“[The MFT department’s] dedication to providing mental health support to underserved communities throughout the pandemic, and their ever-present support, helped guide my developing professional identity during unprecedented and challenging times…I aspire to further explore the power of art in creating, and healing, communities within the practices of art therapy in a diverse city like Los Angeles.”
With graduation upon us, we spoke to some of CFA’s talented #LMU21 graduates as they gear up to leave LMU and take on the world. In our We Love Our Grads series, we asked a graduating student from each of our departments to reflect on their time here, as well as share their plans for the future.
Cecilia Sanchez ’21
Program: Marital and Family/Art Therapy (M.A.)
Career Goals: Art therapy for underserved communities
How did you decide to pursue art therapy?
Prior to pursuing art therapy, as I worked towards my art-illustration degree, I worked in the K-12 educational system as a teacher’s assistant, art educator, and behavioral therapist. I have always acknowledged and valued the power of art to express, communicate, and heal. My previous jobs allowed me opportunities to witness how art impacted the lives of underserved communities. This led me to research the use of art in therapy. Art therapy had always been something I was interested in, however the decision was not an easy one due to the cost of pursuing higher education in this country. After many years of contemplating, I decided that my passion for the arts, working with others, and helping those in need outweighed the costs of education and I took the steps towards my future here at LMU.
Tell us a little about your career goals and aspirations.
Working with underserved and marginalized populations during my graduate education further solidified my passion for working with these communities. I hope to find employment in a space that strives to bring culturally attuned mental health support to those most in need. I aspire to further explore the power of art in creating, and healing, communities within the practices of art therapy in a diverse city like Los Angeles.
How do you feel your experience at LMU prepared you for this next step?
The MFT and clinical art therapy department, and staff, with their dedication to the greater Los Angeles community prepared me by allowing me to experience diversity while embracing flexibility and creativity. Their dedication to providing mental health support to underserved communities throughout the pandemic, and their ever-present support, helped guide my developing professional identity during unprecedented and challenging times. Approaching graduation, I feel prepared to step into the professional field in this changing world, thanks to their guidance. I find inspiration in the passion of the university, and the department, to give and create collective collaboration.
What will you miss most about LMU?
Although I did not get to enjoy it for long due to the pandemic, I will miss the beautiful campus and the loving faces of the staff in our department and my fabulous cohort.
What advice do you have for new MFT grad students?
Take it all in. It is a lot mentally, physically, and emotionally and yet it goes by quickly! Make those connections, take on those experiences, and embrace the creativity!