Milford native uses her love of art as therapy

MILFORD — Growing up in a family of artists, Erica Hatrick frequently found herself silently observing others, noting various aspects of their behavior.

The Milford native merged her twin interests in college, studying art therapy at Albertus Magnus College.

"And it's history from there," she said.

Hatrick recently opened Art Therapy of Milford at 16 Daniel Street in Milford. It was a risk, she said, but it is paying off.

"I had this amazing opportunity to start here downtown on Daniel Street, and it felt right," she said. "Everything aligned, and I just went for it."

Art therapy is a unique field and a type of psychotherapy, she said.

"It invites the use of the creative expression, that can be used for insight, to heal, and it's a great way to get down to the soul level and express things that words don't always get to sometimes," she said. "It creates more options for how someone would choose to confront or look at areas of challenge in their life."

The goal is to get to the point where the person can find the words and verbalize what is really going on in their life," she said.

"But art therapy does bring in a softer way of doing that," she said.

"I work with people to establish goals, and those goals are achieved by talking about what challenges are dealing with and what their strengths are," she said. "It's a collaboration between the client and therapist, and based on the treatment plan. That's when the art piece comes in."

Hatrick has been practicing therapy since 2015 after she graduated college.

"I hit the ground running," she said. "I was in non-profit work for a while. Then I joined a private practice before opening my practice."

Her new practice has only been open for a few weeks, but she said things are going well.

"There's a lot of curiosity about what I do and how it works," she said. "I've gotten a lot of phone calls from prospective clients and the community welcoming me to the new location. There's a great sense of community down here."

Hatrick said her love of psychology began when she was child observing others.

"And coming from a family of artists, I've always had a love for art," she said. "As I got older, my interest in human behavior developed further. So in an attempt to blend my love for art and psychology, I beautifully found my way to art therapy."