As a registered and board-certified art therapist, I have lectured, published, and facilitated local and national workshops on how art therapy services can benefit students in a school setting, as well as the positive role that art therapy can play in enhancing all lives.
More than anything, I have felt rewarded by having used art therapy to help students and clients face inner turmoil, become more resilient, and be able to heal by building on personal strengths. In 2017, I was extremely honored to have been recognized by the American Art Therapy Association, receiving their prestigious “Distinguished Clinician Award-Adolescent Services.”
I hold a BA in Early Childhood Education from William Paterson University and earned a MA in Art Therapy from The George Washington University (GWU). After early work as a teacher, in schools with both elementary-aged children and teens, I designed a unique high school art therapy program for youth with emotional disabilities in Fairfax County Public Schools (VA). Through a framework of integrated government mandates and well-founded art therapy theories and practices, I encouraged and fostered individual growth and self-expression in an open art studio classroom setting for 19 years.
During that time, I served as a Clinical Field Supervisor at GWU, providing art therapy student interns with first-hand experiences. In addition, I was an adjunct faculty instructor for graduate students at the Corcoran School of Art + Design, as well as the GWU Art Therapy Program.
After leaving the school setting, I established, and continue to maintain, a private art therapy practice for clients, as well as professional supervision for new and established art therapists.
More recently, along with Sangeeta, I realized a personal dream of creating Circle Art Studio, an art therapy studio that is accessible to all in the community and serves children, teens, adults, and seniors. This inspirational space serves me, too, as I continue to enjoy and explore the power of mixed-media artwork.
Please feel free to contact me at: [email protected] or 571.482.3010, EXT. 2
“Art Saves Lives”
Helen Corning, Artist
…Saving one life saves the world…
Paraphrased from the Talmud
The Gifts of My Own Artmaking
Color feels like emotion, and I am led into my art process just by picking up the first pastel that lures me to it.
I follow the colors and media choices, as each one calls. Learning that I don’t need to plan every aspect of my art has been the biggest change for me since becoming an art therapist. I create more instinctually, adding and/or subtracting just what feels right.
Experimenting with art materials offers me so many valuable gifts, particularly the chance to “play” and decompress in a stressful, grown-up world. The creative process requires decision-making along the way, taking me on a new adventure with each piece. Continuing to develop new art skills, and trying out new art media, further enriches my ability to self-express.
Getting lost in my artwork, a sensation that is sometimes referred to as “flow,” can feel like meditation. That enriching meditative state stimulates my creativity, awakens my self-awareness, and helps me to gain new perspectives on life.
As an art therapist, what bonds me most to my clients is always their art. By developing my own understanding of the responses each art medium or technique might elicit, I stay connected to clients and their process of creating. Together, we develop an unspoken dialogue of what the spectrum of materials is guiding them to think, feel, and articulate.