I have always been fascinated with Angels and Spirit Guides. Maybe it’s due to my own personal loss of a parent as an infant. As an only child it was cool to think I had someone to always hang out with who had my back. As I got older I found myself drawn to psychology, dream work and the idea that everything is connected. I came to the idea that there might be hundreds or even thousands of peaceful religions but maybe they all lead to one universal source.
Gotta start somewhere.
While college an awesome grant funded program was looking to hire a student for a semester. I found myself working with kids (9-12 yrs old) along side therapists in an Art as Therapy program through child protective services.
One evening one of the therapists asked if I had heard about Art Therapy? Um… No but do tell… It was then I came to learn about the profession I would take up eventually but first I found out there was an entrance exam.
Photograph by Suzanne Dufour
Self Doubt. Alternate Route?
I didn’t feel like I could pass the exam requirement. I was historically not a good standardized test taker. My mom and step dad got me a tutor in high school to help me with my scores. I think I might be the only kid in history to actually have my scores drop after working with them (Like a lot!). So I wasn’t keen on taking an exam and possibly failing. Instead I decided to see what else was out there job wise as an Artist and learn about and what I could do to avoid taking that test.
I studied healing techniques and achieved my Reiki master in 1997. Which lead me to study and learn a Japanese healing technique called Seimei in the early 2000’s. During this time I learned more about Chakras, Spirit Guides, Ascended Masters, Angels and Archangels and a whole bunch of other things and life lessons along the way.
Yet every time I checked that test requirement it was still there. Until one day 12 years later while checking out Art Therapy programs for the millionth time…
Puppet by Suzanne DuFour
There was no more test requirement at the program located closest to me! It was GONE! (You bet I read that a few times to be sure.) It was a sign! I had just moved to a condo directly across from the PATH subway station a few months prior. At the time I had said to myself now I have no excuse if I want to work or go to school in the city.
I sent in my application adding "OK universe if its meant to be it will be." During my interview I remember them asking what would happen if I wasn’t accepted. I said “ Well, I guess you will see me here next year then.” With that for the second time I went off to an art school acceptance in hand and graduating with my Masters’ degree in Art Therapy in 2010.
I have since worked with a variety of populations with ages ranging from 2 to 99 (like the saying on the board game) with various diagnoses ranging from Terminal Illness to Behavioral issues. At times I held down 4 jobs a week to complete hour requirements. I only ever really knew what day it was by asking my clients if it was a Monday or a Friday.
Artwork by Suzanne DuFour
Something Missing? Something Found!
It was exhausting. I continued working with even more diverse clients such as women and children who were survivors of Domestic Violence and /or Sexual Assault. I found myself almost 10 years later full circle in a school system as a Mobile School Therapist.
After a couple of years of driving an hour to multiple schools on the same day, paying tolls, getting there then carrying multiple bags filled with supplies/laptop / files like a Sherpa up and down three flights of stairs. It just lost its appeal.
But the biggest thing I found was that it just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Where was the connection of what I love about Art Therapy combined with the spiritual and metaphysical addition of all the other stuff I love? So with that I decided to make that connection here on my on my website (Art.Mind.Soul. LLC. ) with classes and online courses for you to connect with your own Art. Mind. Soul.
What is possible in art becomes thinkable in life.
Here's a list of all the Professional stuff.
American Art Therapy Association Registered Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) - #13-022
Trainings and Certifications:
SoulCollage® Facilitator - 2017
Sandplay for Healing, LLC - Ruth Castellano, West Long Branch, NJ
Intermediate Level Sandplay, 6 month study - 2014
New Jersey mandated 40 hour training for working with Survivors of Domestic Violence -2013 and additional training for working with Sexual Assault Survivors -2016
Lighthouse Counseling and Wellness Center, Tinton Falls, NJ
Introductory Sandplay, 3 day intensive- 2012
The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement:
Certified Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselor - 2010
Governmental Affairs Chairperson, New Jersey Art Therapy Association - 2012- present
Student Liaison, New Jersey Art Therapy Association - 2011-2012
Member of the American Art Therapy Association since 2009
Member of the New Jersey Art Therapy Association since 2009