Sunday, May 22, 2011

On the Spot :: Jennifer Bruner

Jennifer Bruner (Bosenbecker)

Favorite color
blue and green (reminds me of the grass and water)

Describe yourself in 3 words
Hard-worker, Inquisitive, good listener

What inspires you
nature, hikes, children, time by myself, family and friends, workshops, music, books, and creating

Something you are proud of
my family and friends, getting my masters degree and licenses, and starting my own practice

Favorite art medium
3-D materials, clay, wood, and water colors

An artist who inspires you
Dali has always intrigued me

Favorite quote
"Change is the essential process of all existence." Spock- Star Trek

What brought you to art therapy
Senior year in high school a woman came to my art class and spoke of art careers. I told my parents about art therapy. Went to college took art and psychology classes and loved both. I noticed that I was using my art work to express my feelings, relationships and experiences. I would draw diagrams and label them with personal thoughts. I was fortunate to be able to do an art therapy and play therapy practicum in undergrad. It was and is the perfect combination of two things I love, and reinforced my need to continue with schooling and my career.

Population you work with
children and adults struggling with:
Medical-hospitalization issues
Trauma (PTSD, accident, physical and sexual abuse)
Grief and Loss (death, illness, separation)
Spectrum disorders (autism, Aspergers, PDD, ADHD)

Favorite experiential
Sam’s Shield – a story I created when I was working with children
at Kids In the Middle and St. John’s Children’s hospital.

A personal energy shield is a defensive technology that projects a field of energy that protects the user from blaster fire, the elements, parents fights, monsters, the dark, aliens, and other fears. The shield can be worn on your arm and its energy beam covers your entire body.

When activated, the device protects the wearer with a glowing energy field. It helps
you protect and calm yourself when you are sad, scared, or angry. The inside of the shield shows your inside feelings. The outside of the shield displays the things that help protect you. Some kids put pictures of people they can talk to, places they go, things they can do, when they feel frightened or sad. Other children use words to describe their feelings. Some children use colors and shapes to show how they are feeling.

Jen you recently started your own private art therapy practice, what has the transition from working for an organization to branching out on your own been like?
The transition has been slow, by choice. I have been spending time as a mom with my children. My son began kindergarten this year and daughter is attending preschool. This past year our neighbor entered hospice and passed away. I was her main caregiver, which took a great deal of time and energy. I am very fortunate and blessed my husband is so supportive of me, our family, and my career.

Transitioning to a private practice is a lot of work. We are basically a one income family. It is like going back to school and learning how to navigate a new system of government forms, developing websites, paperwork and more. The benefits are that I get to schedule my own hours and still have time to spend with my children and husband. My goal is to make the business self sustaining bring in a moderate income and only work 2-3 day a week. Private practice can be lonely at times. I would encourage anyone interested in the process to join up with another therapist and share their space before taking the huge leap on your own. I am currently sharing a space with a Social worker and Play Therapist, Wendy Post. For me, play and art are the best of both worlds.

Also, you have been involved in MATA in a variety of different ways for quite some time, what was your favorite position and why?
I have been involved with MATA since I was in graduate school 1995 at SIUE. I was on the committee with Savneet Talwar for the St. Louis AATA conference, Treasurer, Delegate, Ethics Chair, and ARTSY. I have to say my favorite position, which wasn’t a MATA position at the time, was co-chair of The Arts for Youth Network (ARTSY) with Natasha Wood. We had fun developing the network, worked well together and even gave a presentation at the AATA conference on ARTSY.

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