Kara-Leigh Huse, MA ATR
I am an Art Therapist based in San Diego, CA.
I am also an artist and SoulCollage ® Facilitator.
The most common response I get when I tell someone I am an Art Therapist is, “Oh cool, what is that?”
Then I usually go into my elevator pitch of, “It is similar to traditional ‘talk’ therapy except I use art with the client. Sometimes it is hard for people to talk about what is going on in their lives and it is easier for them to express it visually.”
The American Art Therapy Association defines Art Therapy as “an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns.”
In a typical Art Therapy session, I give my clients an art therapy directive aimed to focus on their treatment goals. My clients make art during the session. Then, we discuss what they have created and how they feel about it. Treatment goals can range from promoting mindfulness, “improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.” (American Art Therapy Association, 2020)
I currently work in a Mental Health Rehabilitation Center with adults, but I also work with children and teens. I am currently starting a private practice in which I hold workshops, individual sessions, and contracts with outpatient programs.
Therapeutic Zine Making
Zines are self- published fanzines or magazines that often represent personal ideologies, stories, and art that are not often represented in mainstream media (Zobl, 2009).
Zines began in the punk rock scene with the increasing access to photocopiers and were often distributed by bands. These zines would contain the band’s lyrics, call to social action, or latest album release.
Now zines are made, traded, and distributed all across the world. There are zine fests, zine libraries, zine mailing lists, and online zine databases. I use zine making in my art therapy practice as a directive for clients to promote mindfulness, identify coping skills, or simply express their story in a mini book.
You can put whatever you would like in your zine! That is the beauty of it.
When I was writing my thesis I made a zine about…writing a thesis…
Here are some other zine ideas:
· Make a zine and list all or your coping skill that you can refer to when you are not feeling well.
· Record everything you accomplished in the day (waking up, breathing, making your bed, drinking water, anything!)
· Make a zine full of people you look up to.
· Fill a zine with your favorite quotes and lyrics.
· Make and distribute a zine with all of your music or book recommendations.
· Keep a blank zine in your pocket or purse and write or draw in it when you are feeling anxious in social settings.
The possibilities are endless!
Start reading other zines! You can find zines at many independent bookstores or art shops. Here is a list of some places I have collected zines and some zine resources:
· Little Dame Shop, San Diego, CA www.littledameshop.com
· Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA www.skylightbooks.com
· Otherwild, Los Angeles, CA www.otherwild.com
· San Diego Zine Fest www.sadiegozinefest.com
· Los Angeles Zine Fest, www.lazinefest.com
· San Francisco Fine Fest, www.sfzinefest.org
· Chicago Zine Fest www.chicagozinefest.org
· SDSU Zine Library https://library.sdsu.edu/scua/new-notable/what-do-you-mean-what-s-zine