In The News

Art Therapy: Mixing Science with Creativity

Our July Staff Spotlight features Annie Chang. Annie Chang has been part of the Expressive Therapy team at The Loretto Hospital since 2020. She uses art therapy to treat various behavioral health conditions. Annie has been an artist her entire life and has always had a keen interest in psychology. “Art therapy was the perfect way to merge my creative practice with clinical work.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Annie moved to Chicago to obtain her Master of Art in Art Therapy and Counseling at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her personal experience in overcoming hardship related to mental health has informed her practice and allows her to meet her patients in a non-judgmental and empathetic place. “The process of recovery is one of my favorite things to witness and support, as it symbolizes hope in transformation. I am motivated by the strength and resilience I see in my patients, especially those who are struggling with addictions or other maladaptive coping mechanisms. I am passionate about sharing resources and scientifically backed research on substance use disorders because I believe it is one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood illnesses. I am an artist. I’ve always been an artist as long as I can remember. I have a bachelor’s degree in art and painting, I started teaching art in the community and in social services and in recreation. I realized when I was teaching art, I loved sharing this process that can be so empowering for people. ”

Annie likes working at The Loretto Hospital because of the trusting professional relationships she has been able to form. "Working at Loretto really did change my life a lot. The place I was working at before was a fine organization and my coworkers were great and everything, but I feel a lot more accepted here, especially as a person of color. Loretto is one of the most diverse places that I’ve worked at. I’m not just talking about employees, but also in management as well, and I do feel more comfortable. I also like working at Loretto because you get that community aspect. It’s a privilege to be a part of the team. Especially in behavioral health, you can’t work unless you’re working within a team. You have to be able to work not just with the other expressive therapists, but with mental health specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors; you have to work with anyone. Yeah it is about the individual work you do with the patients, but it’s also about teamwork too. Working here has been positive."

Her immediate supervisor is her mentor and she feels incredibly lucky to be a part of a small but mighty team of expressive therapists. She also loves the unique patients she has the privilege to serve in group and individual therapy sessions as well as the amazing staff on the Behavioral Health unit.