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Hi, It's Lesli 

"As an LCSW social worker/therapist, artist and writer, I feel that  healing is multi-faceted.  Exploring different ways of expressing and  processing feelings/ thoughts- both verbally and  non-verbally-- is helpful to all of us.  Creating and telling stories, whether reality based or through metaphor, can be  such a powerful part of the healing process!"

I began making expressive dolls when my daughter was 5 or 6 years old. I wanted to help my daughter and her freinds learn healthy communication skills early in life. The more I worked on these dolls and the joy of storytelling, the more I began to think about other ways that they could be used.  I have always had an interest in storytelling. As a kid I would spend hours drawing imaginary people,  telling stories about them and then hanging them up on the walls. As a teen, I would draw out my hardships and tape the images all over my wall.  As a teenager,  seeing the images on my wall was validating, grounding and helped to guide me forward.

Connect and Express can be used as a mental health tool, helping clients process feelings  and thoughts in a creative way. It can be used in educational settings for storytelling or as a vehicle to teach a variety of academic subjects. It can  also be used at home for interactive family fun or refrigerator communication!




How Can Connect and Express Enhance Your Therapeutic Work With Clients?

Verbal and Non-Verbal Expression

  • Providing a platform for non-verbal expression enables clients of varying developmental, cognitive and language abilities to express themselves. ​

  • Processing feelings and thoughts non-verbally allows clients to tap into unconscious material and right brain sensory experiences that may be associated with trauma. 


  • Clients can externalize pain so it can be objectively observed and re-framed.​

  • Creating art while exploring  painful material is more tolerable because making art is soothing. ​

  • Processing experiences with a visual platform can help w/ insight into faulty beliefs.​

  • Creating art is not a linear process, it is a gradual process that enables a client  to go at their own pace.


  • Touching and moving the pieces is a sensory experience that can help one feel grounded/present in their bodies.​ In addition, the act of moving peices can feel empowering. 

  • ​ Interacting with interesting, validating imagery can maintain motivation and engagement in therapy process. 



  • Fantasy figurines can be used to express feelings or wishes that might otherwise feel  too difficult or taboo to discuss. ​​

  • Using metaphor to process traumatic feelings/memories can feel safer and less vulnerable. 

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