Art Psychotherapy

What Is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that uses the art process to assist clients in expressing thoughts, feelings, and memories. It can function as an auxiliary process, sometimes called “Art as Therapy,” wherein people find relief and healing from the art process itself, and also engage in verbal discussion aided by the soothing properties of art-making; or it can also function as a primary process, with thoughts and feelings being expressed directly through the art that is made, and may not be remarked upon verbally at that time.

The creative process uses areas of the brain that are typically associated with sensory memory, experience of emotion and imaginative play, making Art Therapy ideal for some populations that may not be as responsive to verbally oriented therapies such as: children, persons with developmental problems or disabilities, trauma survivors, introverted persons or those who experience high levels of anxiety, traumatic brain injuries, and individuals with substance use problems.

It is also helpful for families, or individuals who have difficulty accessing unconscious material and wish to develop greater capacity for insight.

Drawing upon her background in sculpture, Mikella also utilizes three dimensional art-making to symbolize conflicts or intentions, in order to transform the object or imbue it with meaning. This can be as concrete as writing a letter or depicting a memory, and then transforming or destroying the object; or as abstract as creating talismans or ritual objects during session.

For more information about art therapy, please visit the American Art Therapy Association website.

Psychotherapy

Most people seek therapy because they are experiencing some sort of pain or discomfort in their lives and want to find relief. For some there may be experiences from their past that hinder the ability to find fulfillment in work or relationships, for others recent events have disrupted their lives in ways that feel new or foreign, and still others are unsure of the cause but are blocked from the satisfaction they desire. Regardless of the reasons for seeking therapy, one of my fundamental goals is to help you find joy and meaning in your life. Depending on the individual problems and challenges presented therapy may be short term or longer term, but my approach goes beyond just "talking things through" and focuses on developing the insight and skills to make meaningful change. My understanding of our relationship if we choose to work together, is to facilitate a process of healing, rather than to "treat" a problem. I also work with the understanding that many of the difficulties we experience are a result of oppressive systems, and in therapy we can grapple with how to support ourselves towards thriving without normalizing violence and harm.

My therapeutic style draws on a wide range of techniques and modalities, in order to provide space and care that is tailored to you. This includes somatic and body focused work, mindful practices, hypnosis, dreamwork, creative arts expression, and insight development.

I work with adolescents, emerging adults, and adults; individuals, couples, and families.

Areas of Specialization

Trauma

Virtually everyone experiences some sort of trauma during the lifespan, and humans are very resilient in the face of stress. There are also some types of events that are so threatening, scary, sudden or confusing that it changes one's perspective on themselves, others, and the world. This is called "trauma response" or "post traumatic stress." I specialize in working with complex and sexual trauma, and am passionate about holding that space for LGBTQIA2+ folx. In particular, when working with sexual trauma it becomes imperative to have a deconstructed approach to gender and sexuality, and to hold space for a wide range of feelings and experiences that emerge while processing trauma. My approach to trauma healing is rooted in the belief that all healing is self healing, with the therapist or practitioner acting as a guide not the “expert”; and that finding relief following traumatic experiences involves addressing the impact of trauma on the body and spirit, while also locating the intersections between personal experience and systems of oppression.

Grief

Some theorists have said that grief is the universal trauma; death is a part of life. Support through the loss of a significant person is critically important, especially for children and when coping with shocking, unexpected, or violent death. My approach validates grief as an ongoing process, while emphasizing the importance of finding the means to heal and grow.

LGBTQIA2+

On a personal and professional level I am committed to providing affirming treatment to the LGBTQIA2+ community, and maintaining a flexible and respectful approach to various expressions of sexuality. This includes but is not limited to binary and non-binary gender identity and sexual orientation, coming out, transition, asexuality, polyamory and/or non-monagamy, power play, and intersections of sexuality and trauma. I work with both individuals and couples.

Relationship Problems

This topic is one of the most common reasons that individuals and couples seek therapy. Whether you have difficulty connecting or maintaining connection, struggle with intimacy, experience relationship patterns that seem to keep repeating, or strive for better communication, therapy can be a great tool to understand and resolve these challenges.

Other Services

In addition to Psychotherapy, Mikella has a practice offering Hypnosis, Breathwork, and Reiki. These alternative treatments can be an effective trauma-focused support in combination with psychotherapy, or for those who may not wish to engage in therapy but desire targeted, short-term trauma work. For more information on alternative treatments please click here.

About

Mikella Millen, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT

Mikella is a licensed Art Therapist, Hypnosis practitioner, and Reiki Master Teacher living and working on occupied Lenape land currently known as NYC. She has a passion for helping individuals and couples to recognize and cultivate their innate strengths, and to promote healing through mindful practices, insight, play and creative process. After graduating from New York University she worked in a variety of community-based, outpatient, acute care, and residential settings allowing her to develop expertise with diverse populations. Her focus is in providing LGBTQIA2+ affirming, and trauma-informed healing for adults, couples and families.

As a foundational aspect of her work, Mikella is committed to continually examining the ways that white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonization manifest not only in our lived experiences, but how this can infiltrate the systems of mental health and wellness. As a White practitioner she holds the awareness of her impact in working with people with different identity locations, and for those who are comfortable working with a White practitioner she maintains a humbled commitment to integrating anti-racist practice into all aspects of this work to the best of her capacity.

Training and experience: Mikella has a Master's degree in Art Therapy form New York University and a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts. She has been a consultant and supervisor with Sanctuary for Families, and is the lead supervisor and coordinator for the Art Therapy internship program at Camp Good Grief. Mikella is a graduate level guest lecturer with New York University's Art Therapy program and Silver School of Social Work, and has presented professionally for numerous organizations in New York City including the McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy & Research, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, the Expressive Arts Therapy Summit, and the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence. She has obtained additional training in Couples Therapy at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. In 2017 and 2018 she expanded her training to include complementary therapies including Reiki, Breathwork, Dreamwork and Ericksonian Hypnosis.

A note about fees and sliding scale: I recognize that therapy can be a financial burden, and am strongly committed to making therapy financially accessible while also honoring my capacity to hold space effectively while sufficiently caring for myself. My practice is located in New York City and the practical aspects of running a business here create challenges in achieving these twin aspirations. Even though at this time I am working virtually I am still legally responsible for an office which limits my financial flexibility in setting fees.
For this reason I retain a number of appointments for insurance (Cigna) and sliding scale. Once those sliding scale appointments are full I maintain a waitlist; the remaining appointments are at a set fee of $165. Full cost sessions help make it possible offer a sliding scale those who need it, and so I ask that you consider this when requesting a sliding scale appointment.
BIPOC and trans/gnc folx may also request a sliding scale appointment regardless of financial need, however please keep in mind that again there are a limited number of lower cost sessions that I can offer. I take my responsibilities as a therapist very seriously, and can only work with a certain number of individuals at a given time and offer the quality of care and attention that you deserve!
I also offer holistic groups that are entirely sliding scale and donation, providing the greatest degree of financial access and may be a good option if Psychotherapy is not needed but you are seeking support/community care.

Contact

Please feel free to send me a message regarding appointments via the contact form. I can also be reached at +1-917-756-5540

I am located at 302 5th Ave, 11th Fl NY, NY between the 34th St-Herald Square stop, serviced by the B, D, F, M, N, Q, R and W trains; and the 28th St. R/W local stop.