By DAWN ZERA For Times Leader
West Side resident Linda Keck, 48, has been able to merge two passions in her life: art and psychology.She earned a bachelor’s degree in art education and then went to work at a hospital that used art as creative therapy. As an
art therapist[correction, she is a clinical psychologist who uses art in her practice. Art therapy is a recognized profession with specialized training, not art tagged onto psychology], she helped people use art as a means of self-expression and therapeutic intervention.Keck always had an interest in psychology, and her hospital experience inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
She now has a full-time private, outpatient practice in Kingston with special areas of interest in post-traumatic stress, eating disorders and women’s issues.But art still plays an important part in Keck’s life. She is outgoing president of the Wyoming Valley Art League, having served two years. And she offers expressive-arts classes and workshops.“The art-therapy process uses art methods and materials to express thoughts and feelings. Sometimes there are feelings such as depression, anger that people have in life or towards situations that can be expressed through art,”
Keck said. “It can increase relaxation and coping skills. You don’t have to be an artist; many of the creations are symbolic.”At times, she said, she even uses art therapy in her clinical practice, particularly with youths who tend to be less verbal and can express themselves through art. Art, Keck has found, often can open up lines of communication.Keck also implements guided imagery, or “visual journaling,” in her art classes. She asks the individual to focus on something in particular and express the image with art materials.
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