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Art-centric therapy center to create new college support group

Local counselor Britton Sperry is establishing a new college support group initiative at Art It Out, a cognitive behavioral therapy center.

Sperry is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor with a focus on adolescents and young adults. She seeks to aid the younger population during transitional periods, many occurring during college.

“You have the transition from living at home to living on your own, defining yourself and who you are, and then at the end of college, it is like ‘ok I’m going into the real world, maybe grad school, what am I supposed to do with my life,'” Sperry said. “There is so much transition during college that having a space to talk and process it can be really helpful.”

Once it gets started, the support group will assist with life transitions, adjustments, relationships, communication, anxiety and building coping skills.

“Sometimes even just being with a group of people that are experiencing what you are experiencing and talking about it helps to normalize it a little bit more,” Sperry said.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the idea that the way people think affects how they feel and that affects the way they behave.

“They all sort of work together so it is in this triangle rather than a linear progression of thoughts, feelings and behaviors,” Sperry said.

With a therapeutic orientation on CBT, Sperry uses a blend of talk therapy practices and expressive art techniques to address all three and generate change. For clients that are having a hard time pinpointing exact feelings or emotions, art interventions involving two approaches would be explored.

Product-oriented interventions involve people making something they can take with them as a tangible coping item.

“Most of the interventions I like to use are process-oriented… so it is really about the process of making the art and maybe what it symbolizes or the metaphor behind it – stressing the amount of time that goes into working on a piece of art is significant because things in life take time,” Sperry said.

The example Sperry gave for college students on the subject of taking time is a long-term relationship breakup. Students would be able to visually see this process through an exercise called the “Broken Bowl.”

One week, they would pick colors to decorate the bowl with and connect emotions to them. The following week, the students would be asked to break the bowl to represent the shattering feeling they feel when certain emotions are intensified. Gluing the pieces together would be the final stage to show a person’s ability to heal and overcome adversities.

“Typically college counseling centers are more solution-focused, problem-solving oriented; they get you in and they want to help you but they need to move on with the waiting list,” Sperry said.

For students that are looking for consistency or someone they can see throughout the entirety of their undergraduate career, “that is when a place like Art it Out or a therapist like myself who is outside the college can become beneficial,” Sperry said.

Art It Out starts group counseling when at least two to three members are signed up and run for 50 minutes. Support group sessions cost $60 per session and individual services are $150 per session.

Sperry recommends starting on a weekly basis with individual sessions so that people can build rapport, connection and trust.

For more information email Britt Sperry at


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