to try something new, and then once they try it, they will use it for multiple sessions.
Do you have any recommendations for therapists who are looking for ways to incorporate creativity into their practice but don’t quite know where to start, either in terms of supplies and/or artistic experience?
Courtney: Most therapists are intimidated with the idea of trying something new or something out of their comfort zone. For me, I was most comfortable with visual arts, so it was more natural for me to use this modality as a primary drive for designing and developing therapy. The concept of free ranging and gravitating towards client’s needs may also be difficult to accept, so starting out with prompts or the utilization of bibliotherapy is very helpful for the adaptation. The book Beautiful Oops is an excellent resource to share with a client. This shows that there is no such thing as a mistake, but rather only an additional layer to the final project.
For more information on the NWECA training program, visit https://seattlearttherapy.org/training-main/.