Erin Hein, ATR-BC, LPC
My name is Erin Hein, ATR-BC, LPC. I graduated from Mount Mary University in 2012.
I am an art therapist for Advocate Aurora Healthcare. Through this system I work within a number of hospitals where I focus my work primarily with adult oncology patients, but also with adult patients in the hospital for a variety of reasons. Our goals are to reduce stress and anxiety among the patients through interactive distraction techniques and building hope, while also offering opportunities for self-exploration and redefining oneself as more than just a “cancer patient” but as a person with cancer making up only a part of who they are. We also do some work with the nursing staff as a way to help curb and prevent burnout, we believe that when the staff has lower stress levels and feel taken care of, they will be able to provide our patients with better care.
I also am an art therapist for Donna Lexa Art Centers where I work with adults who have cognitive and physical disabilities. Through this program, I am able to provide therapeutic and educational art classes that will help stimulate self-esteem, self-confidence, and independence. We also provide a chance for the participant to define themself as an artist by giving the participant opportunities to sell their artwork.
My favorite part about art therapy is those minor magical moments that happen where someone or something just happens to be in the right place at the right time. Since Covid has happened, we’ve had to create small pre-packaged pieces of collage materials in the hospital. There has been a number of times that I pull random images for the packages that I’m not sure if people will like or not. For example, there was this one picture of a camel in the desert. About a day after making these packages, I was with a client in the clinic, and I pulled out a random pre-packaged selection that happened to have this camel inside of it. As the patient pulled out the images, the camel struck the patient with surprise. It turns out this animal was a symbol they carried with them all the time and that had a lot of meaning to the patient. It seemed like finding this image really resonated with them and made their day. Those kinds of things are my favorite thing, the small magic moments that seem to really brighten their day.
Tell us about a WATA member who should be featured in the next Spotlight.
2022 Board Members
Blanche Brown, MS, LPC, LMFT, ATR
Blanche’s stepfather Robert Bonner was a talented artist and graphic designer. Only after his death did she realize that art was a valuable vehicle for dealing with loss, giving her a very tangible connection to memory and experience. Brown is an art therapist and marriage and family therapist who believes in the power of art to heal, sees the importance of supporting the family unit while advocating for change against the negative effects of systems, and supports those affected by trauma. Brown is an art and community activist whose work addresses social injustices and the psychological and psychosocial impact these issues have on undeserved and underrepresented groups. Her artwork provides a forum for youth, women, minorities, and diverse individuals to openly discuss the challenges they encounter. As a professional artist for over 20 years, Brown has exhibited both locally and nationally and has been a guest artist and artist-in-residence at several schools and community programs. Brown is a certified Yoga instructor who incorporates mindfulness and meditation to encourage a grounded perspective and lifestyle. She is also a public speaker and workshop presenter.
Delora Putnam-Bryant, MS, ATR-BC, LPC-IT
Delora Putnam-Bryant is a registered art therapy and licensed practicing counselor in training. She has experience with individuals needing treatment for PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, mood disorders and dual diagnosis.
She received her Master’s of Science degree from Mount Mary College (now University) in Art Therapy in 2012. She also had the pleasure of attending undergraduate at two Historical Black College Universities, in Jackson, MS and in Huntsville, AL where she received a degree in Commercial and Advertising Art. Delora has prior experience working as a Freelance Graphic Designer for individuals, small businesses and corporations like M&I bank (now BMO Harris). Currently she is employed as an Experiential Therapist for a local mental hospital where she works with various populations from children to adults, and at Art Therapy House.
Social justice is an important part of Delora’s work to maintain equality for the individuals she serves.
Alison Heintz, MS, ATR, LPC
Alison has been employed at Clark County Community as a Clinical Therapist for the past 5 years incorporating art therapy into her practice as much as possible. Previously she worked as an art therapist in a wilderness therapy program and also at an outpatient clinic. A majority of her work experience has been with youth and families.
