One of the great things about our conference is that we try to make it accessible and appealing to both kids and adults. Today we interviewed Erin Headley—an art therapist at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, WI— who is running this year’s Kids & Teens Art Therapy Rooms. The Art Therapy Rooms tend to be one of the most popular activities at the Conference for the younger attendees, as well as offering a great opportunity for parents to take in other Conference sessions while their kids are entertained and engaged.
In this blog, Erin offers us a look at what to expect in this year’s Art Therapy Rooms, what kinds of fun and exciting activities are planned, and why YOU should come check these rooms out at the Conference.
CA: What are the Kids & Teens Art Therapy Rooms? Why should kids and teens at the Conference—whether or not they have OCD themselves—come to the Art Therapy Rooms?
EH: The Kids & Teens Art Therapy Rooms are open for the duration of the conference as a place where kids ages 6 to 18 can express themselves in creative ways, socialize and network with each other, and really become involved and integrated into the conference. There are two different rooms—one is for kids ages 6–13, and the other is for teens ages 13–18. These rooms can also be used as a resource for children who may be overwhelmed by the conference experience and need a space to relax.
All of the kids and teens are welcome and encouraged to experience the art therapy rooms, as the rooms can be a great way to connect with other people. Through socialization and art making, the children and teens have a unique opportunity to get to know each other and form a support network for themselves that can continue even after the conference.
CA: What are the two most exciting and fun activities you and the other art therapists from Rogers Memorial Hospital have planned for kids and teens for the Conference weekend?
EH: One of the things we are excited about offering at this year’s conference are more expressive arts activities for the children’s room. The rooms will still be centered around art making, but we will also provide opportunities for children to engage in activities that are oriented towards dance/movement, drama, and poetry. As in past conferences we are also looking forward to our special projects and collaborations such as the IOCDF mural and improv sessions with Bob and Mimi Doan.
CA: How did you get involved in art therapy? What is the most rewarding part of your job?
EH: I became involved in art therapy while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in fine arts. When I heard about the profession and the combination of art and therapy it made sense to me, so I decided to pursue my master’s degree in art therapy and counseling. I have worked in several settings including working with veterans, adults with disabilities, adults with eating disorders, and bereaved children and families. I am now fortunate to have a position as an art therapist with Rogers Memorial Hospital where I work with teens and adults with anxiety disorders.
The most rewarding part of this job is seeing the transformation that people go through after a few months of treatment. People often enter our programs feeling distressed and, at times, hopeless. I feel very fortunate that I am able to work with people to get their lives back on track and to help them regain hope for their future.
CA: Thanks so much for talking with us, Erin— it seems like you and your team have lots of great things planned for this year’s Kids & Teens Art Therapy Rooms.
The Art Therapy Rooms will be located on the 4th floor of the hotel in the Sheffield and Grace rooms, (which are right next to each other), and will be open during the Conference from 8am–5pm on Friday, 10am–5pm on Saturday, and from 9am–11:30am on Sunday. For more information about this year’s conference, click here: www.ocfoundation.org/conference/