Nancy Kelley Franke, MA, LPC, ATR

Licensed Professional Counselor & Registered Art Therapist

Why seek Art Therapy?

If you’re tired of saying to yourself, “I feel stuck and lost in my life”, then you’ve come to the right place. Feeling lost, stuck, or overwhelmed by loss, trauma, or life transitions, can be scary. Rather than being a bad thing, life crises present unique opportunities to deepen our connection with ourselves, with others, and to become more fully engaged in life.

As an Art Therapist, I can help you discover what you need to heal, to grow, and to move forward again with renewed confidence, energy and enthusiasm. This is because Art Therapy goes beyond words. Art Therapy uses imagery from the unconscious, to give us a clear picture or map of the problem and the obstacles in the way of resolution.

Why is Art Therapy more effective than talk therapy alone?

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and with good reason. Images were our first language. Before we had words, we formed images in our minds that connected us with our experiences and feelings. These images carry an emotional charge and resonate on a deep level with our story. Images connect us with the full sensory range of our embodied experience, while words tend to come from a place of logic, explanation, and interpretation, and don’t necessarily connect us with our emotions or our instinctual animal brain. In contrast, images seem speak to us on a cellular level making deep healing possible. Until our cells believe us, we cannot make lasting change.

How does Art Therapy work?

Art Therapy provides a doorway to our inner experience and authentic self, allowing us to get out of our own way. As human beings, our personalities are formed by our genetics, by our environment, and by our life experiences. Over time, we create a self-story based on our personal experiences and the feedback we receive from others. We tend to interpret each new experience in life as confirmation of that story. But it is only a story. It is our Ego’s interpretation of who we are and how we need to behave. Problems arise when we become overwhelmed or unable to adjust our story to accommodate new information, resulting in a self-limiting view that keeps us from expressing our full creative potential.

Therapy allows us to know ourselves more completely, to transform trauma, to have corrective experiences, and to form a new self-story that includes all of who we are. Paradoxically, we can’t change until we come to know and accept ourselves. Then we can make conscious choices to alter our behavior or path.

The challenge in therapy is how to get past the gatekeeper Ego, in order to gain greater self-understanding and self-acceptance. Art images come to us from the unconscious. They create a picture of our inner world, and place it in the outer world where it can be clearly seen. The externalized image provides containment and a safe distance to explore the problem as something separate from ourselves, allowing us a more objective perspective. In this way we are able to bypass our Inner Editor and Critic, and access our authentic self and full potential.

Art Therapy FAQs

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, art therapy is an effective modality for all ages, adults as well as for children. No artistic skills or experience are needed, only a willingness to experiment, as art therapy is not about making a pretty or skillful picture. Art therapy uses the art materials, the process, and the art product to safely explore feelings, beliefs, conflicts, relationships, and identity. Art therapists do not “interpret” the artwork produced, as the client is the only one who can determine what it has to say. Rather, we look at and process the work together, respectfully and with curiosity, by observing what we see, and by asking questions. Because art making also improves focus, fine motor skills, functionality, and the ability to verbalize, it can be an especially effective modality for those who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.

If art making is healing in itself, why would I need to work with an Art Therapist?

In the book Trauma and Recovery (1997), author Judith Herman, MD says that wounding that occurs in relationship must be healed in relationship. Therapy offers us the opportunity to be seen and heard, to be validated and understood by another person in an important relationship.

Art Therapists do this and more. Art Therapy is a graduate level entry profession. A Registered Art Therapist has earned a Masters degree in Counseling and Art Therapy, and has completed 1000 client contact hours, and two hundred supervision hours post graduation. We are trained to use art making therapeutically, to provide pacing, guidance, safety, and containment. We know which art materials to use and when. We are skilled in asking the right questions at the right time to help you get the most out of an Art Therapy session. Further, the art you make in sessions serves as concrete evidence of your journey and the real progress you are making.

Experience the power of Art Therapy for yourself.

Start connecting with your own brilliance. Questions? Call me today at (303) 587-0088 to schedule a free Art Therapy session, or to get your questions answered. Together we can begin your healing journey through art.


“The only journey is the journey within.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

10 Ways to know if Art Therapy may be right for you: