Let’s make it official
Ready to become a Lynx? We are still accepting applications, but housing and class registration are first-come, first-served.

Michelle Napoli

Assistant Professor, Art Therapy

Photograph of Michelle Napoli in front of one of her colorful paintings.

Dr. Napoli (she/her/hers) is the Supervisor of Academic Affairs (SAA) in the Expressive Therapies Division in the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences.  As SAA, Michelle focuses on recruitment, hiring, retention, as well as professional and community development with adjunct faculty in the division.  Michelle also collaborates with faculty to integrate culturally responsive and anti-oppressive approaches in expressive therapies and counselor education pedagogy.  This scholarship is an ongoing commitment to equity work with an intersectional lens.  Michelle has been an expressive therapies and mental health counselor educator for over 15 years.

Dr. Napoli’s community-based work focuses on authentic cultural continuity and identity formation as prevention and treatment.  Personally, she integrates the arts as cultural resiliency and for language reacquisition in collaboration with her Native community, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.  Michelle’s ontological perspective is informed by her identity as Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo and connections with her ancestral homeland in what is now Marin and Sonoma Counties in Central California. As a Native artist, Michelle engages with Native community and artists in the New England area in collaboration with the Institute for New England Native American Studies.  She also collaborates with a collective of researchers and providers regarding culturally responsive community-based work in Guatemala.   She is the founder of the Survivor Quilt Project, which created the traveling exhibit “Incest Survivors Speaking Truth to the Next Generation” to discuss preventive, proactive considerations regarding the impact of trauma across generations.  


Selected publications

Napoli, M. (2020, Fall).  Teleeka Hammako ‘Alwas*/ Three Grandmothers Tree [artwork].  News from Native California, 34(1), back cover.

Napoli, M. (2019). Ethical contemporary art therapy: Honoring an American Indian perspective. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 36(4).

Napoli, M. (2019). Indigenous methodology: An ethical systems approach to arts-based work with Native communities in the U.S. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 64, 77-83.

Napoli, M., & Kirby, M. (2019). Crafting the vulva quilt. In H. Mandell (Ed.), Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Anti-Trump Pussyhats,(Chapter 22). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

Potash, J. S., Bardot, H., Moon, C. H., Napoli, M., Lyonsmith, A. & Hamilton, M. (2017). Ethical implications of cross-cultural international art therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 56. 


* (S is underlined) 


D.A.T., Doctorate in Art Therapy, Mount Mary University

M.A., Art Therapy, Marylhurst University

B.S., Community Development- Applied Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT)

Board Certified Registered Art Therapist (ATR-BC)