Wednesday, March 27, 2024

"Color Me Calm" Helps People During Job Hunting

It is so wonderful to hear how "Color Me Calm" is still helping people for various reasons...including the stress of job searching!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Book Review: "Therapy Private Practice"

I connected with Jackie on LinkedIn as a fellow art therapist. She writes a lot of essays about various topics, such as being an art therapist, being autistic, and wisdom of how she does her work. I was delighted to receive her book on establishing a successful private practice, and wrote a brief review below.  If you are a therapist or provider of any kind, I would recommend that you check out her book to help your practice and yourself thrive!

“Therapy Private Practice: Creating a private practice that enriches you as a human and therapist” 

by Jackie Schuld, LPC, ATR-BC, REAT

As an art therapist who works in private practice part-time, this is the book I wish I had available to me when I thought about venturing into the private practice world. Rather than going solo, however, I ended up joining a group practice, which helped with a lot of the whys and wherefores I didn’t have time for or was ready to learn to do myself. I am still a part of that group practice, and it works for me since I do it very part-time on the side, but I was still quite interested to hear Jackie’s take on creating a private practice that works for you in case I decide to move over to solo practice later on.

One thing I appreciated right away was that the Table of Contents is listed both in page order and in topic order.  As a Gold/SJ, that made me very happy, especially if I want to reference something later, it will be easier to locate via topic. Topics that she covers include beginning your practice or changing what kind of practice you have, financial advice, marketing, meeting your own needs, policies that will support your practice, and even thought patterns that impact you.

Another thing that I appreciate about this book is that the chapters are short essays that are very readable.  Sometimes it’s hard to sit down and read a lengthy book that gets into the weeds (which can be just what we need at times), and this book gives us bite-size pieces to chew on and consider.  Jackie makes it clear that she is your cheerleader in making a practice that helps you – as well as your practice – to thrive.

Some of the chapters are about giving permission to make adjustments to make a practice that fits you and not necessarily what other people think it should be. Others advocate for art therapy and counseling as a field and not selling ourselves short with all of our time, investment, experience, and expertise. She wants all therapists to figure out how they work best and thrive with that, even if it may not make sense at first. Things don’t have to be the status quo, and there are ways to have a successful practice without self-sacrificing so much, as people in helping professions are so wont to do. Accessing resources, finding supports, setting boundaries and limits, finding your own niche, playing to your strengths, and the like are paramount to establishing – and maintaining – a successful practice, however you may define that to be.

Part of the content that also struck me is her line drawings that illustrate the book, which I am so happy she included (as an art therapist, I think we are drawn to that), many of which remind me of Shel Silverstein’s artwork from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and his other poems.

Jackie’s book covers a lot of cogent topics related not only to private practice work, but also work within the mental health setting that gives good food for thought. It may be time to reinvent our work so that we will not burn ourselves out and better meet the needs of our clients, which is why we went into mental healthcare in the first place.  Will everything in the book apply to you and your situation?  Probably not.  However, it is a great read that will give you different perspectives and insights that can help you be the best – and more replenished – therapist that you can be.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Baltimore's Child Magazine Features Article About Art Therapy

I am so pleased to be interviewed with some other esteemed colleagues for an article on art therapy and how it can be helpful for children (and other ages) in Baltimore's Child magazine! Thank you to Dr. Sharon Hollander and her sister Michelle for creating another informative article to make people more aware of art therapy, especially during March, the month of Creative Arts Therapies Week! I appreciate the feature and resources to point people in the right direction.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

Adventures in Art Therapy Ranks #6 on Feedspot's Global Top 35 Best Art Therapy Blogs

 I'm very pleased to learn that my art therapy website has been ranked as a Top 35 Best Art Therapy Blog *worldwide* on Feedspot! I am shocked to learn it ranks #6, not far behind the American Art Therapy Association and the Psychology Today Arts and Health websites.  Many thanks to all who frequent my page!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Mattel Creates Art Therapist Barbie in Career Doll Series

Just discovered a new Barbie I need to get! 🎨

Out of all the professions they could have chosen for their Career Series, I'm surprised they decided to represent an art therapist!

Unbox Dreams!

Barbie® doll has added another career to the more than 250 on her resume -- art therapist! This themed playset features Barbie® therapist doll, Chelsea™ patient doll and 10 storytelling pieces to inspire role-play fun.

