I recently met up with Susan Greif for a heart-to-heart conversation about our recent life journeys. Getting to know this energetic, animated and positive woman, I learned more about how this creative arts therapy consultant helps women and children mend their broken hearts. Meet Susan Greif.
To Susan Greif, a picture can be worth a thousand words. In her role as a creative arts therapy consultant, the Englewood resident also finds that all art forms can tell a life story, uncover emotional roadblocks and help heal the people she counsels.
Susan uses visual arts, rhythmic music, dance, drama and more to help her clients gain self-awareness and insight into issues they may be facing including trauma, illness, abuse, depression and more. “Creative arts therapy helps bring the unconscious up to the conscious level,” she explains. “Once my client and I become aware of these underlying issues, I use art, guided visualizations, verbal guidance and positive intentions as therapeutic tools.”
Susan has been mending broken hearts since 2011, after completing her art certification in Creative Arts Therapies from the New School in New York City. Her practice, Art Mends Hearts, was launched shortly after. Susan works exclusively with women and children of all ages, conducts small workshops and works one-on-one.
Susan discovered this passion through a journey that began several years ago when she had a heartfelt conversation with her oldest child, Caroline, who was 8 at the time. “I asked my daughter what she wanted to do when she grew up,” she recalls. “She looked at me and proudly said, 'I want to be a mommy and do nothing like you!'
“I didn’t know quite what to say. She had no clue I studied Biology and Psychology in college...that I dropped out of dental school to get married and raise a family. Didn't she realize that I worked hard at home as a mom, and still had talents I wanted to pursue?...that I was more than a mommy who did nothing?"
That was Susan’s “ah ha” moment and the beginning of a new journey that began in 1996. Despite the hectic demands of raising four kids with her husband, Kenny, Susan began to explore a number of her own creative interests.
Through the years, Susan took drama classes, online writing courses, art workshops, dance classes -- and even pole dancing! She mastered her photography hobby, photo-documented her mission to Kosova during the Baltic War and participated in a number of exhibitions in both New York and New Jersey. Susan also learned more about multi-sensory learning at Columbia University and recently got certified in Orton-Gillingham's Multi-Sensory Approach to Learning.
Susan loved every minute of every new experience! A friend later told Susan about the New School’s certification program and she was hooked. “Creative arts therapy allows me to integrate my education in the sciences, psychology, art, dance, drama, photography, multi-sensory learning and the healing arts, as well as my experience in raising four children, to help access self-awareness, self-expression and self-healing.”
Today, you may find Susan on the floor playing with a child or role playing with a mom. She is where she wants to be. As a nurturer and healer, Susan enjoys giving and is learning to receive. "As much as I love helping my clients, when a connection is made and a transformation begins, I realize the gift we had just given each other," she says. "That is such an amazing feeling."
To contact Art Mends Hearts, as well as to read Susan's inspirational messages, go to https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Art-Mends-Hearts/291201227565036. Like her on Facebook!
To read posts about women who are reinventing themselves by starting a new career, exploring a new sport or hobby, or simply stepping out of their comfort zone, go to www.amorejourney.com/blog