When Eileen Misluk first met one of her new clients, a 13-year-old girl suffering from severe anxiety, she started the therapy session by asking the girl to help her tear tissue paper into different shapes. By the end of the session, the girl was laughing and making eye contact. She was excited to come back for a second session to make art with the paper pieces.
“This teen became empowered and was able to address her anxiety and fears by enhancing her strengths, and this was all done by engaging in art therapy,” said Misluk, adding that this type of therapy taught her client to “manage her anxiety, use coping skills and build self-esteem.”
Misluk is an assistant clinical professor of art therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University’s Herron School of Art and Design, which offers a master’s degree program that allows students to meet the requirements necessary to become registered art therapists and licensed mental health counselors.
For Misluk, art and dance helped her work through challenging times in her life. Through her personal experiences and those of her clients, Misluk has learned that art therapy can be “empowering.”