Caitlin Iannucci has always loved art, but its transformative power was brought home to her when, as a child, she watched her father create paintings about his experiences in the Vietnam War. "I saw the connections he made with others through his prolific and award-winning artwork," she says, "as they shared their similar experiences." Her father's subsequent battle with lung cancer also shaped her professional career.
Her first encounter with the study of psychology came a bit later, when she enrolled in AP Psychology at Sacred Heart during her senior year. "The subject seemed like a natural pairing with art," she says, "and so the direction of my career began to unfold." She combined the two fields in her post-secondary education at Albertus Magnus College, with an undergraduate degree in psychology, and a master's in art therapy.
Before establishing her private practice in 2015 (www.caitliniannucci.com), Caitlin worked as a school-based mental health clinician and then as an art therapy clinician in a group practice. Now, she sees a diverse clientele of children and adults, including individuals affected by cancer and their family members. "What I love most about what I do," Caitlin says, "is helping people find ways to express emotions and reflect on experiences without having to find the words. Art therapy is different for everyone. Sometimes it looks like art as therapy, other times it is art in therapy. Art therapy is process-oriented and inquisitive. We ask questions and discover together. The therapy often empowers clients to delve deeper and find meaning in the art process itself. And it is often in that space that healing can occur."
Caitlin, who is also an adjunct professor of art therapy at Albertus Magnus, has defined her clinical specialties to include grief, trauma, depression, and anxiety. She finds art therapy to be particularly meaningful to the bereaved, and has recently been certified as a provider of compassionate bereavement care through the MISS Foundation—which serves families who have experienced the death of a child—and the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Family Trust.
When she is not seeing clients or managing the business part of her practice, Caitlin spends time with her husband, two young sons, and their rescue dogs; enjoys the outdoors; and creates her own art in her studio.
"If you had told me ten years ago that I would have my own practice, I probably would not have believed you," she says. "But, in addition to having the world of psychology opened to me, the greatest lessons I learned at Sacred Heart were leadership and service to others through compassion. I find myself operating from those core values every day."