Art therapy is a newer form of therapy. It is an integrative mental health practice that is designed to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities through the process of art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a therapeutic relationship.

Art therapy should be done by a trained professional of art therapy. This will improve the  effectiveness as art therapists are trained to create art therapy exercises that are designed to not only support you but also to help move deeper into your therapeutic goal.  Art therapists are trained to use their knowledge to support your personal and therapeutic treatment goals throughout treatment. Art therapy has been used to improve cognitive and  sensorimotor functions, help support a better relationship with self-esteem and self-awareness, produce emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress.

Art therapy is a wonderful tool therapists use to help patients interpret, express, and resolve their emotions and thoughts. This is a newer type of therapy and was first established in the 1940s however the practice did not become more widespread till the 1970s. Like other expressive arts therapy, such as dance therapy or music therapy, it draws on creativity.

Inaccurate Use of Term 'Art Therapy'

Often people mistake  “Art therapy” for things that are not necessarily due  to a lack of knowledge about the profession. However these situations provide an opportunity to offer accurate information and educate the public. This modality must be done by a trained art therapist or it is technically not art therapy. Some products that are mistaken for art therapy are adult coloring books and paint by numbers. Art therapists are not art teachers, their goal is not to make you a better artist but to help you improve your mental state through the use of art.

How Art Therapy Works

Many people ask "What is art therapy and how does it work?" It is all about  expression. The process of creating is the most important thing, not the end product which is why anyone can do it. Often many people shy away due to a fear of not being an artist but this type of therapy is for anyone. It is designed to use the expressive arts as a way for people to understand and respond to their emotions and thoughts with a valuable new perspective, not only that artistic expression is good for mental health as it is often related to relaxation.

During a session, an art therapist works with clients to understand what is causing them distress. Then the therapist guides the client to create art with an art directive that addresses the cause of their issue or explores it further. During a session, art therapists may:

Through different mediums and art techniques art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are not dependent on verbal articulation alone. Due to the way it engages the body and mind it causes various symbols to be created through the art process, this process also invites modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can benefit those who have limitations of language.

Who are Art Therapists

Art therapists are clinicians who are trained both in traditional clinical therapy and art therapy. Art therapists work with people of all ages and various populations. All art therapists are required to follow an ethical code. All art therapists are also required to have a master’s level education, as well as engage in supervision hours under a trained professional in order to obtain their license. This prepares them for various populations and gives them the ability to perfect their work.

Where Art Therapists Work

Art therapists work with individuals, couples, families, and groups in diverse settings. Some examples include:

Does Art Therapy Work?

There is growing evidence that art therapy helps conditions such as anxiety and depression, trauma, low self-esteem, PTSD, Bipolar  and similar disorders. It has also been used with those facing terminal illnesses such as cancer and those hospitalized experiencing pain, as well as it has been used with people working to develop effective coping skills, including prison inmates

Many clients are reluctant to explore art therapy because they think that they have to have artistic talent for it to work or see it as "arts and crafts" rather than see it as an effective tool. This mindset can be very limiting and can hinder the  effectiveness for these clients. It is important to go in with an open mind.

Is Art Therapy a Good Fit?

There's no way to tell for certain whether art therapy is a good fit for any given person. Therapy is not one-size-fits-all, and a client and therapist may need to use multiple different approaches and techniques in order to find what works best for you. However, if a patient is drawn to art or has had trouble expressing with traditional therapy, art therapy may be a wonderful fit for you.

When choosing a therapist it is good to consider the following. As a potential client, ask about:

Often you should be able to tell in 1-3 sessions if this works for you.

Think Art Therapy Would Benefit You?

If you feel like art may be a good avenue for you to work through your mental health concerns please call our office and ask for Jillian Martino. Jill is our art therapist on staff and would be more than happy to help you work through your concerns through art. Jill specializes in LGBT issues, trauma, children and couples. Contact our office today to set up a free 15 minute consultation.

-Jillian Martino, CAT-LP

Do you have a child who is questioning their own sexual or gender identity? Or are you just curious to learn more about what LGBTQ+ means and how it may impact your child? Whatever the case may be, you ended up here for a reason! Here I will do my best to provide information, advice, support, and maybe you will even get something out of this post that will help you in your life and relationships. We will explore the risks, the coming out process, stereotypes and stigmas regarding the LGBTQ+, as well as some of the things you may experience as parents.

Risks for Your LGBTQ+ Child

It unfortunately goes without saying that children or teens that start expressing their own sexuality or gender, which may be out of the norm, will get weird looks, rude comments, or even just a slight double-take from someone walking by. Therefore, it goes without saying that yes your child may experience some discrimination or bullying from their peers at school or just from random strangers at the supermarket. Here are some quick facts of some of the risks:

However, times are changing and the opinions of others are also changing. As a parent, you want to protect your child from all the different dangers that your child may run into; although that is not always going to be possible!

