Art Therapy Program, NYC

Lesley Achitoff, LCAT, ATR-BC, received her Masters of Professional Studies in Creative Arts Therapy at School of Visual Arts, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University. She has been working with teenagers and young adults as a Creative Arts Therapist since 2003. This work began with families at risk of termination of their rights served by a Prevention Program in Brooklyn, and segued into working as an Art Therapist in a Department of Education Alternative High School for C.A.S.E.S., an alternative to incarceration program.  Learning about services increasing on Rikers Island, Lesley was the second Creative Arts Therapist to work there, and now directs a program supervising 14 Creative Arts Therapists, including the modalities of Music and Dance/Movement.  Along the way Lesley has facilitated groups of teens served by Andrew Glover, New York Foundling and The Good Shepherd, as well as created projects enabling wheelchair-bound patients to create murals with their chairs at Bellevue Medical Center/Rehab, New York Founding, and The Veterans Hospital in the Bronx. Starting in October 2015, Lesley and her staff on Rikers have curated and facilitated two shows of the artwork of inmates from Rikers at a gallery provided by School of Visual Arts, the first time this work has been shared with the community. Lesley has witnessed limitless positive results in working with these resilient individuals and believes in their ability to internalize positive attention, find ways to generate hope for their futures, as well as learning to recognize their many strengths.