Herron art professor is in the healing business, bringing hope to veterans and others

Juliet King

Juliet King

Juliet King has never spent a day in military service during war or peace times.

But the Herron School of Art and Design assistant professor and licensed art therapist has taken up the fight to improve the lives of veterans facing emotional adjustments after their time on the battlefield.

Most recently, King, director of Herron’s art therapy program, signed on as the point person for the “Veterans Coming Home” campaign at the art school on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. The school has joined forces with WFYI Public Media and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library for the yearlong multimedia, arts-focused awareness campaign to support Indiana’s veterans and their families.

Veterans Coming Home,” was funded with a $25,000 Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant and includes WFYI broadcasts of the stories of veterans such as Andrew Schneiders, Kris Bertrand and others.

In a Richard L. Roudebush Indianapolis VA Medical Center pilot group art therapy project spearheaded by King and Dr. Brandi Luedtke of the Veterans Affairs, Schneiders has found healing power in “illustrating his troubled Iraq experiences with art” and then talking with fellow vets, according to a WFYI report.

And as part of an arts intervention program, Bertrand, who was sexually assaulted while serving in the Navy 25 years ago, found an emotional salve in throwing clay on a potter’s wheel.

“That’s because art is inherently therapeutic,” King said in a “Veterans Coming Home” broadcast, now available online.

“Engaging in the creative process is something that typically is going to be a life-enhancing experience for you,” King said. “It gets your blood moving; it gets your brain working in different ways. It helps you relax, it helps you get distance from what it is that you might be living with in your life at the time.”

King’s hope is that the success stories of Schneiders, Bertrand and others will raise the awareness of the value of art therapy in helping soldiers and others deal with trauma.

The ultimate goal is to draw the support of lawmakers and service providers who can both advance the licensing of art therapists across the state and promote the employment of such professionals as clinical counselors. Female veterans would in particular benefit from an expansion of art therapy services since they have traditionally voiced a reluctance to attend co-ed therapy groups and cited the lack of art therapy services for women.

Art therapists hold master’s degrees in art therapy and are eligible for licensure as clinical mental health counselors who are trained to use art to help clients find ways to express things they might not be able to say with words, King said. Art therapy is an effective treatment intervention for helping anyone facing issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, which can affect not only war veterans but also victims of rape, torture, child abuse, car accidents and natural disasters, she said.

“We need more licensed art therapists,” King said. “(‘Veterans Coming Home’) is one way we are going about raising awareness. Hopefully people at the state level will pay attention and see the need.”

King is available for media interviews discussing her art therapy work with veterans. For interviews with King, contact Diane Brown 317-274-2195 or habrown@iu.edu.

Central Indiana Community Foundation helps Herron’s art therapy program produce a skilled and in-demand workforce

UntitledJob placement is 100 percent for the first cohort of eight graduate students who earned a master’s degree in Art Therapy from Herron School of Art and Design this May, said Juliet King, program director and professor of Art Therapy. Launched only two years ago, the program has developed vigorously, in large part due to philanthropic support from individuals and foundations.

The Frank Curtis and Irving Moxley Springer Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, put its support into bringing together Herron students—who must complete 1,000 hours of supervised, clinical training as part of their degrees requirements—and community members who can benefit from art therapy services.

Herron’s Art Therapy program is one of only 34 two-year, full-time, residential programs in the country—offering graduate art therapy education in preparation for the dual credentials of Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Herron currently is working with nearly 30 community organizations to pair its art therapy students with programs that serve youths, adults, the aged and other vulnerable populations. Qualified professionals must supervise Herron’s students in a clinical setting. That requires investment.

Andrew Black, a grants officer of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, said “The Art Therapy grant was in alignment with The Frank Curtis and Irving Moxley Springer Fund because it promotes the making of art and provides important health and social services to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people of all ages, many of whom are dealing with significant physical and/or mental health challenges.”

Frank began work at Eli Lilly and Company in 1937. He and his wife, Irving, became incredibly generous philanthropists. Both are now deceased, but their fund, established in 1998, will continue in perpetuity as they wished.

King said, “It’s exciting to see the full cycle of the impact of the program. We are helping children and adults cope with illness, injury and trauma while the graduate students gain the academic experience necessary to become a trained professional and contribute to the workforce of Indiana and beyond.” She added, “We are grateful to the Frank Curtis and Irving Moxley Springer Fund and CICF for the assistance in successfully developing the program.”

The program’s first eight graduates are Linda Adeniyi, Uriah Graham, Amy Granger, Katherine Hearn, Amanda Krieger, Heidi Moffat, Hillary Timmerman and Natalie Wallace. These alumni were hired by providers including Adult & Child Community Mental Health, MENTOR Network, Midtown Community Mental Health, Season’s Hospice, Legacy House, Meridian Health Services and Gallaudet University that provide school- and home-based counseling, health therapy and hospice care.

Nine students are projected to graduate in 2015 and 13 in 2016.

Black added, “Not only does this therapy provide counselors, therapists, or case workers with an additional and often times necessary alternative method for communication, it also provides some of our most vulnerable populations with a creative outlet that promotes self-expression, increases their ability to cope with their circumstances or challenges, and ultimately aids in their rehabilitative progress and contributes to their quality of life.”

To learn more about supporting Herron’s Art Therapy Program, contact Kim Hodges, Office of Development, at 317-278-9472 or kshodges@iupui.edu.

Mental Health Awareness Day

Mental Health Awareness Day

Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium. We will have musicians, speakers, and a Democracy Plaza Pass the Mic on stigma surrounding mental health. There will be free pizza from noon to 1 p.m. for those who participate in the Pass the Mic. There will also be local nonprofits tabling that work with mental health. Free Depression Screenings will be provided by IUPUI CAPS. Visit the event site for more details.

Sponsored by TWLOHA-IUPUI Chapter, IUPUI CAPS, and Health and Wellness Promotion Committee.

Free depression screenings

Feeling sad, overwhelmed, trapped and not up to the challenge of classes, work, or family responsibilities? You could be experiencing symptoms of depression. On Tuesday Oct. 8, IUPUI CAPS will offer free screenings for depression from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium as part of Mental Health Awareness Day. Fill out a brief questionnaire and go over the result with a CAPS counselor. If you can’t make it, visit this link to take a free online assessment.