Camelot Education’s Expressive Therapies Team Helps Expand Unique Skillset with Staff Across the Country
Last month Lindsay Rossmiller, head of expressive therapies for Camelot’s therapeutic day schools in Illinois and clinician at Camelot Therapeutic Day School of Hoffman Estates, led an expressive therapies training for clinicians, therapists, and other staff members of Camelot schools across the country, included Thunderbolt Academy in Millville, New Jersey, Excel Academy of Roseland in Chicago, and Cunningham Academy in Vineland, New Jersey.
The goal of the summit was “to deepen the reflective skills of clinicians at Camelot through arts-based supervision,” says Rossmiller, who has led expressive therapy programming at Camelot for the last six years.
“The expressive therapies program at Camelot’s Therapeutic Day Schools is a point of pride for me,” says deputy superintendent Theresa Mortl Smith.
Expressive therapies programming is designed to help students with social and emotional development. The department includes four areas: art therapy, music therapy, play therapy, and dance movement therapy. Activities range from decorating the learning environment to teaching dance, listening to music, kickboxing, creating poetry, writing stories, and the use of language to express how individuals can create in their lives.
The innovative program places students at the forefront of the process. “If a student comes into therapy moving, singing or whistling, that becomes the jumping-off point for our sharing,” says Rossmiller. “Trusting the child in this way frees them to express themselves and gain self-assertion in overcoming trauma.”
Expressive therapy services are made available to students on a referral basis. Students are assessed and treatment recommended based on the student’s needs and goals. Camelot’s team of expressive therapists collaborate closely with each student’s academic and therapeutic team to provide holistic treatment.
“Over the past 12 years I have seen how the work of our art, music, and play therapists has helped to heal our students,” says Mortl Smith. “I have spoken to family members who remark how powerful the expressive therapies are for their child. Ms. Rossmiller has spent years building out the department in a way that is meaningful for our Camelot children. She is an incredible clinician, department head, and person.”
Staff members who participated in the seminar were enthusiastic about the training: “When students are inspired artistically, they seem more attuned to our instruction,” one participate said in feedback comments. “It helps students understand that creativity is important in processing trauma.”
Another participant responded excitedly to the training’s focus on expressive language, saying, “I connected most with the quotes and journal prompts. Journaling isn’t something I do often. Since undergoing the training, I began looking for more journal prompts to incorporate in adapted ways.”
Movement was another appreciated aspect of Rossmiller’s training.
“I had a great time with my fellow healers! I loved being reminded of the importance of movement,” said one participant. Another added that she “really enjoyed how (Rossmiller) incorporated the mindfulness and movement themes throughout the entire summit.”
During a time when many Camelot students and staff are limited to remote learning environments, reminders to incorporate movement into lessons are especially essential.
“The people who engaged in the training were incredible,” says Rossmiller. “We used lots of different ways of engaging through Zoom. Participants were readily able to articulate how they create for purposes of healing, self-care, processing complicated work and for healthy living.” Using online tools, Rossmiller was able to train more staff at one time than in any previous training.
When clinicians, therapists, and staff are in tune with their own creative and emotional processes, students are better able to reach their own therapeutic goals.
“I have no doubt that Ms. Rossmiller will continue to support the expressive therapists in a way that continues to allow our Camelot children to thrive,” Mortl Smith said. “Her passion for children and healing is evident. Camelot children in our program will continue to receive the best from the therapists in this dynamic department.”