May 10, 2018
Michael Galarraga, ATR-BC, LPC, CSAC, CSOTP works in private practice in Richmond, VA providing art therapy to individuals, families, and couples. He is an active member of the AATA community and previously served on the Virginia Art Therapy Association (VATA) Board as Membership Director and Vice President, and volunteered through the Georgia Art Therapy Association (GATA) as Website Developer. Galarraga was a direct mentee of the late Joan Phillips, PhD, ATR-BC, and is currently available to mentor new professionals and students through the AATA’s Mentor Match Program.
During the 2017 AATA Conference, he “felt connected with the presence of other art therapists who identify in the LGBT+ community.” He attended LGBTQIA inclusive forums, master supervision sessions, and presentations, which fostered his sense of professionalism as an art therapist. He believes it is important to acknowledge and understand the need for diversity and inclusion in the profession of art therapy.
Galarraga worked as a Mental Health Technician on a psychiatric unit of a general hospital before studying art therapy. Since graduating with a MS in Art Therapy and Counseling from Eastern Virginia Medical School, he provided art therapy at a behavioral health residential center in VA and offered Bilingual (Spanish) community based counseling services in GA, before transitioning to private practice.
He has found that his work has been effective in providing both English and Spanish speaking patients a safe space to explore their stressors and overcome their fears for change. He reflects, “As an identified minority in many ways, I have been able to grow as a clinician through my own understanding of how art therapy can provide a multifaceted outlet for individuals who struggle with the many environmental factors faced in today’s societies.”
Reaching In” by Michael Galarraga. Woodcut print. 2014.