Megan Carleton, ATR, LMHC

Megan Carleton

Specialty: Art Therapist, Pediatrics, Adults, Families
Education/Training: MA, Art Therapy
Certification: Registered Art Therapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Years in practice: 9 years
Years at MGHCC: Since 2012

What drew you to your specialty?: In my life, I have learned that engaging in the creative process can make difficult things seem a bit easier. I began my career working with children and families who have experienced trauma and extreme conflict. In this work, I learned that when tasks were approached with opportunities for hands-on creativity, crisis could be avoided and learning would take place. The creative process became the focus of our work, and through this externalization and self-generated expression, healing was given the opportunity to take place, often in spite of multiple barriers. Meanwhile, in my personal life, I witnessed the cancer experience of loved ones, and decided to transition to a medical setting with the intention of facilitating creativity to support those whose lives were touched by cancer. Most of all, I like connecting with people, getting my hands dirty, trying out new things, and creating something meaningful out of the ordinary.

Favorite part of your job: My favorite part of my job is meeting amazing people, witnessing their stories and working together to come up with a creative experience that is meaningful to them. Whether it is using creativity to help someone reduce their worries, serve as a distraction from treatment, maintain connection with family and friends, or to mark a loss or celebration, I feel honored to be a part of their journey. Most recently, I have been engaging in projects with patients using digital media as a medium through which patients can share memories. Creating these videos, and witnessing the creativity, love and connection between patients, their friends and families, is overwhelmingly inspirational. 

What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty:  Art therapy is practiced by masters level registered art therapists who have completed an approved art therapy program and supervised clinical hours.  Goals for patients and families often include promoting attachment, decreasing fear and anxiety, increasing empowerment, supporting emotional expression, increasing physical rehabilitation and developing/supporting coping skills.  This is done through active art making with a variety of materials including, but not limited to: drawing, painting, sculpture, sewing, mask-making, jewelry making, photography and digital media.  No artistic skill is necessary, and all experiences are catered to your own interests and personal situation.

Kelsey A. Skerpan, ATR-BC, LMHC

Kelsey A. Skerpan

Specialty: Art Therapist, Pediatrics, Adults, Families
Education/Training: Master’s in Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Art Therapy from Lesley University
Certification: Board Certified Art Therapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Years in practice: Since 2016
Years at MGHCC: Since 2017

What drew you to your specialty?: While working with children prior to pursuing a career in art therapy, I witnessed the power of art and its ability to facilitate storytelling, self-expression, and pure happiness. I knew I wanted to work in a profession where the goal was to help others and through that journey, I found art therapy. It just clicked for me as a fusion of my two passions; art and working to help others. Working at MGHCC has allowed me to share the power of art as a therapeutic tool. I have witnessed its ability to connect individuals and allow them to explore ideas that may be too big for words.

Favorite part of your job: I love being able to meet amazing new people and bring joy to them and their families through the creative process. Seeing smiling faces and messy hands during a child’s treatment journey is one of the most rewarding experiences. From facilitating the creation of powerful pieces to express big ideas, to providing a process to promote relaxation or fun, the opportunities are endless.

What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty:  Art Therapy requires no prior skill in art making, it just requires a splash of creativity and openness to try something new. Art therapy is practiced by registered art therapists who have earned a Master’s degree approved by the American Art Therapy Association and have supervised clinical experience in the field. Every art therapy session has the patient and family in mind, focusing on goals and interests of the individual or group. Goals might include decreasing stress and anxiety, supporting emotional expression, providing enrichment and a sense of normalcy, and developing ways of coping during treatment.

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