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Featured Student and Alumni Profiles

We invite you to learn more about some of our current student and alumni success stories. To learn how you can join this network of successful alumni, contact us or apply today! 

Alumni Spotlight - Karen Gibbons

As a student in the MPS in Art Therapy program at SVA, you’ll be prepared for real success and you’ll join a network of successful alumni. Take Karen Gibbons for example. Karen, author of Integrating Art Therapy and Yoga Therapy; Yoga, Art and the Use of Intention, is a licensed and board certified creative arts therapist and a certified yoga therapist. She has over 15 years of experience as a therapist specializing in integrating yoga and mindfulness with art-based psychotherapy. Karen works with adults and children addressing a variety of concerns including trauma, loss and bereavement, anxiety disorders, depression, addictions, and life stage adjustment issues.

Connect with us today to learn how you can achieve your artistic ambitions with an MPS in Art Therapy from SVA. 

Alumni Spotlight - Julia Volonts

One of the benefits of an MPS in Art Therapy from SVA...join a network of successful alumni. Take Julia Volonts for example... Julia is the College's first institutionally endorsed Fulbright Award recipient, receiving the prestigious grant to research art therapy practices in Latvia and working out of Rīga Stradiņš University from September 2019 to May 2020. Volonts will be focusing on response art, which is art making by therapists to process their clinical work, specifically examining how art therapists in Latvia can use response art to process trans-generational trauma impacting the cultural identity of the country. Current MFA Illustration as Visual Essay student Courtney Menard (BFA 2014 Illustration) and alumnus Nadya Voynovskaya (BFA 2017 Illustration) were named semi-finalists for their grants, a significant accomplishment as well. 

"I'm looking forward to being able to integrate my passion and interest in the country with my professional work and developing something that doesn't exist there yet," says Volonts, whose father's family is Latvian. Volonts will also be traveling to Riga at the end of this month to lecture on response art at the Latvian Art Therapy Association annual conference.

We invite you to learn more [link to http://www.sva.edu/features/sva-art-therapy-alumnus-julia-volonts-receives-a-2019-2020-fulbright-award]  about the  Fulbright U.S. Student Program and how the application process can benefit you regardless of whether you’re granted the award. 

<p "="">Art therapy response art by Julia Volonts.

Alumni Spotlight - Pooja Bakri, MPS, LCAT, ATR-BC

Tell us about yourself

I received my undergraduate degree (BFA) from the Maryland Institute College of Art. I then received my MPS Art Therapy degree from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Since receiving my degree, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of working in both community and outpatient settings. I currently offer art therapy services to both children and adults through my private practice in Montclair, NJ.

What excites (or inspires) you most about your job/studies right now?

One of the things that truly inspires me right now in my work is the theme of human connectivity, and the idea that there is more that connects us to one another than that which sets us apart. I feel very fortunate to join in this journey with my clients as we discover ways in which we are not alone in both our challenges and our hopes for the future.

Has working with a particular client group shaped your professional focus or specialty? What have you learned from working with these clients?

Prior to starting my private practice, I worked with a PALS program (Peace-A Learned Solution) which provided creative art therapy to children who have been exposed to domestic violence. This experience was inspiring in that I was able to witness how resilient children can be — despite adverse childhood experiences. Many of these children were able to find their voice and share their unique story through the art and play. I learned how vital it is that programs like these continue to receive funding and are made available to communities in need.

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career in art therapy?

I believe that part of being able to share the process with others, is experiencing the process for yourself. Always continue making your own art. This will allow you to see first-hand the various ways in which the creative process provides opportunities to heal and grow.

What are your hopes for the future of the art therapy profession?

One of my hopes for the art therapy profession in the future is that it becomes a mental health option that is more accessible to families and communities.

Tightrope” by Pooja Bakri. Acrylic, Collage and Ink on paper. 2017.

Artist’s statement: “Memory is a focal point for much of my work as an artist and art therapist. I am interested in memories that we experience first-hand, as well as memories that are passed down to us. My creative process involves the layering of imagery and mediums. Patterns and symbols are often erased and distorted, while always building over a foundation of what has come before. Some characters are clear and in the foreground, while others are muted and pulse beneath them. It is this process that aids in giving visual form to the complex and ephemeral act of recollection.”

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