Monique Prohaska, MA, ATR
Problem solving through a creative means has always been a part of my life. As a child, an adolescent, and an adult I have found drawing and creative journaling to inspire me, as well as illuminate those “A-Ha!” moments. My journey as an Art Therapist began in 1997 at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. I am also a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) in Illinois through the Art Therapy Credentials Board. I have been primarily working with children and adolescents in special education settings since then.
I began the Art Therapy Program at the Southwest Cook County Cooperative for Special Education (1999 – 2011) focusing on individual therapy and small groups for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders and on the autism spectrum. Currently I have developed another Art Therapy Program at Giant Steps, a school for children on the autism spectrum.
Using art therapy for children and adolescents can be so beneficial when words get in the way or don’t know how to be expressed. The mere act of creating can be cathartic, releasing, and can promote relaxation especially in our hectic world that our children experience daily. In addition to using art therapy to help our children cope and gain positive self-esteem, I also incorporate using creative journaling, guided imagery, and yoga.
My practice of art therapy is Person-Centered, which encourages the child to take the lead in therapy with their artwork. Their artwork can speak volumes about how they are experiencing a situation or emotion. This can lead us to discussion about those issues through the artwork by helping the child to feel more comfortable about opening up. Encouraging the child to be themselves as well as honoring their thoughts, feelings, and artwork is important to me in order to build a caring and trusting therapeutic relationship.
In my personal life, and in addition to creating art, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I practice yoga weekly and I am in the process of becoming a certified yoga teacher. I also enjoy being active through hiking, rock climbing and biking. Other interests include traveling, reading, cooking, photography, and music.