Product Details

With the Barbie doll art therapy playset, kids can draw up all kinds of ways to play! The themed set comes with Barbie therapist doll and a patient doll who has a unique feature -- kids can rotate the emoji on the small doll's shirt to help express her emotion. A total of 10 accessories, including an adorable kitten, art supplies and mood stickers, engage imaginations in storytelling and role-play as they explore careers in mental health. So many pieces make the set a great gift to inspire dreams and imaginations in kids 3 years old and up. Dolls cannot stand alone. Colors and decorations may vary.

  • Barbie doll expands her resume of 250+ careers with this art therapy playset that lets kids explore a career in mental health!
  • The playset comes with Barbie therapist doll, a toddler small doll and a pet kitten, plus accessories and features to engage kids in storytelling!
  • Interactive action adds to the role-play fun kids can rotate the emoji on the patient's shirt to switch up the expression and help her talk about her feelings!
  • There's a comfy bean bag chair for the small doll, and Barbie doll can bend her knees to sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor!
  • Additional pieces encourage imaginative play like a child's painting, paint palette, paintbrush, scissors, glue bottle, tablet and pencil -- use the mood stickers on the mini cardboard chart for even more self-expression!
  • With so many ways to play, the Barbie art therapist playset makes a great gift for kids 3 years and older, especially those who love music and arts!

Well, I finally got my Art Therapist Barbie!

She is on my bookshelf in good company with my Bob Ross Funko Pop.

Apparently, Mattel consulted with AATA before creating her and they have a nice writeup on the back of the box about Art Therapy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Frederick's Child Magazine Features Article About Art Therapy

 I'm very pleased to share an article written for Frederick's Child Magazine about art therapy is now live! Dr. Sharon Hollander interviewed me as part of her feature to highlight what art therapy is and how it can be helpful for people in the February/March 2024 edition, pp. 24-25.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Finding Affordable Therapy

Sometimes, finding affordable therapy can be difficult.  Here are some ways to make therapy more accessible.

How to find free or affordable therapy

Reviewed by Susan Radzilowski, MSW, LMSW, ACSW

Elise Burley's photo

Written by

Elise Burley

Last updated: 09/12/2023

More people are looking for therapy today than ever before.1 But for those who don’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover mental health services, therapy can be very expensive. The average cost of a single session ranges from $60 to $200 per hour or more, depending on a therapist’s training, specialty, experience, and other factors.

To help make mental health services more accessible and affordable, some organizations offer free or low-cost therapy. Most of these services provide support for anxiety and depression—two of the most common mental health conditions—and some also address specific problems such as substance abuseeating disorders, or domestic violence.

If you’d like to find an organization in your area that offers free or low-cost therapy, you can do an online search or contact one of the resources listed below to see if they can help. If you’re insured, look for a therapist who’s covered by your plan; if you have a primary care provider, you can ask them for a referral.

Finding therapy through your insurance

If you have insurance, your plan may cover in-person or online therapy. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. If you’re not sure whether your plan covers mental health services, call the customer service line and ask. Many insurance companies have a specific department that handles mental health coverage.
  2. If you’re covered, find a therapist who’s in your network. This means the therapist accepts your insurance plan and will bill your insurance company directly for sessions. It also means the therapist will accept a predetermined rate for the session, which is often lower than the rate they charge clients directly. You may have a copay for each session, and you may have to pay out of pocket for care until your annual deductible amount is reached. Contact customer service at your insurance company to ask what the cost will be.
  3. If you don’t know whether a therapist is in your insurance network, ask the therapist or check their websiteour directory also includes this information for many clinicians. To get the most up-to-date information on coverage, though, it’s best to talk with your insurance company. 

Given current demand for therapy, it can be challenging to find a mental health professional who’s in your network and accepting new patients. This can be especially true if you’re looking for a clinician of color—according to a 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics study, 77% of mental health counselors identify as White.See below for links to several organizations that help members of systemically excluded communities get low-cost or free culturally competent therapy.

If you choose a therapist who’s not in your network, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for sessions. Some insurance providers provide some out-of-network coverage, but it can still be relatively expensive.

