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As a nationally Board-Certified Art Therapist and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Malissa loves to help teens and their families find creative solutions in difficult situations. Originally, Malissa had planned to become a talk therapist, but a personal experience with alleviating suffering through art (primarily ceramics and throwing pottery on the wheel) led her to study art therapy and the mind-body connection.

Malissa has worked as an art therapist in many settings, but her work as Director of the Expressive Arts Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is where she learned the most about resilience. Malissa was inspired by working with families in crisis who found beauty and hope in the midst of despair. Being with them through that process helped her to confront her own fears and challenges.

At this same time, Malissa was on the practicum faculty at Loyola Marymount University, teaching and training young therapists. These students and interns taught her the value of finding each person's strengths and using them to overcome challenges. This philosophy has become part of Malissa's practice with individuals, groups and families.

Malissa has worked at La Europa as the Director of Expressive Therapies since January, 2011. In addition to visual art, she personally has a history of music and theater performance and a great passion for utilizing all of the various arts to facilitate healing and understanding.