In this Featured Member series, AATA celebrates the work of our members. During the coronavirus pandemic, we are inviting members to share their experiences about how their professional and personal lives have changed.
November 5, 2020
Tell us about yourself
I am a bilingual clinical art and family therapist with more than 20 years of clinical experience working with children, couples and families. In 2010, I earned a master’s degree in Systemic Family Therapy from the UNIVA in México. Then in 2012, I graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA with a master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy with specialization in Art Therapy.
My final research projects for my graduate programs were Art Therapy with Homeless Hispanic Men and Art Therapy and Narrative Model: Two Stories of Incest and Abuse. During my graduate career, I worked as a graduate assistant for Dr. Debra Linesch and shortly after graduating, I presented at the AATA Conference in Sacramento, CA. I have since worked as a teacher of Family Therapy at the Universidad de Allende and of Psychology and pedagogy at “Atabal” Bilingual School, San Miguel de Allende and have offered workshops for parents and children including, “Connecting through clay” and “Communication strategies for parents and children.” I have offered art therapy services to children diagnosed with cancer and leukemia, children and adolescents, and art therapy groups with diabetic patients and families experiencing domestic violence. See more about my work here.
What has changed in your job during the COVID-19 global crisis?
I had to adapt a space in the outdoors of my house to see my patients without the worries of safety. I also made a book for children because I am worried about the way some kids don’t have the space to express what they are going through, and sometimes here in my country, not all kids have access to therapy, because of the lack of resources or because adults don’t believe in it. Also, personally, I had to make a lot of artwork for my self. I’m also dealing personally with economic problems, and a lot of people around me dying or getting sick. So I had to take homeopathic medicine too so I can work and cope with my reality at the same time.
In what ways have your clients been impacted by COVID-19?
In many ways– jobs, a lot of grief in many aspects, so difficult for moms and kids. Moms are having to work from home with their kids also. Many are frustrated and some are being violent with their kids.
Since the killing of George Floyd, the topic of race has once again been brought to the forefront of national dialogue. How have race related issues, social justice, and racism informed or impacted your work as an art therapist?
Because I have patients from different countries in the world, I have had to add this kind of conversations in the sessions. I ask my patients to draw how they feel and also give them tools to understand the things that are on our hands and not. The situation of the world has impacted all my patients emotionally. There is a lot of depression, frustration, anxiety, etc.
In what ways has your living or work space changed?
In the first months I worked online, but after 8 months of this situation, I work with a few patients on line and the great majority in person. And I live with my family taking the general precautions and safety measures.
How do you view your role as an art therapist during COVID-19?
My role has been so important. I had the opportunity to write on the COVID-19 SMA Facebook page every day, during the first three months of the pandemic, I was helping a big group of people by posting alternatives on the mental health area. Sometimes, I was suggesting art therapy directives, sometimes just posting ideas to help people cope with the situation. This was here in Mexico, specifically for people here in San Miguel de Allende, and also I posted on my Facebook page for my friends and family.
“Construcción” by Gabriela Osorio. Yarn. May 2020.
This was my last artwork during the first two months of the pandemic. This bird helped me to feel free in such difficult times. I always wanted to feel that I was almost painting, but with yarn.