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Natalie Carlton

Contact Information

Natalie Carlton


Associate Clinical Professor, Director of Art Therapy and Counseling

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Natalie Carlton, PhD, has layered, inter-cultural and multi-systemic art therapy and counseling experiences from urban addiction/recovery and psychiatric in-patient settings to community-based, studio art therapy services for rural youth, adults and families. As a board-certified art therapist and licensed counselor in New Mexico for 20 years, she worked with children, youth and family systems, people with developmental disabilities and chronic psychiatric illnesses, and within trauma and addiction recovery models. Her clinical work has focused on the therapeutic use of diverse materials, including fabric crafts, clay and sculpture, drawing and painting, digital photography and video, sound recording and printmaking. Social justice, systems, feminism and queer theories have been grounding orientations for the therapy support and access Carlton has provided and are her base for her current graduate teaching and leadership.

Carlton has presented her clinical work and scholarship projects at national and international conferences. She co-created and transmitted live from Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professional (CNHP) campus, an online, worldwide, and collaborative symposium called DICATS or Digital International Creative Arts Therapies Symposium  on February 23, 2019. Carlton has authored and co-authored several articles and book chapters regarding digital media use in art therapy, and she is currently working on Illustrating Stories, an edited book regarding the therapeutic use of comics and graphic novels.

Professional Society

The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA)
American Art Therapy Association, and the Art Therapy Credentials Board

Selected Publications

  • Choe, N. & Carlton, N. (2019). Behind the screens: Why digital media informed consent and literacy matter in art therapy. Art Therapy, 36(1), 15-21.
  • Carlton, N. R. (2018). A curriculum for digital art therapy coursework: A vision for digital media inclusion. In C. Malchiodi (Ed.), Art therapy and digital technology. Jessica Kingsley.
  • Carlton, N. R., Sit, T., & Yu, D. R. (2017). Transcending Media: Tangible to digital and their mixed reality. In R. Corolan & A. Backos (Eds.) Emerging perspectives in art therapy, pp. 74-90. Routledge.
  • Carlton, N. R. (2016). Pattern + grid: Sensory qualities of digital media, In R. Garner (Ed.), Digital art therapy: Material, methods and applications. Jessica Kingsley.
  • Carlton, N. R. (2014). Digital culture and art therapy. Arts in Psychotherapy, 41(1), 41-45. doi: 10.1016/j.aip.2013.11.006

Grant participation:

Team member of a Fall 2018 Dean’s Rapid Response Relevant Grant: Use of Mindfulness in Virtual Reality (VR)
Team: Abby Dougherty, PhD, NCC, LPC, Creative Arts Therapies; Michele Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, Creative Arts Therapies; Natalie Carlton PhD, ATR-BC, LPCC, Creative Arts Therapies; Annette Willgens, PT, EdD, PCS, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, Arun Ramakrishnan, PhD, Director Research Labs, Karolina Bryl, PhD, R-DMT/DMP, CMA, RMST/E, postdoctoral fellow

Editorial review board membership:

Art Therapy, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association

Research Interests

Diverse media and materials use; digital media use in art therapy and education; comics and graphic novels in art therapy.

  • Expressive Therapies PhD, Lesley University (2014)
  • Creative Arts in Therapy, Art Therapy MA, Hahnemann/Drexel University (1996)