Guttman Human Services Professor Dr. Nicole Kras presented a workshop and a poster at the National Organization for Human Services Conference in Anaheim, CA this past October. “During the workshop, Providing Urban Community College Human Services Students Opportunities for Engaging in Self-Care: Utilizing Art Experientials and Ecotherapy-based Activities, focus was on the importance of encouraging human services students to develop self-care strategies,” stated Dr. Kras. Guttman student experiences were very much a part of this work: “Some of the opportunities designed to support Guttman human services students develop these self-care strategies–such as an eco-art workshop, interactive animal-assisted therapy presentations, in-class art directives, and experiential art therapy workshops–were shared. Participants were then led in an art directive and reflection focusing on self-care,” Dr. Kras explained.
Dr. Kras’ poster presentation at the California conference, Incorporating Eco-Therapy Based Experiences into an Urban Community College Human Services Program: A Pilot Study, provided a detailed description of participants and procedures used in an eco-art therapy workshop and an animal-assisted therapy workshop.
This past year, Dr. Kras also led a presentation at The Expressive Therapies Summit in Brooklyn, NY. “The three hour master class, Ecotherapy, Nature-Based Archetypes Outdoor and Within: Clinical Approaches and Benefits, began with an introduction to ecotherapy and the potential benefits of ecotherapy-based activities with various populations,” Kras explained. “It continued with sharing how these experiences can be incorporated into virtually any clinical setting as an enhancement to treatment.” Participants were then provided the opportunity to participate in an ecotherapy-based nature art directive.
Program Coordinator Nicole Kras, Ph.D., H.S.-B.C.P., joined Guttman as Assistant Professor of Human Services in Fall 2018. She holds a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Development from Lesley University, a Master of Science in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study as a Classroom Teacher Specialist from Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. Kras also received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a concentration in child development and mental health, and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Albertus Magnus College. Dr. Kras teaches Fieldwork and Integrative Seminar I and II, Health and Human Services Policy, Methods of Intervention for Human Services, and Ethnographies of Work in the First-Year Experience. She currently serves as the Immediate Past-President for the New England Organization for Human Services and as a Council for Standards in Human Services self-study reader. Dr. Kras’ research currently centers on the benefits of nature-based experiences for college students and human services program design.