to grow up and become who you really are

- EE. Cummings

Julie Stark, LCSW


Natural reactions like anger, sadness, anxiety or confusion, shaped by our past and present experiences, can become overwhelming; leading  us to feel stuck in unhelpful, unintentional patterns. The situation usually isn't the problem, it's the lens through which WE (unknowingly choose) SEE it.

​If we are willing to shift, to change our perspective, we open ourselves up to possibilities we never knew. Together we'll address challenges most important to you, learn new ways to view and experience relationships and....your life. After all, our lenses can use a little adjusting now and then ;)

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in counseling psychology. During my studies there, I worked and volunteered at Bethesda Hospital on the inpatient psychiatric unit running art therapy groups and tending to patients who wer post ECT treatment. I will never forget one patient in particular who hadn't spoken in 19  years due to a diagnosis of catatonic schizophrenia. She was prescribed a "second generation" antipsychotic, one that was newly FDA approved.  In just a few weeks on this new med, she began to speak again! She allowed me some time to speak with her for 2 hours per week. It was from that moment on, that I became fascinated in understanding the brain, human behavior and psychopharmacology. Working near and with the National Institutes of Mental Health and provided endless clinical data to learn from and study, before graduating in 1997. 

From there, I went to Pratt Institute to pursue a Master's degree in Art Therapy. Back then, people would say to me, "What kind of degree is that; do you counsel people who can't draw?!"

On the contrary, I took many graduate courses such as Individual & Group Creative Arts Therapy, Creative Art Therapy for Practitioners, Development of Personality, Professional Practice and Clinical Supervision, Art as  Diagnosis, Research and Thesis. I found it absolutely fascinating to see how "art as expression and art as a  therapeutic medium" can be a powerful modality when used properly. There is a misconception that Art Therapy is just for kids. I've worked with many adults with differential diagnosis, comorbidity and dual diagnosis as it pertains to medical conditions and mental illness and have seen the power of Art Therapy. Years later I went on to get my masters in social work and then pursued the specialized clinical license to practice privately.