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Mitchell Kossak

Professor/Coordinator of Expressive Therapies

Mitchell Kossak

Dr. Mitchell Kossak, LMHC, REAT is a professor in the Department of Graduate Expressive Therapies at Lesley University. He served as Department Chair from 2006 to 2013. He has been the President and Executive Co-Chair for the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) since 2010. He has been a licensed mental health counselor, since 1994, and is a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT).

He is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health and Co-Chair of the Institute for Arts and Health at Lesley University. His clinical work combines expressive arts therapies with body-centered approaches with a variety of populations addressing issues such as chronic pain, recovery from trauma, depression, anxiety, life transitions and relationships. In addition he has worked extensively with autistic children and adults.

Mitchell has trained in a variety of mind body modalities including Polarity Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue Massage and Bioenergetics. In Expressive Arts Therapies he has training in music therapy, experimental theater, psychodrama, and authentic movement. He studied Sound Healing with innovators in the field of sacred sound and transformation of consciousness, such as Dr. John Beaulieu author of Music and Sound in the Healing Arts and Silvia Nakkach director of the Vox Mundi Project. In addition to this training, he has studied and practiced energy based healing forms such as Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Vipassana meditation, and Iyengar yoga for over 30 years.

He earned his doctorate from the Union Institute and University in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy and transpersonal psychology. He has written about and presented his research on rhythmic attunement, improvisation, psychospiritual and community-based approaches to working with trauma and embodied states of consciousness at conferences nationally and internationally. He is the author of Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy:  Toward an Understanding of Embodied Empathy. He is the Associate Editor of The Journal of Applied Arts and Health and Co-Chair of the Institute for Arts and Health at Lesley University. 

Mitchell Kossak is also a professional musician, performing for the past 30 years in the Boston area.

Scholarship

GUEST LECTURER

Arts Communication Lab, Kobe, Japan, online training counselors and artists. (March 2021)

Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DiF), (the equivalent of the National Association for the Protection of Children) (September – November 2020). 10-week training for social workers and caseworkers: Artistic strategies as a tool for working with children and adolescents who have experienced psycho-emotional trauma.

St. Xavier's (Autonomous) College, Mumbai, India (September 2020, April 2021). Online training for expressive arts therapy students.

Beijing Apollo Education and Consulting Institute, (March 2019). Four-day training for therapists, educators, and artists.

Institute for Modern Psychotherapy, Wuhan, China (March 2018). Five-day training for therapists, educators, and artists.

Daegu Catholic University, Daegu South Korea (November 2017). Three-day training for therapists, educators, and artists.

Art Therapy Research Center of Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan China, Distinguished Guest Professor, (June 2017).

The Consulting Center of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan China (June 2016, June 2017). Training for counselors and artists.

Gachon University, Seoul Korea (April 2016). Four-day teaching for therapists, artists, health workers and clergy.

Expressive Arts Florida Institute, Sarasota, Florida (January 2015, March 2017, September 2020). Training for therapists, artists, health workers.

TAE Peru Institute for Expressive Arts, Lima Peru (November 2014). Three-day training for therapists, artists, health workers.

Mt. Mary College. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (February 2010, September 2011). Weekend course on basic principles of Expressive Therapies to master’s level art therapy students and guest lecturer Orientation weekend.

CONFERENCES AND PRESENTATIONS

April 2021, 12th Annual Conference, Institute for Arts and Health, Lesley University: Celebrating the National and International Impact of the Integration of the Arts Within the Intersection of Health, Education and Therapy. (co-host and moderator).

March 2021, The Pocket Project: a global initiative that aims to restore the fragmentation in individuals, communities, and societies by addressing and supporting the integration of collective and intergenerational trauma.

October 2020, Florida Institute for Expressive Arts, Living with Uncertainty: Utilizing Expressive Arts for Trauma, Resiliency, and Attunement.

June 2020, International Association of Creative Arts Somatic Education Global Connection Webinar: International Conversation on Arts and Trauma: From Deconstruction to Reconstruction through Covid-19. From Harmony to Hope:  Musical Reflections with Mitchell Kossak, piano and Stan Strickland, saxophone and flute.

May 2020, Boston Arts Consortium for Health (BACH) online symposium: BACH for Healing: a collection of artful mini-talks. Piano reflections on Chick Corea’s Crystal Silence.

August 2019, Keynote: Bridging the Past, Present, and Future: Applied Arts and Health Theory, Practice and Research. International Conference, Building Bridges, Building Bridges’ in Applied Arts & Health, Education and Community Conference, University of Wolverhampton, England.

August 2019, The Arts and Global Health – Masterclass Workshop. International Conference, Building Bridges, Building Bridges’ in Applied Arts & Health, Education and Community Conference, University of Wolverhampton, England.

March 2019, Assessment in Expressive Therapies: Bridging Clinical, Creative, and Cultural Approaches, Apollo Conference – Arts in Assessment, Beijing, China.

October 2018Rhythmic Attunement: Attachment, Embodied Empathy, and Interpersonal Neurobiology, Expressive Therapies Summit, New York, NY.

