Meet Massami Ichikawa a 2023 graduate of our Certificate Training Program.
We are excited to feature her as our monthly Alumni Spotlight!
you will be inspired by the blend of skills and practices Massami brings to her work as a psychotherapist in the child welfare field!
Japanese Licensed Public Psychologist
Clinical Developmental Psychologist
Massami Ichikawa was born and raised in Japan. She received her MS in Art Therapy from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. She is a Registered and Board-Certified Art Therapist, a Japanese Licensed Public Psychologist, and a Clinical Developmental Psychologist. For over 15 years, she has worked as a psychotherapist in the child welfare field with neurodiverse
children, parents struggling with parenting, and children and families experiencing difficulties. She also runs the private practice office, Expressive Arts Studio IROIRONOKI, and offers expressive arts
Massami, what drew you to the field of Expressive Arts, or motivated you to get Expressive Arts
I have loved visual arts since I was a
little girl and wanted to go to art college and pursue a career related to the arts. When I found out about the profession of Art Therapist after graduating from art college, I thought, "This is it!" and studied abroad in the U.S. My first job after graduating with a Master's in Art Therapy was as a therapist for children with developmental needs. Some children were in a pre-visual arts developmental stage, so I began to work more with sound and movement. That experience led to a growing
interest in multimodal arts therapy.
I became aware of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and attended the conference in Hong Kong in 2015, which sparked my interest in EXA.
Since then, I have attended EXA workshops that I have found, but I started to think about studying in a structured way. Then I discovered that the Expressive Arts Florida Institute had moved to an online course during the pandemic.
I am Enough
As you began to immerse yourself in this work, were there any unexpected gifts or surprises?
It was an unexpected gift to be able to take care of
myself more as I experienced EXA for myself. At first, I thought I was not enough and was very conscious of taking in new knowledge, but as I sorted out what I had and built my EXA around it, I began to affirm everything about myself that I had been.
How are you currently implementing expressive arts in your personal and/or professional life?
I have been drawing visual images at every opportunity in my personal life. As I learned EXA, I experienced a deepening of my awareness through different modalities, and now I try to re-express them in other modalities.
I also create visual images and poems reflecting on the therapy sessions.
Handmade signboard in front of my studio. 2020.
The name of my
studio is a coined word meaning "various trees." How each tree grows in different forms, adapting to its environment, tells the strength and uniqueness of life.
What are your goals in this work, or how do you envision your involvement with EXA unfolding in the future?
I mainly offer EXA therapy to individuals in my studio. In addition, I started to run open studios regularly so that people can experience EXA in a more accessible way. I am also working on translating English literature to introduce more people in my country to EXA. In the future, I would like to create an EXA training program like EAFI.
How has Expressive Arts enriched or expanded your career path?
Through the training course, my interest in poetic expression has grown, and I am gradually working more and more with adults in addition to my previous therapy with children. I was initially a single-modal art therapist. As I explored my interest in movement and sound
in my work, I discovered EXA. It has added depth to my work. It has highlighted my holistic orientation.
What is your current personal practice and how does it enrich your life?
I continue to draw by
combining meditation and visual journaling. It is part of my life and keeps my feet on the ground. Even a little doodle is a sign that I am living creatively.
Tree of Life
Stone and wire
What do you wish you could tell the world about Expressive Arts?
EXA are a way to
know yourself deeply. It is the process that pays attention to the presence of unspoken images, expresses them, and finds meaning in them. It is a powerful process, and everyone can benefit from EXA. And we are all creative.
What are you currently offering, and what are the ways that people can work with you?
I offer in-person EXA therapy in my studio. I have neurodiverse children and children and adults experiencing difficulties at home, school, or work. I run a regular open studio so people can enjoy creating art. Also, I will offer lectures on EXA this upcoming year.
Anything else you would like to say?
I am grateful to Expressive Arts Florida Institute for giving me professional training. The experience and community I obtained during this training are a treasure. I was very fortunate to be able to participate online while in Japan. It was not hard to stay up all night for it!
Professional links - Learn more about Massami
Watch for our Alumni Spotlight on the 1st of each month. We feature graduates of our Certificate Training Program - Expressive Arts Facilitators, Therapists, and Educators. We hope this series
will inspire you, help spread the work of our alumni, and demonstrate the scope of practice of the expressive arts field.
For more information about our Certificate Training Program, Professional Development, and Workshops - both online and
in-person, visit us at www.expressiveartsflorida.com
Tamara Teeter Knapp
MA, NCC, MHC Intern, REACE®
MA, LMHC(S), REACE®, REAT®