Amber Johnson, LPCC ATR

My journey with art therapy began in 2003, when I started working with several artists in New Mexico. Without realizing it, I was working out some painful experiences of my past (and present) without having to talk about it or even know what “it” was.  For me, the process of changing materials with my own hands was powerful and exciting.  I could see and feel change!

So, short story: Art was Healing and Safe because I didn’t need to use my words, just my hands.  I could tell my story without having to defend or explain my self, my feelings or my experience.  Making art became a safe outlet for me to express my inner world.  I find the process of creating art to be part magic; it can hold what is too painful to hold, express what seems impossible to articulate and transform what feels awful and painful into something beautiful. And so naturally, when I discovered that Art Therapy was a “thing”, I was in and decided to continue my training as an Art Therapist.

After finishing my Masters in Counseling & Art Therapy in 2013, I found my place working at a non-profit agency in Northern New Mexico serving the families and communities of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos.  It was here that I fell in love with Art Therapy group process, working with kids and their families, and supporting people on their journey through and out of addiction. During my time there, I also decided to start building my own private practice, which is where I spend most of my time currently.

I love teaching both Yoga and classes at Southwestern College; being on the other side of the learning experience is a great way to continue learning and deepen my skills.  When I’m not in therapist or teacher mode, I enjoy spending time with my son, friends and family gathering around the kitchen table for delicious creations and lively conversation. In my quiet, alone times I love my daily yoga practice, writing, learning new songs on my guitar, and reading two to three books at a time (a nice blend of fiction and non-fiction with a cup of tea, perfect!).  I’m working towards my black belt in Korean Martial Arts (Tang Soo Do); just two more tests to go!


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