Options for therapy without insurance

Sliding-scale therapy

Some therapists offer sliding-scale sessions by reducing their standard fee based on a client’s income and ability to pay. This doesn’t always make therapy affordable, but it can help. Sliding-scale programs are also available at some nonprofit mental health organizations, community clinics, and health centers.

To find a sliding-scale therapist near you, go to our therapist directory and search by location. Select “Refine your search,” then “Insurance and payment,” then “Yes” under “Sliding scale.”

Employee assistance programs

Some employers offer employee assistance programs (EAPs). These come in different forms, but they generally include free services that help employees deal with personal or work-related problems. An EAP may offer support for stress management, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, relationship problems, and other concerns.

Note that EAP counseling is often limited to 10 sessions or fewer. Services provided by an EAP are confidential, so details aren’t given to the employer. To find out if your workplace offers an EAP, contact your employer’s human resources department.

Student wellness programs

Many colleges and universities are able to offer low-cost or free therapy, counseling, or psychiatric services to full-time and part-time students.

To learn what your school offers, contact your student services center or do an online search for “student mental health services” and the name of your college or university.

Organizations for systemically excluded groups

The following organizations help people of color and/or LGBTQIA+ people access and afford culturally competent mental health care.

  • Lotus Therapy Fund (Asian Mental Health Collective) offers financial support to eligible Asian or Asian American applicants for eight therapy sessions.
  • Loveland Therapy Fund (The Loveland Foundation) provides financial assistance to Black women and girls for therapy, with sign-ups reopening on a quarterly basis.
  • BIPOC Therapy Fund (Inclusive Therapists) invites eligible people of color to apply for community-funded therapy services, then connects them with professionally licensed providers from the same community.
  • National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network’s Mental Health Fund helps queer and trans people of color pay for sessions with participating therapists.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service (IHS) seeks to improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Native people. In addition to information and resources, the IHS site maintains a nationwide map of tribal and urban Indian health facilities, including behavioral health programs.

National organizations

In the United States, free or low-cost mental health resources are available through several nationwide nonprofits and government programs:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a wide range of support services for people living with mental illness, as well as their families. NAMI’s services include in-person and online support groups, education programs, and referrals.

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFCC) provides information on more than 1,400 clinics across the country that offer free or low-cost health care services (often including therapy options) to people in need, whether they’re insured or not.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) helps people manage and overcome eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder through a variety of outreach initiatives. NEDA’s site provides links to free and low-cost support resources., part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a confidential resource that helps people find treatment programs for substance abuse disorders and other mental health concerns.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of mental health services to veterans and their families, including individual and group therapy, medication management, and peer support.

Community clinics

Nonprofit community-based clinics can offer a range of low-cost or free health services—including mental health services—to clients regardless of their ability to pay. Services vary by location but may include individual or group therapy, medication management, depression and anxiety screenings, support groups, and substance abuse treatment referrals.

To find an organization near you, do an online search for “free therapy” or “affordable therapy” plus the name of your city or town. You may also want to check with your state’s department of mental health or social services. Many states have directories of affordable mental health services on their websites.

Support groups

Support groups are another way to get the help you need at minimal or no cost. These groups meet regularly online or in public places, such as churches or libraries, and are open to everyone. One example is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a free 12-step program for people who want to stop drinking. You can find a list of support group resources through Mental Health America.

Crisis lines and chat services

If you need help right away, call a crisis line or chat online with a trained professional. Crisis lines like the 988 Lifeline are available 24/7 and offer free, confidential support. Chat services are typically open during certain hours of the day, but they also offer immediate help and support. These services vary according to the type of help you need.

Depression, suicide, and emotional distress

LGBTQIA+ youth and adults

 Domestic violence and abuse

Sexual assault

Substance abuse and addiction

 For additional support services, visit our Helplines page.

Therapy apps

While mental health apps aren’t a solution on their own, they may be an affordable way to support your emotional health while you look for therapy that fits your budget. Some apps offer exercises rooted in mindfulness, such as breathing and muscle relaxation; some offer AI-assisted chat features; and some offer paid chat access to a live coach.

No matter your income level, help is available now for your mental health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any of these resources for support.

About the author

Elise Burley is a member of the editorial team. She has more than a decade of professional experience writing and editing on a variety of health topics, including for several health-related e-commerce businesses, media publications, and licensed professionals. When she’s not working, she’s usually practicing yoga or off the grid somewhere on her latest canoe camping adventure.