Mental health therapy for children, teens, adults & families in Catonsville Maryland.
  • 516 N. Rolling Rd., Suite 201B | Catonsville, MD 21228
  • (443) 846-0404
Kelsey Dugan

Kelsey Dugan

Board-Certified Art Therapist | Field Placement Supervisor, ATR-BC, LCPAT
Kelsey Dugan (she/they) is a Board-Certified Art Therapist & Licensed Clinical Art Therapist. She graduated first in her class from Pratt Institute in 2016 and became a published author shortly after. Kelsey has extensive experience working with complex trauma with children, teens, and caregivers on both a national and international scale. She's most passionate when working with attachment trauma - specifically supporting children and teens in the foster care system &/or state custody.

About Kelsey Dugan

Kelsey Dugan, MPS, ATR-BC, LCPAT (she/they) is a Board-Certified Art Therapist and a Licensed Clinical Art Therapist. Although originally from New Jersey, Kelsey has been living in Portland, OR for the last 5 years with her amazing partner and their rescue Pitbull Bam Bam (whom she hopes to eventually get certified as a therapy dog). They’re relocating to Maryland this Summer and will begin providing supervision services for graduate students and Art Therapists at CPHS this Fall.

Kelsey has over 7 years of experience working extensively with complex trauma with children, teens, and caregivers on both a national and international scale. She's most passionate when working with attachment trauma - specifically supporting children and teens and their caregivers navigating the foster care system &/or state custody. Kelsey supports her clients with establishing and strengthening personal boundaries, improving communication and conflict resolution, addressing self-esteem deficits, and learning healthy coping strategies to replace the other tools they’ve previously developed as means of coping that maybe aren’t the safest for them or in align with their future goals. She truly loves working with children, teens, & families and her focus has been with youth who’ve experienced attachment disruptions/severe impairments with caregivers in the foster care system and supporting caregivers in developing positive attunement skills in order to provide that much needed sense of stability that’s foundational for long-term healing to begin.

Training and Education

Kelsey’s facilitated trauma-informed art therapy in a multitude of settings including 24/7 crisis-based in-home stabilization, youth correctional facilities, day treatment, intensive outpatient treatment programs, in-home & in-school settings, and domestic violence shelters. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration with a focus on Psychology from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia in 2014. She completed her Master’s in Art Therapy in 2016 where she graduated first in her class with Distinction from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She was awarded the Graduate Convocation Award for Excellence in Academic Achievement in 2016. Before graduating, Kelsey studied under a wonderful group of Art Psychotherapists in Northern Ireland during the Summer of 2015.

After completing her Master’s, Kelsey organized a 3-month volunteer Art Therapy trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2017 where she was fortunate to work with young male trafficking survivors working in the Red Light District, orphanages for abandoned children with special needs, correctional facilities for incarcerated youth awaiting trial, children in both Wat Temple Schools and ‘illegal night schools’ for indigenous hill-tribe families, centers for adults with special needs, homeless shelters for young mothers, folks in elderly care facilities amongst other various populations. 

Kelsey became nationally accredited as an ATR-BC by the Art Therapy Credentials Board in 2017 which was also the same year her 2015 Thesis research on shoe alteration techniques with single mothers living in a Domestic Violence Shelter was published in the scholarly book titled “Complicated Grief, Attachment, and Art Therapy: Theory, Treatment, and 14 Ready-to-Use Protocols” by Briana MacWilliam MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT. Kelsey became a Licensed Clinical Art Therapist in Oregon after the state license went into effect in 2020.

Kelsey hopes for her next professional venture to be accepted into The Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute this Summer and obtain her Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy (also known as EXAT) designation. The Institute incorporates the use of the Expressive Arts (art, music, dance/movement, enactment/improvisation, storytelling/narrative, play, and imagination) and was developed by Dr. Cathy Malchiodi who defines the approach as an “integration of trauma-informed practices, 'brain-wise' arts-based interventions and embodied awareness concepts to support trauma reparation and recovery.”

Please see the Institute’s website for more information here.

Therapeutic Approach

While working with Kelsey, you will have the space to focus on what it is you feel is most important and dive deeper together into the identified issues through art-making and traditional talk therapy. Kelsey uses trauma-informed art therapy interventions that focus on externalizing internal wounds, current life stressors, and/or personal conflict in a safe, contained, & confidential space. Her approach is process-oriented with underpinnings of The Sanctuary Model’s ARC Framework and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Process-Oriented means you have the space to focus on what it is you feel that’s most important and we’ll be able to dive deeper into the identified issues through art-making and traditional talk therapy. DBT can help us by using mindfulness & self-soothing strategies when we feel distressed, flooded, overwhelmed, or unable to cope with trauma reminders or triggers, unexpected change, or major transitions. Kelsey’s goal is to support you as the expert of your own life and help you identify (or develop) your own internal motivations for change.  Kelsey’ sessions almost always end with a grounding exercise to promote one’s overall sense of personal safety so that you are able leave therapy feeling ‘put back together’.

Kelsey loves to incorporate a range of creativity forms & methods into her practice and will encourage her clients to journal, write poetry, even teach her Tik-Tok dances or make Spotify playlists for them to listen to & process in our sessions together in addition to art-making and traditional talk therapy. Kelsey loves a good Disney Spotify Playlist & any excuse to introduce her clients to her dog (virtually of course). Art - making - as a form of nonverbal communication - serves as a symbolic vehicle for one to safely access and externalize their trauma visually without feeling consumed or flooded by it and after processing it through talk therapy in order to integrate their experience. 

Research Publications

    • 2022 - “A Meaning Based Approach to Art Therapy: From the Holocaust to Contemporary Practices” written by Elizabeth Hlavek DAT, LCPAT, ATR-BC.Supporting Research Assistant 
    • 2017 - “Complicated Grief, Attachment, & Art Therapy: Theory, Treatment, and 14 Ready-To-Use Protocols” written by Briana MacWilliam MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT. Contributing Chapter Author - Part III: Applications & Practice, Chapter 19: Exploring Attachment & Grief Through Shoe Alteration Techniques


Awards & International Affiliations

  • 2022 - International Expressive Arts Therapy Association - Worldwide
  • 2021 - American Art Therapy Association Professional Mentor - USA
  • 2016 - Graduate Convocation Award - Excellence in Academic Achievement - Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, NY
  • 2016 - Art Relief International & Cultural Canvas Thailand - Volunteer Art Therapist - Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 2015 - Northern Ireland Group for Art As Therapy (NIGAT) - Summer Intensive Week-long Workshop Attendee - Belfast & Ballycastle, Northern Ireland