Heather Caruso is an art therapist and registered psychotherapist of Art Therapy Guelph. She offers in-person and online psychotherapy in Ontario.

Hi, thank you for checking out my website! I’m Heather Caruso, an Art Therapist and Registered Psychotherapist, and the owner of Art Therapy Guelph. I'm a Mom of two boys and two fur babies. I love travelling. I am humble, warm, personable, funny and straightforward. I love love love art. I love making, looking at, and talking about art, always have. I am delighted that I get to do what I love each day. My clients tell me they love that I am genuine and super smart but at the same time down to earth. In sessions, they enjoy feeling supported and accepted but when needed I bring things forward to challenge what is not working for them.

I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a degree in Art History and Studio Art. I am a graduate of the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and a professional art therapist. I am a Registered Psychotherapist and a member of the CRPO, the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. I am also a member of the OATA and CATA, the Ontario and Canadian Art Therapy Association. I have completed courses in play therapy, nature art therapy, sensory and grounding art therapy and sensorimotor bilateral art therapy for trauma, trauma counselling and mindfulness art therapy. I have taken many courses in psychotherapy for anxiety, depression and trauma as well as general art-making techniques. Although I am a psychotherapist, my focus is mostly on using artmaking in therapy and a little talking. I have a special interest in working with mature women.

Since I was 18, I have worked like a fiend. I put myself through university and three major post-graduate courses. I was married at 23 and had 2 boys. My husband was very supportive of my career goals. Early in our relationship, he developed a chronic disease that affected many aspects of our lives - physical, emotional and financial. I worked a lot to keep us afloat but after years of struggle, I was completely burned out. When I finally had a moment to breathe, I took stock of my life and I lost a sense of who I really was. My life became all about working and I had very little downtime. It became difficult to relax even when I had a night off. I felt like a human doing, not a human being.

10 years ago our family took a week off and rented a cottage by the beach. The kids and I looked forward to swimming and relaxing. However, as the weather works, it rained every day. My 5-year-old was bored of reading so we collected smooth beach rocks. I picked up some acrylic paint. and we spent an afternoon painting rocks. I was amazed at how peaceful I felt immersed in artmaking. I felt like I just meditated. The rock I painted is featured below. After that week of solid rain, I decided to never turn my back on art again.

Art Therapy Guelph Painted Rabbit Rock

My best friend who I went to the University of Toronto with 30 plus years ago, worked at a hospital as the manager of the psych department. She told me about her colleague who was an art therapist. I was excited to hear about her job and we spoke. Although the course she took was in another province, I knew I had to enroll. So in my 40s, with my anxiety in tow and after years of being a homeopath and nutritionist, I went back to school to become an art therapist.

In hindsight, it was unusual for me to have so many wonderful experiences on one trip. It was like the Gods or Goddesses opened doors to ease my path. I rented a room from a wonderful lady named Gwen who brought me all over Vancouver to tour the cultural sites. We got on like a house on fire. I hope to connect with her again one day. I met old friends and a cousin that I had not seen in 45 years! It is funny I didn't think much about them when I was at home. When I saw them in person, I missed them so much that my heart hurt. When I walked to class, seals swam beside me along the sea wall. Everything was utter magic and I felt so blessed.

During the course, we learned so much. We also participated in deep psychological work for two reasons, to know how our clients experience art therapy and to work through our issues. Honestly, it was tough to face the dark spots of my childhood. However, once I began to process the negative things, I gained understanding and acceptance. I could see the brightness ahead of me. My self-esteem and self-compassion increased by 100%. It was freeing!

In hindsight, I believe that the universe rained on my holidays to awaken and heal me and show me who I am again. Art therapy changed my life for the better. I am so blessed and grateful to be able to share my gifts with others.

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