The Dreadful Process of Coming Out

UGHHH let me tell you, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done for myself. And yes, that is correct. I did it for myself. I didn’t do it for the acceptance of others, for others to view me differently, or even just for people to know that one thing about me. I did it for myself because it is something that can be so freeing and such a relief for that kid who’s stayed in the “closet” for so long. As parents, here is my message to you: Your child is absolutely frightened by how you will respond, how you will react, and worst of all if you would still love them for who they really are. There is so much going through their heads that they may not even understand, so for someone with authority like yours, for someone who has been with them since day 0, they are only hoping for support. 

It may be helpful to support your child with their journey to finding out their own identity. As parents, you can be the ones providing the information for your child with the security of it being accurate. There are a few stages to coming out, though primarily the stages of self-discovery, coming out, as well as positive self-identity do have a major impact on the everlasting impact on your child. You can read more about the stages of coming out here: The Stages of Coming Out

LGBTQ+ Stereotypes & Myths

What Does it Mean for Your Parents?

As parents who just discovered or found out their child identifies as part of LGBT+, there may be a few different emotions and stages you go through yourself. This is just like any other transition in the family, it is something that is obviously going to cause some shock or take back. Below are some of the stages you may experience as parents, but remember you may not even experience any of these!

There is so much more that can be said within this guide. Always try to be the supportive, kind, gentle parent that you intended to be when your child was born. This Fall, Long Island EMDR will be hosting a support group for parents with LGBT+ youth. Throughout this group, you will be able to garner support from other parents, gain knowledge on LGBT+, as well as learn how to best support your child on their journey. 

-Conor Ohland, MHC-LP

What Does it Mean to be an LGBTQ Affirming Therapist?

As LGBTQ Affirming Therapist in Suffolk County, NY we take an approach to therapy that embraces a positive view of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) identities and relationships. We also are intently aware and proactive in addressing the negative influences that homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism have on the lives of our LGBTQ clients.

How We Ensure That Our Providers are Truly Affirming Therapists

  1. Self-reflection: All of our clinicians engage in supervision in which we explore and address biases, beliefs and attitudes from their own upbringing. It is important for us as a practice that all of our therapists have either been in therapy and/or are actively engaged in therapy so they are aware of their own biases (not just of the LGBTQ community but also, race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, etc.).
  2. Involvement in the community: Our practice engages in many LGBTQIA+ events and networking with other agencies and business owners who work with and/or are part of these communities. Several members of our team are members of the community themselves and our cis gendered clinicians, when needed, consult with them in group supervision to get their prospective on client’s concerns.
  3. LGBT Affirming paperwork: Our intake documents account for those that do not fit the herternormative boxes. For those planning to bill insurance it must be  under your legal name but we do have a “Preferred” name box as well to ensure all staff address you by your chosen name and pronouns. 
  4. Education- We encourage and promote our clinicians attending training related to LGBTQIA community concerns.

What You Can Expect From Our LGBTQ Affirming Therapists LGBTQ in Suffolk County, NY

All of our therapists are extremely interpersonal. They want to know you: Your story. Where you came from. What happened to you. We pride ourselves in being a practice of “above and beyonders” who really want to know our clients and understand them. Part of being an LGBTQ affirming therapist in Suffolk County, NY is being a therapist that does not make assumptions about our clients but being open to hearing their stories and experiences. Every coming out story is different. Everyone’s level of comfort and openness about their sexuality and gender expression is different. We won’t put you in a box because you are part of the community. Your experience as a member in the community is still uniquely your own. We wholeheartedly believe and understand that your sexual identity and gender expression is no where near the only thing that defines your you-ness.

Being affirmative means we strive to treat all of our LGBTQ clients and their families with the respect and dignity they deserve. Our role is to support you, to uplift you, to empower you to make the changes you would like to see in your daily lives and heal from past hurts. We want you to know you are absolutely fine just the way you are.

Ready to See an LGBTQ Affirming Therapists LGBTQ in Suffolk County, NY?

Contact us now to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our amazing affirming therapists. We truly would love to help you through whatever is bringing you to counseling. Our providers have a range of expertise including: couples, trauma, grief & loss, anxiety, OCD, depression and BPD. There are also many modalities used within the practice including: EMDR, TF-CBT, mindfulness, CBT, solutions-focused, and strengths-based counseling. Our administrative assistant will match you with a therapist who is not only affirming but can also address the underlying concern that has brought you to seek treatment.

Sending Love & Light,

-Jamie K Vollmoeller, LCSW

For starters, someone’s own gender identity is a process that may come naturally to some, though for others it may not be as easy. Whether it be exploring your own gender identity, sexual orientation, or even just working through your own curiosities, everyone should have a support system to help them along the way. Here we will discuss LGBTQIA+, the different sexual orientations, gender identities, as well as how seeking therapy can support you in this process.


Firstly, here are gender definitions to become familiar with:

● Gender Expression - the outwards expression of gender, typically expressed/observed through people’s names, pronouns, clothing, behaviors, body characteristics, and more.
● Gender Identity - invisible to other people, one’s internal definition of their own gender. Some people may feel comfortable with the gender that they are given at birth, though others may not.
● Sex - oftentimes confused with one’s gender, but someone’s sex identity is more-so biological than anything else. Someone’s sex is the combination of body characteristics (hormones, chromosomes, reproductive organs, etc.), thus being more than just two sexes.

