State of Mind with Debra Sloss
State of Mind with Debra Sloss
The Healing Power of Making Art - Creativity and Wellness: Part 2

Episode 54: Artistic self-expression of any kind, even making “ugly” art, can help us process emotions and create a profoundly healing process. Many experiences, including trauma, can be difficult to articulate in words, so connecting people with avenues for nonverbal expression can help improve mental health and well-being. We’re joined by psychotherapist, art therapist, and registered nurse Mary Welschmeyer RN LMFT, artist and cancer survivor Lisa Handley, and childcare professional and abuse survivor Elena Stenger to discuss how accessing their creative process has catalysed their healing and provided ongoing support for mental wellness. This is Part 2 in our series on creativity and wellness. You may want to check out Part 1 on Writing to Heal. Look for next month’s episode on the mental health benefits of movement and dance as well.

Broadcasts 5/723 & 5/8/23

Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, Lisa Herendeen for advance research and Leslie Nielsen for “In Your Voice” Coordination and Patrice Vecchione for story coaching. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

LISTEN ANYTIME or subscribe to get new or past episodes delivered to your listening device:
Apple Podcasts / Google Podcasts / Spotify / Stitcher  / TuneIn

Want to know our interesting topic each month? Simply  SIGN UP for our email list!

Facebook  @stateofmind.radioandpodcast
Instagram @stateofmind.radioandpodcast

If you or someone you know has topic ideas for future shows or a story of mental health recovery to share, please email

In Your Voice are short segments on the show where a listener gets to share their experience of the topic we are discussing. You can call us at 831- 824-4324 and leave a 1-3 minute message about: a mental health experience you’ve had, something that has contributed to your mental health recovery journey, or share a resource that has helped you. Alternatively, you can make a 1-3 minute audio recording right on your phone and email that file to Your voice may just become part of one of our future shows!

If you like what you’re hearing here on KSQD, also affectionately called K– Squid, you can become a “Philanthropod on the Squid Squad” by becoming a supporting member  and help keep KSQD surfing the air waves! Consider underwriting your business or agency and showing our listeners your support for State of Mind.


* Indicates a Monterey Bay Area Resource

Art Heals:  How Creativity Cures the Soul by Shaun McNiff – A book about how artistic expression can be a powerful means of personal transformation and emotional and spiritual healing.

How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. by Nicole LaPera – In this book Dr. LaPera presents a philosophy of mental, physical and spiritual wellness and interdisciplinary self-help tools. Show guest Elena says, “this book introduced me to the inner child work that transformed the way I experience life and helped me create deeper and more meaningful relationships with my family.”

How Making Art Helps Improve Mental Health by Sarah Kuta – An article published in the Smithsonian Magazine / July 11, 2022 – With depression and anxiety on the rise during the pandemic, art therapy may become a more utilized treatment.

No More Secondhand Art, Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London – This book is about using art as an instrument of personal transformation, offering support in moving from an inherited to a chosen state of being.

SoulCollage® Evolving: An Intuitive Collage Process for Self-Discovery and Community by Seena B. Frost – This in-depth book by the SoulCollage® “birth mother” explains her visionary process and how developing and maintaining your own practice can contribute to inner evolution as well as change in your outer world.

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron  (2016) – This book can support readers to embark on a creative journey to find a deeper connection to process and purpose  by offering guidance in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and  techniques to support freeing up  areas where they might be stuck.

Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Oman Shannon – This Bay Area author offers crafting practices for calm, clarity, comfort, contemplation, creation, community and connection along with questions for journaling and reflection, inspiration from crafters and resource lists.

Wide Open: On Living with Passion and Purpose by Dawna Markova – The author is a survivor of a life-threatening illness and she has filled this book with beautiful photographs and mindful prose, quotes and questions which can serve as contemplative inspiration.

The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Mark Nepo – The author is a cancer survivor and has published many books of prose and poetry which can provide mindful nourishment for one’s journey of personal healing, growth and transformation.

The Expressive Arts Activity Book 2nd Edition by Suzanne Darley and Wendy Heath – A collection of accessible, flexible, tried-and-tested activities for use with people in a range of care and therapy settings, to help them explore their knowledge of themselves and to make sense of their experiences.

Reading for Professionals
A Practical Art Therapy by Susan I. Buchalter – Creative and inspiring ideas that can be utilized as needed in any art therapy group.

Art Therapy Sourcebook by Cathy Malchodi –A guide on how to use art therapy to guide yourself and others on a special path of personal growth, insight, and transformation.

Online SoulCollage® Community, founded by SoulCollage® Facilitator and cancer survivor Anne Marie Bennett, is filled with informative and inspiring resources, and the site offers free and paid membership access levels.

Curious about SoulCollage®? – This link is an invitation for a free trial on “World of SoulCollage®,” SoulCollage® Inc.’s online membership platform for new and experienced SoulCollagers and trained facilitators.

Artist Colleen Attara shares her unique approaches to art journaling as a sacred practice for self-reflection and healing through her self-paced online courses such as “Lost & Found: Losing & Finding Yourself in the Pages of an Altered Book” and “Making Tiny Sacred Art Journals: Using Our Heart, Hands & Found Cardboard.”

Law and Order SVU – This iconic television series inspired show guest Elena to speak up about the abuse she was experiencing and it continues to uplift her as a victim of grooming, reminding her of her strength. She turns to this show when she feels particularly sad or down.

Spotify Brown Noise Playlist  –Show guest Elena loves to use Spotify to play brown noise or quick meditations, and to give her another source of word noise so her brain can feel quieter, like podcasts or audiobooks! To listen you may have to create a free Spotify account.

Magic, Everyday Mystery, and Getting Creative  – An “On Being with Krista Tippett” episode interview with Rick Rubin, a creative muse for many famous creatives, co-founder of the record label Def Jam Recordings, former co-president of Columbia Records, and one of the hosts of the podcast, Broken Record. / March 16, 2023.

Arts Organizations
*Cabrillo College Arts – Through hands-on classes and workshops, students enjoy expert instruction, access to cutting-edge equipment and state-of-the-art facilities, and the opportunity to collaborate and connect with their community.

*Santa Cruz Art League – Caters to the life cycle of the artists and encourages visual and performing arts in an environment that is supportive to the artist, to students, and to the community. Offers approximately twelve art shows a year (some for members, some juried, and some invitational) as well as a variety of visual arts classes for both youth and adults and children’s theater classes, theater productions, and monthly book readings and signings by local authors.

*Carl Cherry Center for the Arts – Presents contemporary performing and fine arts programs to encourage interactions between artists and the community in Monterey County. Their outreach includes a poetry writing program for under-served high school students.

Contact Guests
*Mary Welschmeyer, MA, LMFT, RN, Expressive Arts Therapist in Monterey, CA
Available for in-person and online sessions with individuals, couples and families. Email:

*Lisa HandleyMonterey Bay Area artist, creative instructor and SoulCollage® Facilitator offering a variety of mindfully creative classes and workshops in person and online. Feel free to contact Lisa for details about Monterey Bay area in-person or online SoulCollage® workshops or to ask questions or obtain ideas on creative activities for healing. Email:

Artwork by  “In Your Voice” Contributors:
Karen’s Paintings:

Self- Portraits 1, 2 & 3


More Paintings by Karen



Adrian’s Sculptures:


* Indicates a Monterey Bay Area Resource