Lisa Provorny, LCPC, ATR-BC is a board-certified, professional counselor and registered art therapist licensed in the state of Illinois. An art therapist with a person-centered approach, Lisa remembers meeting an art therapist for the first time when she was in high school, volunteering at a camp for children with developmental disabilities.
“At that moment it clicked for me,” she recalls. “Instead of pursuing it though, I went forward with a degree in crafts and didn’t think about it for several years.”
It was after feeling dissatisfied with all the other jobs she pursued that Lisa started to think “What ever happened to that art therapy career I always envisioned?” From there, she “buckled down and jumped head first” into graduate school at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI.
“They have a wonderful art therapy program that collaborates with the clinical counseling program to provide a robust education in experiential therapy as well as foundational theory, interventions, assessments, and research,” Lisa says.
As her high school volunteer experience highlights, Lisa says her specialty has always been working with individuals with developmental disabilities and co-morbid disorders.
“This population has always held a special place in my heart, and it probably started very early in childhood,” says says. “I always felt protective of the people I knew with disabilities, but as I grew up I realized that there’s a difference between acting as a protector and acting as an advocate.”
In Lisa’s work with this population, she takes a strengths-based approach, focusing on skills that support empowerment and finding the client’s unique voice. She makes a point of celebrating victories, big and small, and building up clients to know they are much more than what others may see as their disabilities.
Lisa recalls focusing all of her internships in different aspects of the family system and across the lifespan in order to help prepare her for work with this population. She strives to always “meet the client where they’re at,” a piece of advice that has resonated since her early days as a supervisee.
“We instinctively want so much for our clients to ‘get better’ and we see a goal post on their horizon, but they may not be ready to get that far along and can only take the first step. Taking that one step with them will do more good than trying to drag them the whole length of the journey to the goals that maybe you set for them or might change as time goes on,” she says.
As a supervisor, her top 3 values are:
To help therapists become more aware of counter-transference or self-of-the-therapist issues, Lisa asks a lot of questions. Lisa has found that when a clinician can turn inward and seek answers, they tend to be more successful. Due to this, she encourages self-reflection and self-exploration in her supervisees.
Additionally, she recommends taking as many continuing education classes, attending webinars and reading as many articles as possible. Lisa herself turned to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA), as well as expert therapist blogs for ideas and listings of courses. “Even if licensure is far off in the distance,” she says, “having that information can be helpful in early career jobs when maybe there isn’t as much real-world experience happening.” And being an active ACA member years later is how Lisa learned about Motivo and was able to expand her career into tele-supervision.
As far as professional influences go, Lisa lists Carl Rogers and Victor Yalom as having the biggest impact on her own theoretical approach. “But professionally I would say that my colleagues have shaped my skills and work the most. I have learned so much from the other clinicians I work with and I’m constantly learning something new from their insights and knowledge.”
To learn more about Lisa’s career, check out her LinkedIn.
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