There is a wide range of gender identities that people fall under and identify with. It is crucial to validate the feelings of someone who may be uncomfortable with their gender identity, as it is a significant life event that causes stress. Whether you already know your own gender identity, or if you are currently exploring that area of your life, seeking support can be helpful!

Secondly, here are some LGBTQIA+ sexual orientations:

● Asexual - someone who experiences minimal to no sexual attraction, though may still experience romantic attraction.
● Bisexual - someone who experiences an attraction to others of the same gender as well as people of another gender.
● Gay - someone, typically a male, who experiences attraction to someone else of the same gender.
● Lesbian - a woman who is attracted to another woman, ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’ are sometimes interchangeable.
● Pansexual - someone who experiences an attraction towards another person regardless of their gender
● Queer - an umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual or cisgendered.

Even though these are just a few definitions, there are many more sexual orientations that people feel attached to. Some people may question why there is a need for so many orientations or why there is a necessity to bring about awareness to this subject. However, it is so crucial to spread the word and to educate on these matters to increase the inclusivity of this community. Many people find plenty of comfort in connecting with one of the above, or many other, sexual orientations. Something as simple as “putting a label” to what one may be feeling can offer a sense of freedom as well as offer someone answers they didn’t have before.

Walking on the path of self-discovery at any stage of life can become too much for some to handle at times. Seeking mental health treatment is a great way to support yourself on this journey. Historically, the LGBTQIA+ community has faced discrimination as well as prejudice which is why our mission here at Long Island EMDR is to be a guide for those who may need it. We believe that therapy should be a place of comfort and safety, therefore we will do our best to ensure that we offer the best support that we can. There’s no reason to change who you are, only a reason to find out who you truly are on the inside!

-Conor Ohland, MHC-LP

As an LGBTQIA+ affirming practice Long Island EMDR is so proud to be a sponsor for Bay Ridge's first "Pride" event! Being involved and active in the gay community is so important to our mission of increasing visibility of this community and understanding the challenges and obstacles its members face on a daily basis. Please join us Sunday June 5th, 2022 from 12-5pm in Owl’s Head Park for a picnic accompanied with music, games, a queer pet march & much more.

For more information please check out the following sites:

Brooklyn Paper

Gay Ridge

LGBT+ affirming therapy/counseling in Smithtown, NY and Bohemia, NY

LGBT+ affirming therapy/counseling online across New York State

Long Island EMDR offers counseling/therapy to the LGBT+ population.

A counselor or therapist that treats LGBT+ people needs to be more than just “gay friendly”.  

Being “LGBT+ informed” is ever changing! Our therapists engage in continuing training/education to best meet your needs. LGBT+ affirming therapy is based on the idea that being a part of the LGBT+ community is not in itself pathological or wrong. What is wrong, is the discrimination that LGBT+ people face, just by choosing to be who they are. This discrimination can happen in very bold or very subtle ways and it can happen in many different aspects of society. The impact that this discrimination has on LGBT+ people can lead to the development of symptomatic conditions.

Trauma-Informed LGBT+ Therapy

LGBT+ individuals experience abuse and neglect as children and adolescents at higher rates than the general public. As a result, the prevalence of sexual assault is higher among the LGBT+ population. Growing up LGBT+ many of our clients experience trauma in: coming out, deciding not to come out and just being your true and authentic self. Therefore, our practice is proud to be a trauma-informed practice with multiple EMDR and TF-CBT trained clinicians.

Long Island EMDR is proud to offer a safe space and open environment to talk about who you are and who you may want to be. SFT is also proud to offer affirming therapy/counseling to individuals, couples, families and groups in the LGBT+ community. Contact us today!

Historically, LGBT2SQIA+ couples and families have been excluded from the image of relationships, family, and marriage.  This leaves our community to look within ourselves for help when it comes to addressing queer issues, raising queer families, navigating relational issues, and identity/sexuality challenges that our non LGBT2SQIA+ counterparts face. We are LGBT affirming therapists providing LGBT Therapy in Smithtown NY.

Areas we can work on together in LGBT Therapy in Smithtown NY:

-Needing help finding community

-Coming out (yourself or your partner)

-Starting to date or currently dating

-Having a past or current history of unsupportive family members, friends, or loved ones

-Needing support along your gender and/or sexuality journey

-A change in one’s identity/sexuality

-Leaving or having experienced gay conversion therapy

Signs that indicate it’s a good time to reach out for help:

Where to start?

Together we will look at where you are in your journey and map out your areas of strength.  We will aim to build relationships that support your values and messages of positive self-worth and find answers that support your therapeutic goals, whether individually or as a couple.

As an LGBT therapist in Smithtown NY, we understand the ongoing stressors and fear of rejection the community faces continually.  We are committed to helping clients of all genders, sexual identities, and expressions. All of our therapists are LGBTQIA affirming. It is always better to get started sooner than later.  If you are looking for an experienced queer LGBT therapist who can walk you through what you are dealing with ask for Conor Ohland. Contact us today for LGBT Therapy in Smithtown NY.

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