Arden Fekett, who has a Master of Professional Studies degree and is a licensed creative arts therapist, works on Long Island utilizing creative outlets as a means to uncover potential, heal self-doubt and work through problems. Natural Awakenings Long Island (NALI) caught up with her recently to inquire about her life’s work.
It’s been I feel at its very core to express and help others express their humanity. From an early age, I felt very deeply that an acceptance of the full range of our emotions brings with it the freedom to feel fully alive and to be connected to other people. Really, we all hunger to be seen for who we are and to be heard truly. Too often, we feel lonely and isolated and yearn for a sense of community—yearning also for that spark of life that lies deep within us. We get stifled and believe that we are not worthy to try out our secret dreams, or to dream at all. Each of us is unique, like a snowflake, precious and like no other. We have our own look, speech, talents, voice, feelings and dreams. Each of us is amazing and capable of experiencing love and being loved, and celebrating life to its fullest. I suppose I can say that I want more than anything to be a part of people living life to its fullest, accepting, expressing and loving themselves, delighting in all they can create, opening their hearts to and receiving others, and awakening to the world with a sense of wonder.
What have you done so far to see this mission come to fruition?
As a child, I remember directing my cousins in plays, all kinds. Certainly I enjoyed being in each play, but what I loved most was the sense of us being together and playing out this story that connected us. And even then, somehow watching the other actors create something for themselves gave me a great happiness. In college, my major was in English and creative writing, and I have been a writer of prose, poetry and drama. I studied writing the Broadway music with Aaron Frankel and singing for musical theater, and I use these skills in my theatric therapy groups, as people create stories through song and words.
I became a creative arts therapist, specializing in art therapy, but have brought my knowledge of theater as actor, director and singer to this in therapeutic settings and in theater settings to foster health, self-esteem, self-discovery, untapped creativity and community. As actor, director, singer as well, a joyful community was made.
I became a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, studying at an institute in NYC, and worked as an art therapist in long-term, short-term and day hospital settings, being present to the various needs of people in each of the settings, all struggling to feel settled, to feel better, to live. I am enormously proud that I have also created Artists’ Initiative for Hope and Prosperity—two distinct all-day events celebrating who we are and how we can support us, artists all, as we share our gifts—poets, musicians, singers, artists, actors, comics, dancers, radio hosts, and more—and generate the hope that would ultimately lead to our prosperity. This was at the time of our country’s great financial crisis.
What do you offer that serves the NALI reader?
I am offering individual, group, couples and family psychotherapy, and often can blend the elements of creative arts therapy in these. I give talks and workshops on Your Creative Self: Overcoming Blocks to the Effective Use of Imagination. I have long-term special experience working with children, with teens and with adults. I have specially designed groups, such as Theater for Life, one for teens and one for adults, using the dramatic arts as an element of self-discovery and connection. New groups emerging are The Art Experience; Writing Your Life; Art and Nature; Sweet Dreams (for those who have trouble sleeping); and Journey to Serenity—a special one I am adding for winter afternoons that will include soothing teas.