Amy Bucciarelli, MS, ATR-BC is a Board-Certified Art Therapist and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She is a faculty member with the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine and is a liaison for UF Creative Engagement initiatives.
She earned a BA in Religious Studies from Stetson University and a MS in Art Therapy from Florida State University. Amy has published works and presented internationally on assessments in art therapy, papermaking, art therapy and technology, mandalas, clinician self-care through art therapy, and the relationship between art therapy and arts in medicine.
Amy uses a variety of artistic media to help improve and enhance her clients’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. She has worked with people coping with substance abuse, eating disorders, behavioral health, psychiatric issues, and palliative care. Her primary focus is child and adolescent mental healthcare in medical settings.
Amy’s formalized studio training is in traditional photography, but she has evolved into a mixed media artist. She manipulates created or found digital images, abandoned objects, collage, pencil, pen, pastel, and paint. She specializes in the creation and understanding of mandalas
Why Arts in Medicine?
Amy grew up in a medically-oriented family. Her father and brother are physicians; her mother was a medical technician and university professor. Conversations at the dinner table often involved healthcare. Amy also developed an early fascination with the arts.
In childhood, she was encouraged to serve others and volunteered with Children’s Miracle Network in Gainesville and Orlando, FL. Success in Amy’s family meant caring for others whether it was attending to their physical needs, imparting knowledge, or giving in donation.
As an art therapist, Amy believes it is important to practice what she preaches. Art making is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “When I go long periods without making art I am less able to handle stress in my life.” She processes and communicates her thoughts and feelings through art. She keeps her artwork in sacred sketchbooks of scribbled words and smudged pastels. Art is how she celebrates, grieves, contemplates, and transforms.
Amy believes the arts can soften the hospital experience and provide ways for patients to process the complicated science of healing. “Art is a personal expression that becomes a universal communicator of the human experience that all people can then relate to. I am a student in life and my patients are my wise teachers.”