Say, what is Art Therapy?

We have the pleasure of working with Art Therapist, Katie Malisch, every week! She brings a positive energy with her to the Resiliency Center and has a great rapport with the children and youth participants. 

Art Therapy can offer a wide range of benefits that can enhance the quality of life and emotional well-being of individuals. I recently communicated with Katie regarding Art Therapy and its benefits.  

Vanessa’s Q: How do you explain what art therapy is to someone who has never participated in it before?  

Katie’s A: In general, it is the process of using art making as source of self-expression and healing. It can be used to process emotions, feelings, and experiences without relying on words like other forms of therapy. We are much more interested in the process of making art rather than the final product! 

Vanessa’s Q: What do you like most about being an art therapist? What led you to become an art therapist? 

Katie’s A: I love being able to combine my two largest career-based passions: art and helping others. Art therapy is a perfect combination of making art everyday while also helping others find their creativity, heal, and embrace a new form of self-expression. I also love the ability to bring a little color back into a very black and white world. Re-introducing kids and adults to the magic of embracing play, color, and artmaking is my favorite part about my job.  

Vanessa’s Q: Who is a good candidate for art therapy? 

Katie’s A: Anyone! If there is an interest or desire in art, that’s all you need. There is no skill or ability level required! As part of the art therapy experience, you will be exposed to a variety of materials to figure out your preferences. There is also great benefit to the non-verbal side of art therapy. If individuals have attempted traditional talk-based therapies and haven’t found them to be particularly successful, art therapy might also be a slightly different approach to receiving support and developing insights.  

Vanessa’s Q: What do you see as being the benefits of art therapy and who could benefit from art therapy services and support? 

Katie’s A: Individuals navigating:  

– processing trauma/life stressors 
-social interaction/building healthy relationships 
– confidence, self-esteem, self-worth 
– desire for autonomy/control over environment 
– self-expression 
-alternative methods of communication 
-symptoms of any mental health-related diagnosis
-development of healthy coping strategies 

Katie has also written a blog regarding creativity that you can check out: Do you consider yourself creative? – ( 

If you have been affected by the Waukesha Christmas Parade and are interested in joining us for Art Therapy, we currently have the following groups available. 

Creative Connections (5-14-year-olds): Sign up for Creative Connections 2024! – United for Waukesha Resiliency Center ( 

Art & Soul, a fiber art-focused parade support group for those 18+: Sign up for Art & Soul! – United for Waukesha Resiliency Center ( 

If you would be interested in one-on-one Art Therapy, please complete the interest form and a service navigator will follow up with you: Interest Form – United for Waukesha Resiliency Center ( 

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