I started to dream up ARTrelief™ shortly after I began my professional work as an Expressive Arts Therapist in 2000. After almost a decade in the Mental Health field in various settings (early intervention, elder care, outpatient family services, home and school based services), I planted the seeds of ARTrelief™ out of my home studio in 2008. Two years later Gabriela Kotliar joined me to open our center in Watertown, Massachusetts.
I was born and raised in Cameroon, West Africa, with multicultural and spiritually inclusive values. I have worked with all ages, and I thrive in diversity. I speak fluent French, conversational Spanish and some American Sign Language.
For the past 20 years I have counseled people and supervised therapists on issued of anxiety, mood disorders, sensory processing disorder, trauma, adoption, loss, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, developmental and cognitive disabilities, medical issues, Alzheimer's disease, addiction, LGBTQIA+ and gender issues, pregnancy issues, caregiving issues, work-related stress, couples, families, and existential issues.
My counseling and supervision styles are person centered, relational, embodied and focused. I draw from a fusion of evidence-based practices, observation, intuition, somatic experiences, the imagination and metaphorical language, to understand and communicate with my clients. I find that being able to be open and flowing, as well as demonstrating the ability for rigor and focus, are equally valuable, depending on what is arising at any given moment. I have experience working with a wide range of expressive arts therapeutic modalities, including images, visual art, voice, music (piano, guitar, percussion), movement, metaphors, stories, Action Theater™, sensory experience, narrative and writing.
As an improvisor I enjoy the thrill and the challenge of being in the moment, practicing deep and wide listening, and responding to what announces itself. Improvisation places the creative and recovery process in a spiritual realm, it demands authenticity in the most natural and beautiful ways, it speaks the language of humanness and truth for each an everyone of us, and offers the opportunity for profound connections and transformations.
(Fluent French, Intermidiate Spanish)
I speak fluent Spanish and Hebrew. I was trained in photography, film, music and movement. I have experience with authentic movement, yoga, theatre improvisation, contact improvisation and martial arts.
For the past 20 years, I have been supporting children, adults and families of all kinds. I have experience working with individuals having a chronic chronic mental illness and/or substance abuse issues, individually or in groups. Before I began co-founding ARTrelief, I was Assistant program Director of an adult day treatment program in downtown Boston, where I was responsible for facilitating clinical and expressive arts therapy groups, coordinating intakes, creating treatment plans, managing risk, and supervising Counselors and Expressive Arts Therapy students. I created an inclusive and safe LGBTQ program specializing in LGBTQ issues and trauma. I am an activist and an educator in this area of specialization.
I have been teaching a clinical supervision course for graduate Expressive Arts Therapy students at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the past 12 years. I have also been a site supervisor for Expressive Arts Therapy students for the past 10 years. I have experience teaching photography to children with developmental disabilities, as well as Hebrew to elementary school children.
I was trained in Zen Shiatsu, in Maga School of Shiatsu in Jerusalem, Israel, affiliated with the London School of Shiatsu. Zen Shiatsu is a traditional form of Japanese bodywork. I have also been training in martial arts for over 20 years. These inform my body-centered counseling work.