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Cathartic art helps healing
Port Angeles native Luci Chambers wants to help people through their creative spirits.
Chambers, a licensed art therapist and licensed marriage and family therapist associate, started her new business, Turning Leaf, in September using art therapy for people of all ages and abilities.
“Art therapy isn’t concerned with art skill or creating masterful artwork,” Chambers said. “Art therapy is the process of making the art and seeing what it means to the client. It’s their voice.”
Chambers, a watercolorist and abstract artist in her own right, gained an interest in art therapy while teaching art for high schoolers in the Crescent School District. She led a lesson that called for students to make art using their voices, which brought forth a lot of negative emotions.
“I felt I was dredging things up for them and not having a place for them to go,” she said. “I could sense it was damaging to some students.”
To find a solution, Chambers pursued a master’s degree in psychology, specializing in art therapy, and earned the degree in early 2011 from Antioch University in Seattle. She left the education field after teaching part-time for 20 years and full-time in Crescent for nine years.
Through leading sessions, Chambers finds art therapy more effective than talk therapy.
“With art, it’s right at the core,” she said. “I’ve seen some people go weeks on talk therapy without going anywhere.”
She said people with communications issues could use art therapy as a medium to express themselves. Sessions could include a client making a collage or simply choosing a color of chalk to reflect his or her mood.
She’s asked couples to draw the floor plan of their house separately or together, which typically shows psychological issues or things not working in a relationship.
Chambers also uses play therapy and sand tray therapy with children to see what they are trying to say.
“I learn more with it than anything,” Chambers said about the sand tray.
“Sometimes they start interacting with toys without any prompting. They have a drama that reflects their own life.”
Some of Chambers’ clients choose not to do art and she’s OK with that.
Chambers’ office is in Port Angeles and she’s open to traveling to Sequim, meeting in semi-public places for sessions and doing home visits under certain circumstances.
She’s considering group therapy sessions, too. Each session is about 55 minutes with the first session half-price for intake. She offers a sliding scale according to household monthly income: Fees are on her website (see box). Private insurance companies do cover some therapy charges. Check with providers.
Chambers also is listed in the Psychology Today Therapist directory.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.