Fieldwork for art therapy students at Caldwell University will be expanded and a new best-practice supervisory model piloted thanks to a grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.
The Foundation awarded the university $42,260, which will be used to broaden the hands-on experiences at community non-profits in Essex County for art therapy graduate students and for graduates who are learning how to be supervisors. This is the fourth major grant Caldwell University has received through the foundation.
“It’s a win-win-win-win,” said Annette Vaccaro, art therapy faculty and coordinator of Caldwell’s mental health counseling with art therapy specialization program. “There will be more internship sites, recent graduates can train to become credentialed supervisors, our most highly credentialed graduates will oversee the clinical aspects of the intern’s work, and the community-based organizations are able to provide more services to their clients.”
Last semester, art therapy graduate student Kendall Keller worked at the Montclair Child Development Center in Orange, a Head Start kindergarten readiness program for children ages 3 to 5.
“I learned so much about the benefits that art therapy has for children in this critical stage of development,” she said. She was supervised by art therapy faculty and alumna Diane Quiroga. Alumna Renee Folzenlogen, who has worked at the site, trained under Quiroga as an auxiliary supervisor. Keller said it was rewarding to provide art therapy services to children who otherwise would not have access to a creative arts program. It helped her prepare to transition from a student to a professional.
Also last spring, art therapy graduate student Samantha Castellano worked at Youth Consultation Service Malcolm House in Orange that provides supervised residential housing for behaviorally challenged, emotionally disturbed and developmentally challenged females ages 17 and a half to 21 years old. Most rewarding for her was seeing client progress, no matter how small. “Witnessing their journeys throughout their treatments, and seeing how proud of themselves they become when they are ready to transition, is truly a humbling experience,” she said.
Castellano was supervised by art therapy faculty member Natashia Collins. Art therapy alumna Alexis Boyle works at the YCS and oversaw the day-to-day administrative supervision for Castellano. Boyle was trained by Collins to become a supervisor and has now earned the credentials to supervise an intern independently next year.
Vaccaro says the grant has enabled them to expand partners for internships. In 2018-2019 they will add at least two more internship sites – the Hetrick Martin Institute in Newark and the East Orange Child Development Center.