Karen Pence Promotes Awareness of Art Therapy as a Mental Health Profession

Second Lady Karen Pence, wife of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, recently announced her Art Therapy initiative, saying she wanted to elevate the Art Therapy profession so people understand that it is a mental health profession.

“It is not arts and crafts,” Pence said. “So I want people to understand this is an option. If regular therapy isn’t working, if you’ve just gone through a trauma, a car accident or a difficulty, look up an art therapist in your community.”

At this time only 12 states license art therapists, and Mrs Pence admits Art Therapy is not well known. She hopes to change that.

“Art therapy is a regulated mental health profession that enables people to express themselves through the creative process, especially when words fail them,” American Art Therapy Association president Donna Betts said. “Second lady Mrs. Karen Pence’s initiative is a gift to all Americans and will enrich the profession so that more people can be helped and more lives can be improved by the power of art therapy.”

Pence’s love for art goes way back. After she graduated as valedictorian of her class, she attended Butler University to become a teacher. She got both a Bachelor and Master of science, but minored in art. After the birth of her first child, she took a class in watercolor painting which led to a career painting portraits of houses and historic buildings. Pence has reportedly completed as many as thirty-five paintings a year.

Mrs Pence said she would like to encourage more young people to go into the Art Therapy profession, and is honored to have the national and international platform to shine the light on it.

“From children with cancer, to struggling teens, to grieving families, to people with autism, to military service members experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, to those with eating disorders, Art Therapy is changing lives,” she said.

READ MORE: 2nd Lady Karen Pence unveils art therapy initiative at FSU