Charis is an art therapist and mental health counsellor that received her graduate degree in Creative Arts in Therapy from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During her graduate education, she had the opportunity to witness the power of the creative arts within multiple mental health settings, including an urban adult inpatient setting, a residential facility for court-adjudicated young males and a multidisciplinary day program for adolescents and adults. After receiving her degree, Charis has gone on to work alongside individuals with developmental disabilities and medical needs, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and children and adults with mental health concerns. Whether working with individuals or groups of various ages, life experiences and socio-cultural backgrounds, Charis is repeatedly reminded of the incredible ability that the arts have in allowing for enhanced communication, connection and understanding.
Personally, Charis has always experienced art expression as an outlet for processing her own life experiences and she continues to practice photography, painting and mixed media art creation as an integral part of her self-exploration and self-care. In preparing for her move to northern BC from the United States, she was excited to learn about the Health Arts Research Centre and is grateful to have become a part of a dedicated group of individuals that believe deeply in the role that the creative arts play in human health and well-being.