Sacred Art and Hearing Voices

Louella DeVriesThe third annual Psychology Alumni Conference held on Saturday, April 10, featured alumna Louella DeVries ’93, president of Olive Branch Counseling Associates in Oak Forest, Illinois, who offered her presentation “Sacred Art and Hearing Voices.”

Including portions of her personal story, she spoke on her switch from a studio art major at Trinity to a psychology major and discussed how art and creativity influence her as a clinician.

“I see psychotherapy as a form of sacred art,” DeVries said in her speech. “Just as no two artworks are the same, so it is with psychotherapy clients and with therapists, too.”

Each client is unique and one-of-a-kind, she said. The therapist’s approach should be unique with each client, just as an artist treats no two artworks the same.

DeVries also incorporated the idea of ‘voices’ into her speech, and how the different voices heard throughout the day impact people.

According to DeVries, many individuals are without a good voice to hear. The negative voices they are hearing end up giving them a poor self image. DeVries works to transform the voices that her clients hear, to help them tune out the negative voices, to listen only to the ones that empower, “only the voices that will enable them to thrive as individuals, enriching their communities and God’s kingdom here on earth.”

DeVries encouraged all psychotherapists, future and current, to be mindful of the voice they leave with each client.

“Be creative, honor the unique features of each client sent your way,” she said. “Remember the importance of the voice that you will leave with your clients each time you speak.”

Other speakers included:
Mary Balfoort ’84, presented “My life’s perspective or where the heck did the last 26 years go?”
Kelly Barnes ’08, presented “Is patriotism always a positive force? Blind patriotism, stereotyping, and the mediating role of threat”
Angela Turano ’08, presented “Teaching with a bachelor’s degree in psychology”
Jeremy Oosterhouse ’05, presented “A market-based approach to social service employment”