Let a professional Art Therapist lead you in using your imagination and creativity to heal your wounds of the mind, body, and spirit.
Have you had a traumatic experience that hinders your quality of life?
Would you like some support through an emotional struggle?
Are you experiencing too much anger or need a release?
Do you struggle with symptoms related to a diagnosis?
Do you suffer from too much stress or anxiety?
Do you want a more positive self image?
Are you feeling depressed?
LET ME HELP YOU.
Brenda Cunningham, MS, ATR-BC, LPC
I was born and raised in New York, at the east end of Long Island. I grew up in a single parent home, as my parents divorced when I was around 4 years old, and I had weekend visits with my dad. I have always been interested in art and crafting. I played with all sorts of media and my favorite places were always the art supply and craft stores, as well as the hardware stores! I went to college on Long Island after graduating high school only to drop out after a year and a half. I was going for fine art, and my dream was to be a Disney animator. That dream was crushed by the competitive nature of the art field as well as the move to computer generated animation. I was not well versed in digital art in 1995. Therefore I went to work. I spent 10 years in the retail world and 2 years as an accounting clerk before realizing a new dream. Glass art! That led to spending 8 years in upstate Rochester, NY going to undergraduate and graduate school. I was 28 years old when I moved up there.
After 6 years of full time education, it was difficult to find a full time job. So, I had several part time jobs. I worked with seniors at an independent living facility as an activities coordinator; with developmentally delayed adolescents as a staff member in their group home; with children with Autism and their siblings; with adults with early onset dementia and Alzheimer's. Then I found a full time job as an Art Therapist in New Oxford, PA. I spent over 4 1/2 years working with children ages 2-18 as they suffered from many different diagnoses and circumstances that promoted various emotional and behavioral issues.
Living in PA for the past 10 years has been great! Here I am now in my 40's and running a private practice and helping the south central PA community. I love to utilize all that I have learned in Rochester and throughout life to help others get through this existence we call life. We can be happy and healthy if we put our minds to it!
My life has not been easy or happy, it has been littered with trauma and turmoil from an early age. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault as an adult, burglary, vandalism, bullying, depression, hypothyroidism, random medical conditions, grief and loss, anxiety, unemployment, etc. You get the idea. We all have our stories, but if we learn to cope with them, learn from them, and practice positive thinking, we can accomplish anything!
Those letters behind my name mean that I have a Master of Science degree in Creative Arts Therapy, I am a registered and board certified art therapist, as well as a licensed professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. I have dedicated my career to helping others in the best way I know how- through art! I have an eclectic and humanistic approach to working with clients and I individualize my approach to suit each clients needs and personality as best as I can. I also incorporate techniques that are person-centered, solution-focused, and use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I have also had training in Trauma Focused-CBT, and Internal Family Systems (IFS).
I am credentialed by the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB), a national organization. I am governed to practice by the ATCB Code of Professional Practice, which you can view by clicking here and downloading the PDF file. I defer to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) link below, as they have the best up to date info on art therapy, resources, and definitions. You can click here to find more info on my PA state Professional Counselor license.
Capital Blue Cross
Major Credit Cards
One on one time scheduled on a regular basis (usually weekly to start) with Brenda Cunningham, and through collaborative effort an individualized treatment plan will be created. Art therapy techniques and directives will be utilized by Brenda to guide you towards the goals discussed in your individual treatment plan.
A single session length is approximately 55 minutes and occurs weekly. The duration of therapy depends on your progress with your goals. Therapy is voluntary and can be stopped and started at your discretion with proper notification.
Payment types accepted: Medical Insurances: Highmark and Capital Blue Cross, all major credit cards, HSA debit cards, and cash. The session fee (which includes all art materials and client file creation/maintenance/storage with HIPPA compliance) is $120, but may vary with insurance and co-pay.
Call 717-969-2208 to discuss your possibilities in art therapy and find out if it will be a good fit for you.
Intake forms, other required forms, and other features can be accessed through the secure Client Portal (access provided by administrative assistant prior to intake, call or email for more info).
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being. Art therapy practice requires knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms) and the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.
Today art therapy is widely practiced in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, forensic institutions, schools, crisis centers, senior communities, private practice, and other clinical and community settings. During individual and/or group sessions art therapists elicit their clients’ inherent capacity for art making to enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Research supports the use of art therapy within a professional relationship for the therapeutic benefits gained through artistic self-expression and reflection for individuals who experience illness, trauma, and mental health problems and those seeking personal growth.
Who benefits from art therapy?
Art therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, forensic, wellness, private practice and community settings with diverse client populations in individual, couples, family, and group therapy formats. Art therapy is an effective treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment. Individuals who benefit from art therapy include those who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster; persons with adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other health disability; and persons with autism, dementia, depression, and other disorders. Art therapy helps people resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage problematic behaviors, reduce negative stress, and achieve personal insight. Art therapy also provides an opportunity to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of art making (taken from © American Art Therapy Association 2013).
Who can I help?
If you are an adult who struggles with their daily life and have symptoms of depression, anxiety, nightmares, pent up anger, sadness, or any other intense emotions, stemming from complex trauma and/or PTSD, you may benefit from art therapy in a deeper way, and gain more insight with your work. People who want change in their life, and want to practice self- awareness, acceptance, and kindness, as well as learn various healthy coping skills, would benefit from working with me in art therapy. I urge you to give me a try. Call me or email me and lets figure out how I can help you in the best possible way.
One size fits all? False!
When it comes to counselors and counseling, there are many different types.
Most people understand that individuals are unique in many ways, just as much as we are so similar as human beings. Therapists understand the psychology of the human being and adapt their knowledge and methods to suit the individual they are working with, but therapy and therapists are not "one size fits all."
There are many types of therapies and approaches to therapy out there. And just as the person seeking therapy has specific individual needs, the therapist is also a unique individual that brings their own background, history, knowledge, experiences, and theoretical approach to the table. To be fair, not all therapies, approaches, or therapists can treat all humans. Just like "you can't please everyone all of the time" - same premise.
Individuals need to consider what would be a good fit for them. What are your specific needs? Please consider the many types of treatments there are available to you in your area, then ask yourself- which one would best support me and help me grow?
There is no art experience necessary to engage in art therapy. Trying a less verbal and more visual and hands-on form of therapy may be an avenue worth exploring, especially if traditional talk therapy methods have had a limited success for you, or you find talking intimidating or hindering at times. Sometimes it is hard to find the words to explain the feelings and experiences, and expressing it visually may be easier. Together, we can work through your current needs while creating unique therapeutic art, without the stigmas sometimes associated with typical doctor's office environments. Utilizing your medical insurance to offset the investment in your well-being is also an option.