I am a psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist and artist offering verbal and studio-based psychotherapy, incorporating expressive clay exercises and other nonverbal art experiences to open a path to the psyche for healing work. I firmly believe that therapy combining creative and playful means with talk can be more effective in bringing about sought after change and growth than talk therapy alone. It's also enlivening and fun and relieves stress. Expressive modalities are not required, though. Sometimes people just want to talk, or write, or even say nothing, and that's fine.
Offerings include individual or couples counseling, in-depth psychoanalytic psychotherapy, age appropriate therapy for children and adolescents, and individualized support for creative expression. In addition I offer three groups: Dreamfigures (a women's clay therapy group), Expressive Therapy Dream Exploration, and Parenting Teens Creatively. Groups are small, usually having fewer than six participants.
I work with people of all ages, races, ethnicities, spiritual and religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations, who are interested in gaining clarity, letting go of dysfunctional patterns of behavior, achieving more satisfying relationships with family, work associates, friends, and partners, and making the most of their lives while making a contribution to the outside world. My Intention is to accompany your journey to becoming the self you can authentically inhabit (the real you). Sometimes I will lead, sometimes I will follow your lead, but always we will be tuning in to what is needed at the moment. I believe in the power of positive thinking, and I also believe that we all have negative, dark, and destructive aspects that cry out for attention. Looking at the problematic, dysfunctional, dark parts of ourselves (we all have them) can be very difficult, so we take it slow, and go at your own pace.
I completed my graduate training in Art Therapy/Expressive Therapy at Lesley University in 1987, for which I produced a lengthy thesis titled "Performance Art as Therapy Practice." I received my Master's Degree in Social Work in 1995 from Adelphi University School of Social Work, and completed psychoanalytic training at the Institute for Expressive Analysis in New York City in 2011.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Nationally Certified Psychoanalyst (NCPsyA), and a Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC). In addition to private practice I have worked as a therapist, educator, and artist-in-residence in schools, clinics, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment settings, and as a bereavement counselor for Hospice in Ulster and Dutchess counties.
In 2008 I published a chapter "Getting the Inside Out: Speaking with Clay" in Speaking about the Unspeakable: Non-Verbal Methods and Experiences in Therapy with Children, edited by Dennis McCarthy, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
In 1978-79, after a decade of working in my own studio, I was apprenticed in Japan with the Fujiwara family of Bizen, studying traditional methods of pottery-making. I have also studied Tea Ceremony at Urasenke in Kyoto and New York. I maintain a clay studio with several wheels and kilns to produce my own work, to teach others, and since 1995, for Deep Clay Psychotherapy. My clay work has been exhibited in local galleries and in New York City, and can be seen online at michellerhodespottery.com.