Faces of Rosecrance: Jada Miller

June 7, 2017

As an Art Therapist and licensed counselor at Rosecrance Harrison Campus, Jada Miller focuses on the therapeutic process as clients create artwork as part of their treatment for substance use disorders.

“I’ve always been a creative person,” Jada said. “I would build Harleys in the garage with my dad and make artwork with my grandma since I was little. I enjoy working creatively, but I also enjoy working with people. I’m Rosecrance’s first full-time art therapist, so I created the program here. I’ve been here for 7 years.

“An art therapist focuses on self-esteem, reduction of symptoms, exploring relationships and learning your own identity, as opposed to an art teacher who focuses on technical skills and looks for a finished product. Anything that can be addressed in verbal counseling can be done in art therapy. It’s just working different parts of your brain. It usually gets people out of their comfort zone, and that’s where they learn to grow.

“The things we do in here are directly related to their treatment goals. I have a whole toolbox of directives that can help with whatever these clients are struggling with and the behaviors they want to improve. When clients create this artwork, in a way it announces a change they want to make and gets it out of their head and onto paper.”

“I also do a grief and loss group for the opiate-specific unit,” Jada added. “Oftentimes, art therapy is a safer way for them to share what they’re going through without them having to directly sit down and talk face-to-face about something. That’s sometimes scary and intimidating. In art therapy, they can put it down on the paper and talk through it. They’re giving their artwork a voice to speak for them.

“Art therapy allows people to build relationships with their peers and to be vulnerable, to express some things indirectly that they’ve been holding onto for a long time. In a group, they focus a lot on the similarities between different people’s artwork, so they can see that they’re not the only one that feels a certain way about their addiction and where they’re at.

“For our Florian Program group that treats uniformed services personnel, we had them create ‘Inside, outside’ masks. The outside represents the mask that they have to put on: a lot of that is humor, bravery, making it look like they have everything together. These are some exhausting masks that people wear when they’re in their addiction. The inside mask is more what they’re struggling with, hiding, working on — those things that our clients might want to keep hidden. They start to reveal those things while they’re going through treatment. That’s one of my main objectives: to let some of that inside stuff out in a safe way.”