Experience is Everything
June 15, 2019
Hello Readers! My name is Lexi Ferenzi, and I am a soon-to-be senior at Cornell College. This summer I am interning at a non-profit known as the Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA) located in Evanston, Illinois. ITA provides creative arts therapy (music therapy, dance/movement therapy, art therapy, and drama therapy) to the Chicagoland area.
Because I have such a passion for fine arts and helping others, I want to become an art therapist. ITA offers some rare insight into the world of art therapy by allowing interns like me to sit in on real clinical art therapy sessions with clients. I found ITA’s administrative internship online back in January, and I knew I had to apply because most art therapy-related internships for undergraduate students do not allow them to participate in therapy sessions. Other than shadowing sessions while at ITA, I hope to figure out what my next steps are within my professional development because I have to start applying to graduate and PhD programs soon.
My first week at ITA has allowed me to gain a ton of experience, both professionally and personally. I completed a lot of very involved training that is necessary in order to work with clients, such as Mandatory Reporter Training and studying HIPAA guidelines. I also met with each therapist that I will be shadowing to discuss the specific details of each client’s case, such as diagnoses, and my role within the sessions. Then I began helping my primary supervisor, Marni, advertise and market for ITA’s 5th Annual Integrated Creative Arts Therapy Conference, which will take place in March of next year. I designed several different flyer ideas, and began a spreadsheet with costs to advertise with different creative arts therapy organizations across the country.
In addition to this, I learned how much the people at ITA care about their interns and each other. For instance, at my orientation, Amanda, my program manager, showed all of the interns the art pieces hung above her desk. Each canvas was made by a past intern at the end of their time at ITA, and they represented how much the interns had grown as people. It also became pretty clear to me that ITA really values its interns after my first Friday intern supervision, which is an hour where Amanda runs a sort of mini-therapy session to make sure that the interns are doing okay mentally. During this supervision, the other interns and I wrote letters to ourselves five years in the future. Amanda promised that once we were finished, she would put the letters away for five years, and then mail them to us so that we can see how far we’ve come. It was a very comforting and self-reflective experience for me, and I am looking forward to the next Friday supervision.
My last focus for this week was having fun and getting to know the other interns. I had the opportunity to create some arts and crafts with several of the therapists and interns, which allowed me to really spend some time learning about their backgrounds. First, one of the art therapists asked me to help her with an art project that is going to be hung on the wall at ITA. She asked me to take some CD’s and records that were decorated by people at ITA’s last fundraiser and create a mandala out of them on a piece of plexiglass. It was a bit difficult because I had to include so many different colors and different sized circles into the piece, but the entire staff loved the way it turned out. Next, I helped the other interns make party decorations out of cardboard, paint, construction paper, and glue for a party for a drama therapist. The theme is Dungeons and Dragons, so we made banners, a tavern sign, a fireplace, swords, shields, and a treasure chest. We also got to talking about our likes and dislikes on topics like books, movies, and musicals. Read more about the other interns here:
So far I’m having so much fun at ITA, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming weeks!
Alexa is a psychology and studio art double major and art history minor from Chicago, Illinois.