Catherine Rogers Jonsson

Interview with Catherine Rogers Jonsson

Date: March 7th, 2012

Name: Catherine Rogers Jonsson

Major, minor, and graduation year: Master of Arts in Art Therapy, 1990

Job Title: Visual Artist, ATCB Registered/Board Certified Art Therapist, Lecturer, Trainer, Consultant

Organization/ Place of work: Self-employed

You're an artist and an art therapist, what does that entail? What are your duties or responsibilities?

-Since I am self-employed, my duties are varied. I am a registered/board certified art therapist with the American Art Therapy Certification Board and a credentialed professional member of the American Art Therapy Association. I have 20 years of clinical art therapy experience which offer a mixture of creativity, humor, dynamic teaching and compassionate insights in my workshops. I'm also a professional artist based in Sweden with numerous solo and group exhibitions to my credit in the US and Europe. My paintings and drawings are concerned with contemporary issues in spirituality, philosophy and psychology.

I founded the art therapy treatment services for the Children's Psychiatric Program (in-patient, aftercare and day hospital), the Adult Day Treatment Program and the Adolescent and Geriatric Psychiatric Units of Good Samaritan Hospital Center for Mental Health in Downers Grove, Illinois.In the greater Chicago area and in Alaska I've established an art psychotherapy private practice for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disturbances.

My next solo exhibition of works on mixed media paper and canvas will be at Galleri Hagman -Stockholm, Sweden - November 2012.

What are the highlights of your job that you enjoy most?

- The highlights of my job when it comes to Art Therapy are providing a way for people to heal themselves through creativity and as a Visual Artist, my ability to express the inexpressible mysteries of life through pictures.

What are the challenges that you face with your job that are not enjoyable?

-The challenges of my job that are no so enjoyable are realizing how much abuse people inflict on the world, each other, themselves, and their children.

How do you spend your work days? Do you spend a lot of time office/lab/meetings/outside/___?

- In my mornings, I spend them answering emails, sending emails, marketing on line, and arranging workshops. In my afternoons, I work in my studio where I currently have about 10 unfinished oil paintings. My studio is on the 2nd story of a barn conversion on our farm in Sweden. Lastly, in the Evenings I SKYPE calls to the United States for arranging workshops, etc…

How did this type of job/field interest you and how did you get started?

-My interest in Visual Art began in grade school and my interest in Art Therapy in college in 1976. Art Therapy became my second career interest in 1988, thus attending UW-S.

What qualifications did you need to obtain this job?

-I needed to obtain my Masters of Arts and Art Therapy Certificate from the American Art Therapy Certification Board. I was board certified this year.

What personal qualities or abilities do you believe contribute most to success in this job/field?

- My personal qualities that have contributed most to my success would be my determination, following through, keen skills of observation, assessment, and entrepreneurial skills.

What organizations were you involved in College that helped you towards your career?

- Nothing that I was involved in, but my passion for art and helping people has inspired me tremendously in this field of work.

What degree/s is appropriate for this line of work?

- The degrees that are appropriate for this line of work include:

*MA-Art Therapy….. This is an essential degree for art therapy employment.

*MFA-Visual Art…. Good to have, but not essential for visual artists.

Where and/or what do you hope to be in 2-5 years? 5-10 years? What are the keys to this career advancement?

2-5 years: I hope to continue offering my art therapy workshops around the world and showing my art work too.

5-10 years: the same as above. I don't plan on ever retiring.

What was the best piece of advice you received and from who that helped you towards your career?

-"Throw your hat in the ring and give it go!"…. advice I've given to myself over the years to take risks and try new things.

"Listen to your intuition"…Louise Hay. EVERY time I don't listen to my intuition, things just don't go so well. When I listen, I feel better about all my decisions!

Do you have any advice or "words from experience" for a college student interested in this job/field?

-To a college student interested in this job field, I advise to never underestimate the human capacity to suffer. Anyone in the medical or mental health fields finds this out quickly and painfully. That's why self-care and self-restoration are so important. Without extreme self-care one becomes a victim to secondary post-traumatic stress from their patients and clients.

If you knew all this back in college, what would you say were the most important classes? Is there anything you would have paid more attention to? Any additional classes you would have taken?

- I believe that philosophy classes help individuals understand and explore the human condition better. I would have liked to take more business classes like accounting, tax preparation, and entrepreneurial marketing classes which help on a practical level.

In college, people claim that a bachelor's degree isn't enough anymore and that you need a master's or doctorate degree to get your foot in the door.  What's your opinion?

-This is true with Art Therapy because you are required to have a master's degree, but I believe it depends on what you want to do and what your goal career requirements are.