Shared Experiences – Barb’s Story

Below you will read the arts in therapy experience of one of our AiTchat members. Barb (aka: PICASSO2B) has been gracious and courageous enough to let us peak inside her creative journey. If you would like to send Barb email with comments/questions or words of support, you may email her:

“I have been in art therapy for four years now. I have had many truamas to overcome in my past including abuse issues of all types and also an extensive medical history and over 50 operations. And from all of this, has come depression, phobias, and obsessive compulsive symptoms. My medical history includes: a brainstem astrocytoma, epilepsy, hydrocephalus with a shunt, vestibular disorder with constant dizziness/nausea, dysautonomia with accompanying neurally mediated hypotension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, double vision, central and peripheral nervous system disorders, and I am 60% deaf…PHEW!!


First off, I always wanted to be an art therapist but since a double major was involved I knew I would be in college until I was 94. I had to go slow due to my illness. I switched to social work but in my junior year, had to drop out because I was just too ill. That left me feeling like I lost my mind, as well as my brain. I did not know who I was anymore, so I stopped writing my poetry and creating my art.

I stayed this way for 14 years until I heard about the Art Therapy program at Metrohealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. I went for an interview. It has now been four years since that interview. I never stop learning about art, myself and others. I am doing things I have only dreamed about doing in some kind of far off place. But here and now…I am doing it!!! I have exibited in about six shows, one being my one woman show.

I had been so used to no one giving a hoot about what I had to say but now with my art, people are liking me and relating to my messages!! I create mostly visionary art work but am now also learning more traditional techniques. I had never considered myself an artist in the past, and until my one woman show, had never even signed my work. Now I do!!!!!!!!!

Art Therapy has taught me that I am stronger than I knew socially because I have to relate to all types of people at the studio. I learned that I can do it. Art therapy has made all the difference in my life. I hope you all realize that you are not just alternative therapists, but are a crucial part of the healing process. I just wanted you to know. And for those of your clients who can not tell you…I will tell you…THANK YOU.”


An International Community for Creative Arts Therapists