Art Therapy Psychology

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Welcome! I’m so glad you are here!

Serving you with evidence-based psychology and the art and science of creativity. Choose from incredible packages on leadership, creativity or women’s search for meaning. Join a one of a kind membership community to promote creativity, learning and optimal living. Work individually for a tailored experience, join the community, or treat yourself to rapid growth and radical transformation with a VIP weekend intensive.

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Want to know more about my work? Keep Reading.

I am a licensed psychologist in California (PSY24943) and a nationally Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR 99-191). With almost 3 decades of experience as a therapist working with adults, teens and children, I specialize in helping women overcome traumas and thrive. I am published in peer-reviewed journals on art therapy and trauma and have authored several books on art therapy psychology.

Past work includes: Clinical Director and Art Therapist at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and clinician/ Art Therapist at Edgewood Center for Families and Children, Alta Mira Recovery Center and the Iris Center for Recovery. I completed my Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Residency at the Cleveland Veteran’s Affairs Medical Hospital providing evidence-based treatments and Art Therapy for veterans with PTSD, substance abuse, and poly-trauma (PTSD, chronic pain & brain injury). I trained for three years at the San Francisco Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and worked there as a Research Associate studying PTSD and chronic pain. After studying for two years under a national Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trainer, I conducted research using ACT and Art Therapy.

ACT is empirically validated treatment used to foster meaning in life as well as treat a range of problems including anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, and chronic pain. This treatment helps people engage more fully in life. ACT is part of the third wave of psychology theories which addresses the whole person, their context and their personally chosen values to increase psychological flexibility. ACT has over 600 empirically validated studies and is founded on Eastern traditions of mindfulness, existentialism, behaviorism, and the human potential movement. Art Therapy utilizes your untapped creativity to clear blocks, give inspiration, generate insight, reduce stress, and foster joy. No art experience is required to benefit from art therapy. Long past when therapy has ended, you will be able to use ACT and art therapy as tools for clarity and ongoing personal growth and self-actualization.

I served for over a decade as the Chair of the Graduate Art Therapy Psychology Departments at Notre Dame de Namur University and Dominican University. Additionally, I served as chair of the Internal Review Board, working as a federal representative overseeing all the faculty and student research at Notre Dame de Namur University. For almost a decade, I served on the Research Committee of the American Art Therapy Association, and as a contributing editor for Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association.

I am affiliated with Dominican University in the PhD Art Therapy department and I serve as visiting faculty in the Department of Art Education at Florida State University teaching trauma and creative process.

I offer Art Therapy supervision and consultation for both recent graduates and experienced clinicians. I also consultant to businesses providing lectures for individuals and agencies in several countries about mindfulness, group cohesion, engagement in value-based living and leadership, overcoming public speaking fears, and clinical cultural conceptions of trauma. 

I love teaching and have been a featured presenter at the local and national level, including at the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Korean Art Therapy Association, the Northern California Art Therapy Association (NorCATA), Zynga Games, the VA Medical Center in San Francisco and Cleveland, the Africana College of Professional and International Counseling Center in Kenya, Universidad International de las Americanas in Costa Rica, University of San Francisco, and Alliant International University in San Francisco.

I love travel and I partner internationally with VN Abroad, an NGO in Granada, Nicaragua & San Jose, Costa Rica. For the last eight years, I co-led teams to Central America collaborating on Art Therapy projects for refugees and adults and children living in extreme poverty. I have collaborated on cross cultural assessments in India for job placement and satisfaction.

Want to know more? You can find videos here on a variety of topics and get started right away on intensifying your values and implementing change.

You can find out more by scheduling a complementary 20 minute consultation. Reach out via email or phone:

amy@amybackos.com or call 415-652-2440