Justine Kopp, MS, ATRL-BC
Justine is a licensed, board-certified art therapist and received her Master of Science in Art Therapy from Mount Mary University in 2000. Over her years of clinical practice, Justine has worked in a variety of mental health settings with children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. For the past eight years and currently, Justine works for Advocate Aurora Health – Aurora Family Service in the Supportive Cancer Counseling Dept. In this medical setting, Justine provides emotional support to adult patients and their families as they cope with a cancer diagnosis and their spectrum of care. She seeks to walk beside those who are living with a chronic illness, life transitions, cancer, grief, depression and anxiety. Justine has a strong belief in the idea that we have the solutions to our problems within and encourages individuals to take a chance to explore and heal.
Jill McNutt Ph.D., LPC, ATR-BC, ATRL, ATCS
Jill is a board-certified art therapist, credentialled supervisor, and licensed professional counselor. She received her Doctoral degree in Expressive arts therapy from Lesley University. She has 20+ years of experience working in medical art therapy specializing in cancer care. Jill also is a partner in the Art Therapy House, Inc. Jill currently works at Advocate Aurora Health, and The Art Therapy House, Inc. Her mission and passion include providing opportunity and service to a diverse and inclusive community focused on emotional, social, and spiritual health.
Amber Brown, MS
Amber graduated from Mount Mary University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Art in Art Therapy and in May 2021 with a Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling. Amber is curretly the Program Manager at Donna Lexa Art Centers. She has worked primarily with individuals with specials needs throughout her career and is devoted to Donna Lexa Art Center’s mission to promote creativity, dignity and community through art.
Mira Alexandrea Newell, MS
After graduating with a Master of Science degree from Mount Mary University, Mira worked as an Experiential Therapist at Rogers Memorial Hospital. She specializes in Eco-Art Therapy: utilizing creativity in connection with nature to foster wellness and growth. She has continued with clinical and community work in Wisconsin, Chicago, Hawai’i, Nicaragua, and Croatia. Her private practice, Broken Mirror Healing, offers retreats, workshops and individual counseling opportunities.
Her most recent program is the Comfort and Joy Ornament Project for Waukesha, Wisconsin in the wake of the Christmas Parade Tragedy of 2021. This community art therapy project in conjunction with the WATA Social Action Committee was featured by The Waukesha Freeman, The Shepherd Express, and TMJ4 News. She is now developing an Art for Peace project to aid those affected by the war in Ukraine.
Mira is dedicated to building communications and connections within the art therapy community. As a WATA board member, she is committed to fostering awareness and arts-based action on issues of social justice both locally and globally.
Nicole Vike, LPC, ATR-BC
Nicole is a licensed professional counselor and registered art therapist. She received her Master’s degree in art therapy and counseling from Mount Mary University. She has 5 years of experience working with children and adults in a range of settings including community mental health centers, day treatment facilities, and community art studios. She currently works as a psychotherapist at Whole Health Clinical Group, a behavioral health outpatient clinic. Nicole is passionate about providing a space for all to create and feel safe to express themselves. Nicole enjoys helping clients connect to their own intuition and personal creativity in order to succeed in their personal growth and development.
Vlatko Sagud, MFA, MS, LPC-IT
Member at Large
Vlatko Sagud is an art therapy practitioner at Art Therapy House. As a WATA BOD member, Vlatko hopes to promote the message of unity and acceptance through cultural enrichment and multicultural collaborations. Furthermore, his mission expands to be an international art therapy spokesperson, who would bring the unique field of art therapy and psychological counseling to Croatia, as well as to spread Croatian culture to the U.S.
Vlatko is multilingual with fluency in English, Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian languages, and intermediate German. His fine arts expertise is in sculpture, academic drawing, calligraphy and digital illustration. However, his main recreational expression is in pottery, in which he holds a vocational degree as a ceramic designer.