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Therapist- Art Therapy

Charis is an art therapist and mental health counselor that received her graduate degree in Creative Arts in Therapy from Drexel University in Pennsylvania in 2005. During her training she had the opportunity to witness the power of the creative arts therapies within multiple mental health settings, including an urban adult inpatient hospital, a residential facility for young males and a multidisciplinary day program for adolescents and adults. Charis has gone to to live and work in Pennsylvania, Washington, British Columbia and now Idaho, gathering further experience working alongside individuals with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental or medical needs, children, adolescents and adults within an outpatient mental health setting, and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Charis also has experience facilitating community-based art expression gatherings focused on identifying and enhancing community strength, connection and wellness. 

Charis offers a collaborative, creative and person-centered approach as each unique individual, family or community seeks increased expression, understanding and growth. During times when it is difficult to verbally express emotional states, experiences, and thoughts, creative art expression can provide another outlet for communication, connection, self-exploration and problem-solving, especially when paired with therapeutic guidance and support. Charis encourages her clients to view creative art expression as an additional therapeutic tool that is available to them to use as they are comfortable and find helpful, and continually reminds individuals that the focus of art therapy is not on the appearance of the final product created, but rather on the process of self-expression and the increased understanding and growth that can be found through art-making and accompanying reflection. While children and teens may be more naturally inclined to use creative expression, adults of all ages also find that the inclusion of creative art expression increases their self-understanding, self-worth, and ability to meet life's challenges.

Personally, Charis has always experienced art expression as an outlet for processing her own life experiences, and she continues to practice photography, painting and mixed media art creation as an important part of her self-exploration and self-care. When not creating, she can be found connecting with nature through camping, hiking, kayaking and cross-country skiing with her husband and two dogs. 

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