Alyssa Healey (she/her) is a student art therapist enrolled in the Lewis & Clark Art Therapy Graduate program. She has a background in fine art and art education, which blends with her emerging identity as an art therapist. Currently immersed as an intern in a residential treatment center, Alyssa provides trauma-informed and relationally-focused art therapy for youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. Inspired by the inherent creativity, bravery, and honesty of adolescence, Alyssa finds immense joy in working with this demographic.
Alyssa views artmaking as a form of play, tapping into its liberating and exploratory aspects. These principles are reflected in her approach as an art therapist, as she holds a liberatory and strength-based lens.
Mixed media- found objects, air dry clay, canvas, acrylic paint
This series titled Girlhood Narratives: Processing Through Creative Freedom, was created in response to my experiences working with youth who have been commercially sexually exploited. My artistic process involved playing with sensory-based materials and allowing myself creative freedom, without following any predetermined plan. Through this process, my personal connection with concepts I have encountered when working with this population became reflected in the artwork. Throughout the series these concepts of childhood trauma, the complexity of girlhood, emotional dysregulation, lack of secure attachment, body image, dissociation, and searching for a sense of home and safety in relationships, are conveyed through symbolism and in my art process. I found myself creating containment for these concepts through literal found containers and clay. I was drawn to materials that are nostalgic to my own childhood. Clay, water beads, dirt, and the contrast between soft/comforting and hard/dangerous materials added a sensory-based aspect to my art process. Deconstructing and reconstructing these objects through mending is symbolic to my personal identity being a queer woman who has worked to deconstruct dominant cultural norms in my life. Mending and play are also central to experiences of youth at this internship site, who are also deconstructing previous beliefs about themselves and forming their identities. I have observed healing in my own life and for this population to be extremely painful and requiring safety, comfort, and play to be a part of the process.