Teens go through so many different physical, emotional, and spiritual changes that it’s probably one of the most impressionable periods of time in anyone’s life. Every day, or maybe twice a day, you might feel like a different person. Wearing different hats, trying new things, not knowing what to do, and/or experimenting are all part of this time in life. Art Therapy is one of the most powerful tools for this time of life because studies have shown that teen brains are highly engaged in multiple creative processes and do best when learning creatively through art, music, dance, play, theatre, etc… Being a teen can also make you feel lost, confused, disconnected from yourself or others, angry, isolated, depressed, and/or anxious. It’s a time when you aren’t a kid but you aren’t an adult yet. So what are you?  

My goal is to help teens be their best selves and to find a path that is comforting and healing while dealing with growing up and coping with all the pressures teenage life brings. When life challenges or sad events happen, growing up feels even more depressing or anxiety provoking. Getting help to explore and heal from difficult periods of life is especially important for teens because they need to learn positive, empowering ways to cope and take care of themselves during hard times. These life skills will carry through adulthood and art therapy is an excellent tool.

I strive to make each session as comfortable as possible and help you feel safe, especially when the topics of discussion or art created may not always reflect that. The art made is for you to keep when the therapy session is over but sometimes it’s stored confidentially and safely in my office, for subsequent sessions. This record keeping is essential for your emotional growth and reflects learning and “a-ha” moments along the path to healing and self-awareness. The creative process is more comforting and comfortable in counseling than verbal therapy. Many times, issues are addressed more rapidly, because in art it is harder to filter what you are thinking or feeling and the child can visually express issues or thoughts easier than he/she can express them in words.

All sessions are 50 minutes long and are strictly confidential. You are encouraged to share what your sessions are like with trusted love ones, but if you don’t want to, that’s your choice and I will respect that. Unless I think you or someone else might be in immanent danger, all art and discussions that take place in therapy are confidential. In time, you might feel like opening up to someone outside of the art therapy sessions and share your art. That is a positive step in the healing process.

Just remember that it’s not about making pretty pictures, its about the process and what the art means to you. That’s where the growth, insights, and healing stem from. I simply provide the guidance, suggestions, materials, and safe space for you to become your best self.

To make an appointment, use the Appointment Calendar or Contact me with any questions.

Live creatively. Get inspired.

Workshops and open art studios are a great way to explore and learn not just about art techniques, but to also learn, in a fun way, about you! Workshops and open studios sometimes feel less scary than one-on-one art therapy sessions, and can be a great way to see if art therapy might work for you should you want or need more in-depth guidance with specific life issues and challenges. The self-discovery and learning that takes place in my workshops can also really help those who are shy, or help kids who feel like their voice isn’t being heard or understood. The creative process, even for those who think they have no artistic bone in their body, is super energized in the teen years. When presented openly, art can really help teens feel more in control and have a greater understanding for all the different emotions, thoughts, and/or physical changes you might be experiencing. My workshops and open studios are also a great way to build trust and connect with others in a less threatening way.

I offer one day workshops and workshop series. There are benefits to both. A lot of it depends on your time, how comfortable you are in group settings, and what just feels right for you this month. Sometimes students like to sign up with a friend and that is totally fine and perhaps even more helpful to you in letting go and trying new things. If you aren’t sure which one is best, always feel free to email with questions or concerns.

Please sign up for any workshop by emailing me at helena@artandshelter.com or sign up via the Appointment Calendar.


Open Art Studio
Ages: 12-17
Cost: $85 for any 4 studio sessions OR $145 for 8 studio classes
(Includes light dinner and art materials.)
Time: 5:30pm to 7:45pm
Dates: 4 Weeks. Choose any 4 of the dates listed below:
Oct 2nd; Oct 9th; (SKIP Oct 16th); Oct 23rd; Oct. 30th; Nov. 6th; Nov 13th
Participants: Maximum of 6

The open studio concept is very familiar to me and can be a great way to learn new art skills while exploring ideas, goals, challenges, dilemmas, or opportunities in a non-threatening and non-verbal way. This is not quite like an art class because there are themes, ideas, feelings that are explored.  To learn more about the difference between art teaching and art therapy please visit the FAQ page for more information. My open art studios generally include a topic or theme that I suggest each week in order to help you to begin. Or, the group is invited to do a brief exercise where the theme is selected by the group. You may choose to use that theme or do something else. I may show you an art or just simply tell you to choose whatever materials you wish for that night.  The goal is to learn something new about yourself through the creative process. So making pretty pictures is not always the ideal outcome. Sometimes, just in making art, we learn in the process that we are growing and changing. 

Here is what the format for the open studio looks like: For the first session, the attendees come up with and discuss their own ground rules. These might include things like, “We will respect others art and not judge it.” Or, “We will listen and ask questions without interrupting.” Each week, the rules are posted so that everyone is reminded of what they agreed to. Art materials are laid out for you to choose from and based on how you’re feeling, I might guide you to try a specific material. Of course, the choice is always yours. You may take your art home after each session or your may leave it for the next time to be completed. As always, the art is yours at the end of the open art studio series. 

For the last 30 minutes of studio time, students help clean up the space, display their work in progress, and eat a light meal while sharing. Students might explain what materials they were drawn to and why or what they learned from their art-making.  If a student wishes to share what his/her art work means that is fine too, but again, not mandatory. Helping to clean up the studio space is encouraged because it teaches young adults how to respect your work and the work of others, and how to properly care for and store art materials.

If you attend all 8 open studios you will receive an art prize, certificate, and traveling paper portfolio on the last day of the open studio series. 

If you aren’t sure whether you want to sign up for 4 or 8, you can choose four and then change your mind later. As long as there is space available, you are always welcome to come to the next four studio times. The difference of the price will be honored if you do sign up for 8 studio slots after you’ve paid for four.


Chill and Spill
Ages: 12-17
Cost: $85 for all day workshop
(Includes light dinner and art materials.)
Time: 9am to 3pm
Dates: Saturday, October 4th
Location: In Wallingford neighborhood. (Take bus #26 or #16)
Participants: Maximum of 6

Before reading all the details about this workshop, I wanted to share that I know it’s scary to sign up for any workshop where you don’t know everyone. You’re not alone in that thinking, and there are comfortable techniques that I use to make everyone feel safe and connected. Sharing is not mandatory and there are ways to share that doesn’t involve talking about your art if you don’t want to. The only thing that I ask of participants is that you try your best to engage in the art making and push yourself to explore new themes in a creative way.

The Chill and Spill workshop is based on a book titled Chill & Spill published by Art with Heart. Chill and Spill is a therapeutic guided journal designed for youth aged 12 and up. It is specifically designed to help teens explore confusing or difficult life issues and challenges. It was co-written by an art therapist and graphic designer with the help of many volunteer teachers, therapists, other artists, and parents. Each student will receive their own copy of the book to take home with him/her at the end of the day. The book offers a combination of 20 creative writing and artistic expression activities and is the basis for this all day workshop. There are plenty of blank pages and opportunities in my workshop to do art outside of the book based on some of the themes presented. 

Who should attend and what is the goal of this workshop?  Any teen who feels isolated, confused, frustrated, depressed, angry, and/or anxious about something in their life should sign up. I’ve done this workshop with adults and many have said it was the best day and most inspiring thing they did in a very long time. Even if there isn’t anything really negative or super annoying going on in your life, taking this workshop is like taking your daily vitamin or exercising. It’s going to make you feel stronger and healthier and help you feel more enlightened and positive. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a better appreciation for who you are, where you are going, what your best attributes are, and where you feel you need the most help.

Learn more about the Chill and Spill book.