How would you describe your style of therapy?
I am a cognitive behavioral, humanistic, art therapist. This means I use CBT techniques such as mindfulness and motivational interviewing in addition to creating art and the creative process as clients are interested. I create a safe space using non-judgmental approaches to guide clients through self-examination in order to grow, explore, and express their thoughts and feelings, their dreams, and achieve their goals and potentials. Through this process clients become more fulfilled. I help clients focus on managing the present and future by addressing how their past experiences might contribute to who they are and how they behave today. The artistic process may be particularly beneficial for those who may not be able to fully express themselves verbally. It may also be a helpful aid in linking the mind and body for a more holistic process.
Who’s your favorite artist (visual/musician/performance…)?
It is difficult to pick one favorite artist. Maybe my mom, as I was able to experience her authentic beauty and focused attention when we did art together. It was all about the process. I tend to find modern art as my favorite type of art as it can elicit some very specific and intense feelings. I appreciate the artist’s intentionality, playfulness, and creativity with an idea vs. the technical skill of the art piece.
This is similar with the type of music and musicians that I find most pleasing. I always say however, that the kind of music I like most depends on the situation (dramatic female vocalists such as Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos and Carole King are great when I am in the car, house music or blue grass is best when dancing, and classical is a great accompaniment to reading or art creation). I will always love the Beatles and Michael Jackson (who is also probably my favorite performer!).
What’s is your own artwork like? What’s your favorite medium?
My art changes as I evolve. These days I enjoy using my yard as my canvas, with a composition of flowers, vegetables, fairy gardens, and gathering areas. I hope to take up pottery and wheel throwing again soon as this was one of my favorite mediums. I also love to paint. My art ranges from very literal to abstract.
Other than work, what keeps you busy?
My children. I love spending time with my kids. I love watching and helping them explore, play, learn, and grow. My family and I also spend a lot of time attending and enjoying local community events and gatherings with friends. I like street fairs, art shows, bike events, neighborhood parties, community volunteering, etc.
How do you unwind?
I like to just “be” and wander outside. Walks have always worked when I need to unwind. Late at night, I admit, I sometimes indulge in my favorite Netflix show.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure. Tea for added fun.
What made you decide to become an art therapist?
My mom was my greatest artistic influence. She helped art become a natural part of my every day expression. After becoming a therapist, I decided that it felt natural to include art as a part of how I can help others express themselves.
Jessi Bruehling Cleberg is currently accepting new clients for therapy at two locations in Minneapolis, with the Creative Arts Therapy Collaborative at the Ivy Building and with Catalyst in Uptown. She accepts most major insurances including Ucare, Medica/BHP, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Partners, and Preferred One. You may connect with her via email at JLBruehling@hotmail.com or via phone at 612-865-3941.