ART THERAPISTS MAKING THINGS HAPPEN!
Don had been a pilot for Pan American Airline and Flying Tigers Airline. He consistently painted tigers over the three-year period that I worked with him. I felt that it was a self symbol. As his disease progressed, the tigers became more elemental and sparse in detail, (see illustrations). Don also became less aware, and mirrored the tigers as they slowly disappeared.
Toni Morley, MFT, ATR-BC
I heard about the field of art therapy in 1985 when a friend suggested that it sounded like a good fit for me. I am an artist and my BA from Stanford was heavy on psychology. I went up to one of Doris Arrington’s educational evenings at Notre Dame de Namur University and was very interested. I started the next semester.
After graduation in 1987, my first job as an art therapist was in the psychiatric unit at El Camino Hospital. I was part of that team for 7 years and was able to train and supervise interns from various schools. I moved on to a private practice in Los Altos for some years, treating children and individuals using art therapy and other modes of treatment.
I was then offered a job at the Alzheimer’s Association as Support Group Coordinator for the South Bay. I loved being able to help caregivers and regularly visited the groups up and down the peninsula. I also ran groups for early stage individuals and really enjoyed working with the patients as well as the caregivers.
In 2001 I heard about Memories in the Making, which was an art group specifically for Alzheimer’s patients. My organization sent me to be trained and we began the program with 3 sites. In the next 7 years we expanded to 26 sites. Each year we had an artist’s reception for the participating members and a gala fundraising event where we sold the work. Included is a biography of one of the artists and 3 pictures of a tiger that faded as the individual progressed with the disease. I won the KRON Jefferson award for starting and maintaining this program.
I am currently involved with 2 other art therapists who are of different generations in a weekly accountability art project. I am also currently working at IPM doctors clinic as a psychotherapist treating chronic pain patients. I have been there 10 years this month and really enjoy the population.
Having regularly attended AATA and NorCATA conferences over the years, I am impressed by the quality of the newer generations of art therapists and their ways of exploring and enhancing the practices within art therapy.
This has been an amazing journey of discovery and growth. I feel fortunate for the good friends I have made in the art therapy community.
Fun in Covid times is quite different than what I normally would be doing. I do try to walk in a lovely preserve near where I live and try to stay connected with friends and family.
ANTOINETTE T. MORLEY MFT, ATR-BC
851 Fremont Ave., Suite 214
Los Altos, CA, 94024
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