From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
This week, we are featuring Alexandria Art Therapy, a group art therapy practice that focuses on maternal mental health. We spoke with Adele Stuckey, Clinical Director, to learn more about the Old Town-based organization.
AEDP: To start us out, will you please tell us a little about your practice?
Adele: Alexandria Art Therapy, LLC is a group private practice providing art therapy and counseling to individuals, couples, and families in the DMV area. We work with individuals of all ages who seek support around a variety of needs, including trauma; perinatal mental health (fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum); anxiety & depression; stress from medical hospitalizations & chronic illness; trauma, grief, & loss; substance use; relationship issues; and general mental health support.
Art therapy can be helpful not only for people who are already creative, but for people who find it hard to talk about their emotions. We use the art making process as an extension of the relationship between therapist and client. The art speaks for the client, a tangible representation of their thoughts and feelings. This is especially effective in healing from trauma, as traumatic memories are stored in a part of the brain that is sensory and lacks language.
AEDP: How did you get started?
Adele: I opened my private practice in 2015, after several years working in mental health agencies. I wanted to create a space to foster personal growth and wellbeing. I started the practice as a solo practitioner, and over the past few years have grown the practice to include multiple art therapists with a variety of specializations.
AEDP: Where do you see your practice in the next year? In the next five to ten years?
Adele: The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to shift in ways we did not expect this year– including adapting to the world of online therapy. Though previously we were providing art therapy services only in person, going virtual allowed us to continue to help at a time when more people than ever are looking for extra support. Now we expect that telehealth will remain an option for our clients, even once it’s safe to return to in-person sessions. Virtual therapy also allows us to adapt to situations that once required us to close our doors — like inclement weather.
In the next few years, we will continue to grow our services and specializations. When we can safely return to in-person services, our space will accommodate art workshops, art therapy groups, and community gatherings for mental wellness.
AEDP: Do you have a favorite charity that you support?
Adele: At Alexandria Art Therapy, LLC, we value collaboration, creativity, connection, integrity, equality, and growth.
In order to fight against stigma related to mental health treatment and create access to mental healthcare, we believe we must first stand up, speak up, and take action against systemic oppression— including racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, sizeism, ageism, and oppression based on economic, social, political, spiritual, religious, or cultural beliefs and practices.
We are committed to doing our own work – exploring biases that can impact our work (and will impact our work if we don’t engage in this process); engaging in anti-racist, non-discrimination training; and facilitating open communication rooted in honesty, integrity, and equity.
We donate to organizations that align with our values, including The Trevor Project, BEAM: Black Emotional and Mental Health Collection, Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
AEDP: Can you share your favorite thing about Alexandria?
Adele: I love the community that exists in Alexandria. Small businesses support each other, and because it’s a small community, this fosters authentic connection. I appreciate the innovation that exists here and the ability to connect with so many other creatives, mental health advocates, and small businesses with shared values.
AEDP: Finally, can you tell us why you decided to locate in Alexandria?
Adele: The art therapy program at The George Washington University is located on the Alexandria campus. I relocated to the area to complete my master’s training and didn’t want to leave. Setting up Alexandria Art Therapy (named, of course, after the city) seemed like a great fit.
To learn more about Alexandria Art Therapy, visit their website.