Throughout my life I’ve always been intrigued and curious by the mysticisms and spirituality SE Asia holds. Moving to Thailand changed my views, perspectives and what I believe to be most important in my life. When I first arrived nearly 8 years ago, I began as a visual arts teacher for IB curriculum. Thailand’s special needs programs were not strong at the time - in all 153 schools in Bangkok there were two schools with inclusive programs. This inspired me and another colleague to begin a special needs program in our own school. The amount of students I encountered that needed extra support was astounding as well as the lack of knowledge on how to accommodate for these particular students or specific populations… this is ultimately what led me to Edinboro University. The extreme need to share art therapy, counseling and importance of emotional and mental well-being in various SE Asian areas. Edinboro offers an entire online program for Art Therapy Counseling, and for 5 years I had been searching for the perfect program. Edinboro’s Art Therapy Counseling program is challenging, professional, rigorous, with highly knowledgeable professors, and most of all the online aspect - (which was very important) I could stay working in Thailand! I can’t thank my professors and my Uni supervisor enough for the support – I am forever grateful and you continue to inspire me each and everyday!
Currently I’m working as a school counselor at an International school in Bangkok and performing my Internship fieldwork for art therapy there. I’m working with highly diverse populations, from minor cognitive and intellectual disabilities to personality disorders. I work within a specialized program for Autism spectrum disorders and incorporate a lot of sensory integration with the use of art materials. The art activities/interventions and overall therapeutic journeys are based on a multimodal integrative approach, with a large emphasis on Positive Art Therapy and Person Centered Therapy. Exploring acceptance, self-esteem, confidence, self-awareness, achievement, empowerment, and strength are common themes in the art therapy space. I’m exposed to and able to learn from large multicultural groups and have gained insight on different perspectives and mindsets from clients and families who come from all over the world. Alongside the school I also work for an NGO in Hanoi, Vietnam. I give therapeutic assistance and support for domestic violence and human trafficking survivors. On the weekends I work alongside psychologists and psychiatrists in Vietnam facilitating online art therapy sessions when not in Vietnam.
I plan to stay and work in the SE Asia region, which has changed my life significantly. My overall goals are to open a private practice as well as begin an Art Therapy Association here in Thailand. I want to continue to raise awareness, advocate and spread the word about mental health and it’s overall importance in our lives.