Susan Leopold Art Therapy

Creative/Expressive Arts Therapy & Creativity Development

 


 


Do you often wish things in life could be different?


I have worked with diverse clients facing life's transitions and mental health challenges. My theoretical framework is relational, often using creative/expressive arts modalities in treatment. Following your lead, I listen/witness and attune carefully in order to attend to your specific need. We start with where you are most comfortable, which means that talking, imagery, dreamwork and silence are all welcome. The path to healing, wellness and imaginative growth is often facilitated through connecting with your unique creative process. Although I work flexibly with expressive/creative arts, my focus is on staying close to what you bring to our work in the co-created and safe therapeutic studio space.


As a clinically trained MSW, RSW, R. Psych. with degrees from Pratt Institute and Smith College, I specialize in creative therapies. Your path to healing, wellness and imaginative growth is often facilitated through connecting with your unique creative process when feelings and experiences are unsayable. I have devoted my career to working with children, youth and adults affected by trauma and/or challenging life-stage transitions, anxiety, depression, low self esteem and creative blockages. My extensive clinical experience includes the Hincks Dellcrest Center, York University Personal Counselling Services, UHN Inpatient Expressive Arts for Eating Disorder and Catholic Family Services Toronto.  


Some Social work services are covered under private health plans or employee group benefits plans. Please check with your insurer to see whether MSW, RSW services are covered. If social work is not currently on the list of professional services covered in your insurance plan, ask that it be added.


Working flexibly with you, between short or long term talk therapy (psychodynamic psychotherapy) and expressive/creative arts, my focus is on staying close to what you bring to our work in the co-created and safe therapeutic studio space.


What do therapy sessions look like ?


In our work together we work at a pace that allows you to feel comfortable.


Short Term Therapy: Short term therapy is an option for those interested in addressing a specific problem area with a more structured and focused approach. Such issues might include adjustment, a romantic break up, divorce, death of a loved one, loss of job, performance anxiety, body image issues, a recent move, a new school, and so on. Each session would likely involve a mutually agreed upon goal/directive, exploring the different facets of the identified problem area. At the onset of treatment, a time-frame for the therapeutic work is also agreed upon (typically, anywhere between a 12-16 week commitment).


On-Going Therapy: On-going therapy flexibly explores topics and themes that emerge organically, over an indeterminate amount of time (as opposed to short term therapy, which is a more structured and focused approach).


Once we agree to begin our work together, we will learn your present concerns, goals, future hopes/goals. We leave space for you to ask any questions you may have. Then we formulate a way to achieve your goals. In the following sessions, you will start wherever you feel most comfortable. I listen and follow your lead. This establishes safety and trust in our work together. We take the time needed for that to occur and move at a pace that allows you to feel comfortable.


Adding Creative Art making ?


Usually we start a check-in based on whatever you would like to talk about; perhaps your week or a review of the last session. Some sessions you might want to get right into the art making and not talk. Both ways of working are welcome, we start with wherever you are.  Sometimes clients choose to incorporate deep breathing and/or a guided visualization to help them relax. 


Depending on what you want to work on, you might choose to work nondirectively, which means following your own instincts as to topic/themes and choice of art materials. You might choose a specific theme to work on or continue exploring a theme from the previous session. Alternatively, I might offer you an art directive, prompt or specific art media, when you wish to explore an issue more deeply and feel the directive would support your art making process. There is an art table with a variety of materials for you to explore and experiment with and you are free to choose what feels right for you.  During your art making process you might choose to continue talking or choose to work in silence, both ways of working are welcome.  


In a 50 minute session, you might work with your art for about 20-30 minutes. After you finish, we look at the art together and you are welcome to share (or not share) whatever you feel comfortable sharing, i.e. what you notice, what surprises you, or maybe how the art making process was for you, any ideas, thoughts or feelings or challenges that came up in your process. No artistic training or art background is necessary because we focus on the creative process.


 


 


My credentials:


MSW Smith College School for Social Work, RSW Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers


Registered Psychotherapist (R.Psych.) College of Registered Psychotherapists Ontario (CRPO)


MPS  Masters in Creative Art Therapy and Creativity Development, Pratt Institute, New York. 


Expressive Arts Therapist Graduate of Create Institute Canada


M.A. Medical Arts University of California


B.F.A Fine Arts University of Michigan


Recommended by VIS Intermediate School, I offer Creative Art Therapy Expressive/Creative Workshops and Individual Clinical Psychotherapy.


Supervisor and Expressive/Creative Arts Therapist at Create Institute, Creative Integrative Arts Therapy Training Program.


 


Guest Speaker: Annual Conference OACCPP 2016, Focus on Trauma


 


Publications:


Complicated Grief, Attachment and Art Therapy: Theory and Treatment (chapter) Jessica Kingsley Publishers


Does Crisis Bring Families Closer, Smith College Thesis


Art Revolution (feature) by Lisa L. Cyr, Northlight


Psychologia, article on Trauma


additional publications please refer to website


Rates:
please contact me by email to arrange an initial consultation at no charge.
group rates upon request, sliding scale available.


Location:
Distillery District
large bright private art studio for both individual and group work as well as corporate team building workshops in encaustic and other materials.


Affiliations:



  • Certified and Professional Member OACCPP (Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists)

  • Professional Member Canadian Art Therapy Association

  • Professional Member American Art Therapy Association

  • Canadian Association of Child Psychoanalytic Therapists

  • Guest member Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis

  • American Psychological Association Division 39

  • Sandplay Therapists of America Associate Member

  • International Expressive Arts Therapy Association


"Disasters catapult people into experiences beyond ordinary reality. Although there are many ways to initiate a heroic journey, the call to adventure usually comes unexpectedly. Death, divorce, and natural catastrophes force us to examine our deepest beliefs about the world. We must willingly cooperate though, to retrieve the insights contained within their chaotic turmoil"
-Gita Morena, The Wisdom of Oz, p. 63 from a compilation called Bridging Art Therapy and Sandplay: An Imaginal Perspective by Josie Abbenante, ATR-BC LPAT.