• Nick Koger

Shenandoah Art Therapy, Building Hope in Waynesboro

Shenandoah Art Therapy is a group art therapy practice providing individual and group art therapy and trauma-informed care to clients of all ages. They believe art is medicine and art reflects your emotions and curates a connection between the art and artist.

I spoke with Laura Tuomisto, Director of Shenandoah Art Therapy. Laura believes that art therapy brought two of her passions together: a place for art therapists to work in full capacity, and provide a service for people in the community. Laura explained how she discovered Art Therapy by watching a documentary in Middle School and knew that would be her profession. Her passion for art therapy led her to get a Master’s in Art Therapy from Florida State University.

Laura explained how the major impact art therapy has had on the community and how her experiences have supported her professional growth, “I’ve worked with all kinds of people and at different places in their life. I’ve worked with people in psychiatric wards, people with suicidal/self-harming ideation, and children at risk of being removed from their homes — just to name a few. I’ve seen people walk in and explain how they’ve tried every type of therapy, but this is the only one that works.”

She explained that her space and service has created stability for many people. Many times, her sessions with people are the only span of time when they aren’t at risk of being hospitalized. She attests that people come in, feel seen, and heard. And a few clients just come in to talk.

The art therapy sessions can consist of any form of art: drawing, painting, pottery, and jewelry-making. Laura explained that clients aren’t required to have any artistic skills, and when they’re done, they can take home their work.

Learn more about Shenandoah Art Therapy here.