The Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods

Located approximately 2 hours north of San Francisco in a tranquil setting, The Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods has been offering workshops and courses for art therapy professionals as well as other health care and service provider professionals since 1992. Our workshops are limited to ten participants in order to provide ample opportunities for interaction. While most programs are held in Redwood Valley, a few are held at other venues.

On these pages you will find not only course offerings and schedules, but useful resources and articles.

We encourage you to explore our pages and contact us with questions or suggestions.


Neurodevelopmental Art Therapy on Native American Reservations

I have invited Carey McCarthy, MFT, ATR, to share her work with you. Carey is responding to the crisis of Native American youth suicide. For example, since December of 2014, there have been 24 suicides and 103 attempts at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This, in my opinion, is a national crisis.

Please talk about this with friends, colleagues, educators and legislators to bring awareness of this crisis to everyone.

Thank You,


Native Americans have the highest rates of substance abuse in the US, and the highest suicide rate among 10-24 age males in the world. When I learned of these devastating statistics, I envisioned creating an organization to bring Art Therapy to Native youth on reservations. When invited by a friend from the Santee Reservation, I begin my journey; I packed my car and drove from my home in California to the Santee Sioux Nation, a Dakota Indian Reservation nestled on the Missouri River on the border of Nebraska and South Dakota.

Prior to my departure, I created a non-profit organization, Indigenous Healing Arts Alliance (IHAA), and invited friend and colleague Linda Chapman to sit on my Advisory Board. I wanted to implement Linda’s Neurodevelopmental Art Therapy (NDAT) model along with other Art Therapy techniques into a two-day training seminar for mental health professionals, and educators on reservations to deliver the help the Native youth so desperately need.

Art Therapy is a very viable treatment model for the Native American population, as it creates cultural continuity and is culturally relevant. The Native people have a Spiritual and Cultural Heritage rich in the arts. Art Therapy is a healing modality understood and embraced, as it is similar to traditional Native healing practices. Art Therapy incorporates cultural and spiritual teachings, is culturally neutral; appropriate cross-culturally, and suitable throughout the spectrum of spiritual and religious practices in Indian country.

In South Dakota for the last year, I have implemented Art Therapy trainings within Santee Sioux Nation, Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. The result has been very successful with over 140 mental health professionals and teachers trained in the Neurodevelopmental Art Therapy Treatment model. Each of those 140 trainees who work with 30 children per week, are now helping 4,200 Native American Children per week! My vision is now becoming reality.

Pine Ridge Reservation recently asked me to offer a training for their elementary and high schools. Pine Ridge reservation is in a state of emergency with a youth suicide count of 24 children between the ages of 11-23 years old since December 2014. The superintendent of Pine Ridge schools has asked IHAA to create a curriculum to implement for the new school year. As a result, Linda and I are co-authoring a year long, multi-cultural Neurodevelopmental Art Therapy Curriculum. This curriculum is crucial for the long-term healing of current and future generations of Native youth.

There is a severe lack of mental health services on reservations across the US. By implementing Art Therapy curriculum directly into the classroom, we hope to see a decrease in trauma symptoms, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide. Other benefits anticipated are better classroom attendance, behavior, and academics.

Indigenous Healing Arts Alliance has been invited by the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board to bring Art Therapy programs to 18 Tribal Nations within the Great Plains Region over the next 5 years. This is an incredible opportunity to create a program to offer immediate services to the Native youth and to demonstrate the efficacy of Art Therapy and NDAT as being the first evidence-based trauma treatment for the Native American population.

IHAA has many goals for the next year: curriculum development, outreach, on-site trainings, a pilot project and growth/development of the organization. In order to accomplish these goals we need support for our fundraising efforts. We need your help….We are asking you to help us to rebuild the First Nations People one generation at a time.

Pilamiya (Lakota for “Thank You”).

Carey MacCarthy, MA, ATR-LPCC
Founder/Executive Director
Indigenous Healing Arts Alliance

Click Here for You Tube Video

Visit here for more information about this crisis

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