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Career Changing As a
Life Journey

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Visit Our Blog: Solutions for Living

Lucia Capacchione

Lucia's Story: Career Changing
As a Life Journey ~ Page 2

by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D., A.T.R.

Career Change

The unfolding of innate talent never ends. Developing one usually leads to others. During my successful first career in art and design, I discovered a new set of gifts: people skills, the ability to design and teach curriculum and a talent for administration and motivating others. These talents may never have surfaced if I hadn't given birth to two girls born fifteen months apart. I was so fascinated watching Celia and Aleta grow from infants to toddlers, that I sought deeper understanding of how children develop and learn. Immersing myself in the writings of Dr. Maria Montessori, I was consumed by a passion for infant development and later trained in her method of early childhood education. While reading The Montessori Method, Spontaneous Activity in Education, The Absorbent Mind and The Discovery of the Child, I had no idea I was headed for a new career. All I did was listen to my heart.

As an at-home mom and a freelance artist, I created art in our home studio during the children's naps and after their bedtime. I observed my toddlers' growth with a sense of awe, which inadvertently planted the seeds for a new career in early education.

After training as a Montessori teacher in the school where my children were enrolled, I accepted a position as a child development supervisor with the newly formed federally funded Head Start pre-school program. I supervised and fifty employees in twelve classes and found that my organizational talents came to fruition. This was all happening within months after the 1965 Watts Riots. These were the worst race riots in the history of Los Angeles. Helping these war torn communities in the inner city was a deeply rewarding experience.

After a few years, I began consulting for other Head Start programs and pre-schools and teaching Tom Gordon's Parent Effectiveness Training Method (P.E.T.). I found that my design background could be integrated into my educational career when I received a call from Mattel to design pre-school talking toys for teaching colors and other basic skills. Later, I became an instructor of Child Development at Santa Monica College. My classes included Art for Teachers of Young Children and Child, Family and Community.

A Third Career

While struggling with a life-threatening illness in the wake of a divorce in my mid-thirties, I began pouring my feelings and dreams out on the pages of my artist's sketchpads. That is how I discovered the healing power of art and writing. This eventually became my third career. I was using images and words to heal myself before realizing there was a field of psychology called art therapy. When I told my friend Sarah what I was doing and showed her my journal, filled with drawings and writings from my inner most self, she urged me to consider art therapy as a career choice. I went to an art therapist for a few months to find out more about it as a client and realized my friend was right. I then got a Master's in Psychology and supervision in clinical work as an art therapist.

Becoming an Art Therapist Registered in private practice turned out to be a perfect blend of my two careers in art and child development. At that time the field of writing for personal growth was just beginning to take shape. I became one of the pioneers in journal therapy, introducing my Creative Journal method in classes at the Santa Monica YWCA and Los Angeles City College.

Meanwhile, in private practice as an art therapist, I originated a unique method of Inner Child/Inner Family work. Using the Creative Journal method, my clients drew and wrote with their non-dominant hand revealing their Inner Child as a real life aspect of their personalities. They discovered what I had learned through my journal work. It is our Inner Child who puts us in touch with our physical needs, our emotions, our creativity, our innate talent and our spiritual sensibilities.

As my clients resolved personal life issues and uncovered buried creativity, they asked about my many occupations and unusual career path. I suddenly found myself mentoring women and men of all ages and stages of life: young people starting out, single parents and empty-nest moms entering the job market, men in career transitions, successful professionals suffering from burnout and retirees looking for hobbies or part-time work. My clients and students wanted to know how to do what I had done. I told them:

It's simple. Listen to your heart. Listen to the voice of talent within. Find your natural abilities and interests. Ask yourself what you love doing the most and then figure out how to make a living doing it.

In the case of retirees, making money was often not an issue. But in some cases it was, as retirement income often needed to be supplemented. Before long, I was receiving lots of referrals for creative career counseling using art therapy, Creative Journaling techniques and my collage method of life design, now known as Visioning®.

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