Author Archives: arttherapytoday

My New Website and More Mural Goodness

My new counseling and art therapy website is up at
www.lauralynnjohnson.com

I hope you like it. If you have not had time to “like” to my business FB page, under Laura Johnson Counseling and Art Therapy I would love to have more friends and colleagues join me on that page.

My practice is growing and if you know of anyone who you think I can help please let them know about my services.

I have been working again this week on the Deep Eddy Mural Project.

It’s been hot but cooler in the evening that one would think. Our wonderful leader Wanda Montemayor is keeping us cool with drinks and bribing us with food. I have had the opportunity to meet some folks from the Austin Mosaic Guild who are helping the on project. They are great group of artisans.

One member, Jim, the owner of Blue Moon Glassworks, a retail and instructional glass shop in Hyde Park, has donated time, talent and supplies to the mural. Jim is a fabulous glass cutter. There has been no better for sure and the mural has really needed him to sparkle. Well thats all for now friends. Stay cool, and
Be Well,
Laura

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Deep Eddy Mural, Family and Final Push

Hi Friends,
As many of you know I have been working on the Deep Eddy Mural, funded in part by Austin’s Art in Public Places. When my fellow art therapist, Wanda Montemayor, asked me to help out on this project I did not realize my ancestor would be part of the mural and the history of Deep Eddy that the wall tells.

Here is a photo of the original home of Charles Johnson, my great great Grandfather, who owned the land where Deep Eddy now stands.

Here is a picture, although not great of the Charles Johnson house on the tile mural. It serves as the American Legion overlooking the banks of Lady Bird Lake near the hike and bike trail.

And here is one of the Charles Johnson Family

My great grandfather, Henry Johnson, is the oldest son on the front row to the far right with his arms folded. He and his sister opened the original bathing beach and camp ground before selling the place to Mr. Eilers.

Tonight we start the final week of buttering up tiles and filling in blank spaces between tiles or “nugging” as it is affectionately called. If you have a spare moment, come on down to the pool this week starting at 5:30pm to help clean, or “nug” or just cheer us on. Hopefully grouting will begin soon. She is a lovely mural indeed and she glitters at night. Great work Wanda and her other leader, Lisa Orr. Stay cool, and
Be well,
Laura


365 Grateful

This week I found a post by fellow Art Therapist, Gretchen Miller, about 365 Grateful. This is was a project by photographer and filmmaker, Hailey Bartholomew, who used photography to find something she was grateful every day for a year. I found this short video to be inspiring about taking a moment to find those things for which I can be grateful.

I will soon be blogging on a new WordPress site that will be integrated into my new counseling and art therapy website, designed by the fabulous, Corinne Loperfido. I hope to launch this week if all goes as planned. For now, stay cool and
Be Well,
Laura


Deep Eddy Mural and Video

My friend and fellow art therapist Wanda Montemayor sent me this video about the tiles we made on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day with teen mother’s this past May at Travis High School. I think you will like it.

This past week I was also able to help with the Deep Eddy Mural Project by installing tiles down at the pool. Here I am with gloves and sponge in hand. More work to do this week.

My great great grandfather, Charles Johnson, who immigrated from Sweden, once owned the land where Deep Eddy now stands. There is historical information about him on the mural which for me was another surprise. I love Austin even in this unbearable heat.


The Work I Do

I ask the families I work with who are completing adoptions to send me photos of the day they complete their adoption in court. It is always a surprise for me to find an email and photo from them. It makes me grateful for the work I do. These pictures are sweet and inspiring. I got one today from a family I worked with this summer. It’s an adorable young boy looking up to his stepfather, the only father he has ever known and both are wearing ties and all dressed up. All this little boy wanted was the same last name as all of his other siblings. Now he has it. The family made him a big sign with his new name. In another image he holds it grinning ear to ear. I likes the ones with a happy ending. Send me more.


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are becoming an increasingly common diagnosis in children. I came upon a website this week that discusses ASD and art therapy, www.arttherapyandautism.com .Compiled by Nicole Martin, the site has a variety of information about ASD and art therapy as well as provider information and links. Sky’s The Limit, Nicole Martin’s art studio was founded in 2007. Nicole Martin is a registered art therapist and artist living in Lawrence, KS.

Martin states that art therapy is beneficial to children with ASD due to intense sensory needs and non-verbal nature. She goes on to describe six major ASD treatment goals art therapists are best qualified to treat. They are:

1. Imagination/abstract thinking deficits

2. Sensory regulation and integration

3. Emotions/Self-expression

4. Developmental Growth

5. Recreation/Leisure skills

6. Visual-spatial deficits

More so than not everyone is seeing the benefits of non-verbal therapies for children who have ASD as well as Pervasive Developmental Disorders. I will cover that in upcoming posts. Great work Nicole.
Be Well,
Laura


Foster Care, the Bus Stop and Lost Girls

Today I was driving and slowed down at a stop light. I looked to my right and sitting there was a young girl I had worked with in foster care as her case manager and therapist. I had also provided services for her and her sister while they resided together in a foster home. I had not seen her in about four years. The last time I saw her she looked much different. She was young, maybe 15 and still had a sweet air about her. We worked with her for several years but she eventually left and was discharged to another placement, for reasons that I cannot remember.

So I rolled down my window and asked her how she was doing, as I had heard a few years ago she had runaway out of foster care and returned to her mother. Her sister had also done so. I asked, “So are you with your mother?” She told me that no, her mother was mad at her. Then I said, “How is your sister?” She said her sister was being sentenced to six months state jail on Friday.

It was a hard moment. This young girl looking at me at the bus stop was much different than the one I had known. She now looked hardened and tough and street wise. Her skin looked rough and I noticed cheap blue tattoos on her hands. I remember her sister very well too as I had worked hard to make things go right for her. But an over zealous court appointed attorney and guardian had interfered with her treatment so much that we could no longer manage the sister anymore. I know the attorney’s intentions were good, but she only wound up having her taken from our care to another and another and another placement until this sister finally ran away. Sad ending indeed with state jail sentencing on Friday

But then there’s the case of one boy I worked with from middle school to high school graduation, whose life turned out so much differently. I see him regularly at a place of business I frequent and where he works. He always updates me on how he is doing and how is new little boy is growing. He works at least two jobs and is returning to school under the tuition waiver program. What is different about this boy I don’t know. I know he was able to stay with the same foster parent for at least seven years, stayed out of trouble and played football. After he left foster care he roomed with two other former foster boys we knew , and he eventually found a girlfriend. I know he was able to join her family, who had a vested interest in him and his well being. He has a healthy extended family who love him and try to guide him. The girl at the bus stop and her sister never got this.

I think my point is that as a kid growing up in foster care, so much of your life depends on luck. Do you get a good foster parent, a good agency, a good CPS worker, a good Attorney Ad Litem, find an adoptive home? In my experience the biggest safety net for these kids is adoption by either a relative or non-relative. The care and love of an adult(s) over the long term is what I think saved the boy I just described. The young girl at the bus stop and her sister never had any luck that shined their way.

Be Well,
Laura