My name is Morgan McCoy. I have my bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Writing. For as long as I can remember I’ve used art to explore my emotions, thoughts and identity. When I discovered what art therapy was at Beth Ann Short’s 100th Monkey Studio and then in Lewis & Clark’s Art Therapy Program, I began my learning journey of all the different ways art can support people therapeutically. This journey through graduate school has given my life a passion and direction doing work I never dreamed I would be able to pursue not too long ago. I’m grateful for all the opportunities of academic, clinical, and personal growth this program has given me.
I allowed myself to trust my art process by not having a plan and using media I’ve never used before. I allowed myself to be okay with the outcome, accepting that my art pieces could fall apart, I could find the product not aesthetically pleasing or I could struggle to find a cognitively explainable meaning at the end. I gave myself permission to not know, which allowed for honest exploration, (Cozolino, 2014). My art pieces appear fluid and natural in movement, like the curves in a blanket, foothills of a mountain or the spilling of petroleum seep; but to the touch they are hard, sturdy, the curves are fossilized into place. My art represents to me both strength and softness and that things are not always what they appear. It is a reminder to my inner critic that I have the education and emotional foundation to trust myself and to embrace the fluidity and intuition within myself. As an intern I’ve been working at a training institute of a private practice and have had the privilege of working with a wide variety of different populations and needs. My clients include children, teenagers, adults, and couples. My site has a grant for offering free therapy for survivors of sexual abuse, a population who often experiences severe trauma symptoms. It’s been challenging and rewarding, and like my art process it’s been interesting to observe my therapist identity emerge through all my experiences. My therapeutic style at my internship strives to center the client as the expert of their experience while guiding them in a way where they don’t feel alone in solving their problems. My art to me reflects this balance and dance of creating a safe environment through structure and freedom. My therapy lens is relationally based and fluctuates between deeper emotional processing of one’s history and building nervous system regulation and distress tolerance depending on each clients’ needs. The theories I’ve been most influenced by are Relational Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy for complex trauma and couples counseling, trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Somatic Therapy. I hope this is a steppingstone to creating a stable life and career for myself, which is something I am so grateful for.