Karen Estrella

Associate Professor/Expressive Arts Therapy Coordinator

Karen Estrella

Dr. Estrella is the Expressive Arts Therapy Program Coordinator in the Expressive Therapies Division at Lesley University. As a Music Therapist and Art Therapist, Dr. Estrella’s work has focused on developing an integrated arts approach to counseling and psychotherapy, and she has spent much of the past 15 years focused on developing competencies and integrating theory in Expressive Arts Therapy. In addition, Dr. Estrella is pursuing licensure as a Clinical Psychologist and practicing community based mental health counseling.

Research interests include issues of professional development and identity for both psychologists and Expressive Therapists. Dr. Estrella has an interest in training, clinical practice, and supervision of Expressive Therapies; multicultural approaches to Expressive Therapies; psychodynamic psychotherapy and supervision and its applications to Expressive Therapies; and social action and activism through the arts, particularly when integrated with therapeutic practice.


Selected Publications

Estrella, K. (2011). Social activism within expressive arts “therapy”: What’s in a name?

In E. G. Levine & S. K. Levine (Eds.), Art in Action: Expressive Arts Therapy and Social Change (pp. 47-61). Philadelphia and London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Estrella, K. & Kossak, M. (2010). (Review of the conference of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association: Expressive Arts in Social Action: Peace-Ing Our World Together), Journal of Applied Arts & Health, 1 (2), 225-227.

Estrella, K. (2008). Expressive arts’ capacity to facilitate change: A human imperative no matter what we call it. In E. G. Levine & P. Antze (Eds.), In praise of poiesis: The arts and human existence – A festschrift for Stephen K. Levine (pp. 78-85). Toronto: EGS Press.

Estrella, K. (2007). Awakening the imaginal. Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice. 12.

Estrella, K. & Forinash, M. (2007). Narrative inquiry and arts-based inquiry: Multinarrative perspectives, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 47 (3), 376-383.


Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate Institute
M.A. in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).