Erika’s earliest memory was at age two, where she drew a portrait of E.T. on on the wall behind a chair. She remembers how amazing she felt while drawing and was proud of her accomplishment. Erika’s passion for art continued in her childhood, adolescent, and teen years. Art was her unique way of expressing herself when communication with the world could feel awkward and overwhelming. Her curiosity and passion for art continued and she went on to pursue a degree in drawing and painting. Life took many turns for Erika, and after spending seven years in North Carolina, she returned to New York where she received her BA from SUNY Purchase in Liberal Studies. She later learned about the field of art therapy from a childhood friend and was immediately intrigued and enrolled in graduate school at The College of New Rochelle where she received a MS in Art Therapy and Counseling. She is a board certified, NY State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist.
Erika is an artist and enjoys working in mixed media, collage, and oil pastels. She has completed 200-hour Yoga teacher training and is a Reiki Master. As an art therapist, Erika provides a safe, nurturing environment so that her clients can openly express themselves to gain a sense of self-awareness, increase self-esteem, and to improve their sense of well-being.
Erika has been working with Arts Unchained since August 2016. She has made numerous trips to Nicaragua and felt inspired to do more for the communities and community members she felt connected to. Erika has been driven by her clinical work as an art therapist and has extensive experience working with adult psychiatric clients and specializes in addiction and trauma. She currently works on an adult inpatient psychiatry unit in Mount Vernon, NY. She has also worked with Veterans, the elderly, individuals diagnosed with severe and chronic mental illness, developmental disabilities, and HIV/AIDS patients. Her practice includes knowledge of implementation, assessment, and therapeutic interventions utilizing various art modalities.