Who Am I ?
July /August 2012
1: Who am I?
I am Cheryl Walpole, a licensed Creative Arts Therapist & aspiring non-profit maven.
2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?
I am a therapist currently working in psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital. I also just launched my private practice. My areas of specialty include working with children, adolescents, and adults who are dealing with trauma, loss, anxiety, and relationships or divorce. I also work with LGBTQ and women’s issues. While working at both these jobs, I maintain the fundraising for my non-profit group, Art Therapy Project: New York to Namibia. Art Therapy: New York to Namibia is a project where I bring therapeutic arts to my friend’s environmental educational camp in the Namib Desert. This program serves all school age children in Namibia in an effort to help promote a sustainable way of life while protecting the fragile environment and limited water supply. To answer your question “what is Art Therapy?” According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is defined as the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, challenges in living, or by people who seek personal development. By creating art and reflecting on the process of making art, people can increase their awareness of themselves and of others, cope with stress and traumatic experiences, and enhance their cognitive abilities. I enjoy the process tremendously.
3: Where are you from and where are you going?
Jersey Pride. I’ve lived in New York for 15 years so I can take the Jersey digs like a champ. I will be bi-continental between the U.S. and Africa someday.
4: Who is your biggest hero?
My heroes these days are the people I work with everyday at the Hospital. The job can be thankless, grueling, emotional, and unfortunately sometimes involves physical work. I think my co-workers are beautiful, intelligent, and caring individuals!
5: What book is your bible?
Besides the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the PDM, I would have to say A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It’s just so sweet. As for daily life, I am a news junky and need the NYTimes.
6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?
I love Brooklyn, it is my home. That being said, I also love most of what comes with Brooklyn; Prospect park, non-touristy restaurants and streets, parking spots, creative people, music, art, and rooftops. I hate crowds and ignorance.
7: What is your raison d’être?
So thankful for high school French right now. I ask myself this everyday in one way or another. I guess my answer is just to continue to explore and to grow as a person in a positive way.
8: What is your favorite color?
After having a child in Namibia sincerely ask me, “who died,” I realize I lean toward black. But in real life and not on my body, I love the color of sunset and all of the different colors of that time of day. Photographers call it the golden hour but I learned what that really meant while in Africa. I appreciate our sky so much, and I just can’t get enough. The sky also gives me perspective; we are so enclosed living in the city, so it’s nice to step back, look up, and take a couple deep breaths.
9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
Wonder Woman by far! She takes care of business. I spent a lot of time when I was a kid spinning in circles hoping that a hot outfit, gold cuff bracelets, and a lasso would magically appear.
10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?
11: What turns you on?
Brains and honesty.
12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?
How did this interview make you feel?
Cheryl Walpole is a licensed Creative Arts Therapist working in private practice. She primarily works with children and adults with a focus on art and verbal psychotherapy. Art Therapy is for everyone despite age, race, or artistic ability. She continues to work in adult inpatient psychiatry and raise funds for her non-profit Art Therapy: New York to Namibia.
Questions by PMc Magazine
Edited by Ceara Maria Burns
Photography by Kendra Kambestad
Design by Jillian Mercado
Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”
Cheryl Walpole, May, 2012, Photography by Kendra Kambestad