July 2018, Connecting Body Mind and Spirit through Music, Southern Vermont Music Therapy Organization & Brattleboro Music Center, Brattleboro, VT.

November 2017, Arts Connect International, Music Performance/ Accompaniment, Hyppolite Ntigurirwa a Rwanda survivor of genocide reading excerpts from his one-man play at Tufts Hillel Center.

October 2017, Rhythmic Attunement: Alignment with the Heartbeat Pulsing at the Center of the Universe, International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, Winnipeg, Canada.

October 2017,  Panel Moderator: Arts and the Brain: A Symposium on the Healing Power of the Arts, Seven Hills Foundation, Worcester Art Museum, and Lesley University Institute for Arts and Health.

April 2017, Musical accompaniment performance ‘Refugees’. Responding to collective Anxiety and Building Community Resilience: 8th Annual Arts in Healthcare Conference, Lesley University.

March 2016, Day of Scholars, Lesley University, Interdisciplinary Musings: From “Suffering” towards ‘Health” – Understanding Freud and Jung’s contributions to Counseling Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy.

November 2016, Panel: “Humanities, Healing, Arts & Medicine,” a workshop at the 2nd Annual Symposium for Cultural Inclusion, UMass Boston.

October 2016, “Rhythm: The Heartbeat of Life,” Keynote and pre-conference workshop. 2nd Latin American Symposium, International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

April 2016, “Expressive Arts Therapy: Trauma, Resiliency and Attunement,” Keynote and workshop. William James College, Needham, MA.

November 2015, “Rhythmic Attunement: An Expressive Arts Therapy approach to working with individual and collective trauma,” Expressive Therapies Summit, NYC.

November 2015, “Recognition as a Pioneer in the Field” (workshop and presentation), International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, Hong Kong.

October 2015, “5-Element Theory in Expressive Arts Therapy Practice:  Attunement to the Tao,” International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, Hong Kong.

October 2014, “5-Element Theory in Expressive Arts Therapy Practice,” Expressive Therapies Summit, NYC.

May 2014, “Introduction to Arts in Hospital,” Ermeni Hospital, France Lape Hospital, John Hopkins Anadolu Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.

April 2014, “Remembering Rwanda” 5th Annual Arts and Healthcare conference "Arts and Global Health: Art, Memory, and Testimony in the Aftermath of Trauma", Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

March 2014Keynote speaker 1st Latin American Regional Symposium “Weaving The Americas Tejiendo las Americas,” Guatemala.

December 2013, “RESILIENCE WORKSHOP” Co-hosted by the Mission Institute and the B-PEACE Initiative of the Episcopal Church, Mattapan, MA.

November 2013, “Rhythm and Resonance in Clinical Practice” Expressive Therapies Summit, NYC.

October 2013, “Rhythm and Resonance in Clinical Practice,” Expressive Arts Therapies in Mental Health Service, New Life Institute of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Hospital, Hong Kong, China.

May 2013, “When Words Are Not Enough, Response to Boston Marathon Bombing”, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston, MA.

March 2013, “Arts-Based Research”, International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference, Expressive Arts in the Winds of Change, Berkeley California.

August 2011, “Improvisational Arts: Playing with Uncertainty” International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference, Living with Uncertainty:  Multiplicity as a healing pathway through expressive arts, Lima, Peru.

March 2011, “Rhythmic Attunement: A Psycho-spiritual approach to working with Trauma” Trauma & Spirituality Conference: An International Dialogue Belfast, Northern Ireland.

August 2011, “Improvisational arts: Playing with uncertainty” International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference, Living with Uncertainty: Multiplicity as a healing pathway through expressive arts, Lima Peru.

PUBLICATIONS

Book

Kossak, M. (in press). Attunement in expressive arts: Toward an understanding of embodied empathy 2nd Edition. Springfield, IL: Charles Thomas Ltd.

Kossak, M. (2015). Attunement in expressive arts: Toward an understanding of embodied empathy. Springfield, IL: Charles Thomas Ltd.

Edited Book

Kossak, M., Prior, R. Fisher, T. (in press). Applied arts and health, education and community: Building bridges. London: Intellect.

Kossak, M., Schwartz, S., Speiser, V. (Eds.) (2012). Arts and Social Change: The Lesley University Experience in Israel. Zur Yigal, Israel: Porat Books.

Book Chapters

Kossak, M., Ramirez, K. Mageary, J.  (in press). Voces Arts and Healing, Working on the U.S.–Mexico border with asylum seekers. In Scarce, J. (Ed.), Art Therapy in Response to Natural Disasters, Mass Violence and Crisis. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Kossak, M. (in press). Bridging past, present and future: What if there were no art? In Kossak, M., Prior, R. Fisher, T. (Eds.). Applied arts and health, education and community: Building bridges. London: Intellect.

Kossak, M. (in press). Attunement in Expressive Arts: Attachment, rhythm, resonance and embodied empathy. In (Malchiodi, C. (Ed.) Expressive Therapies. New York:  Guilford Press.

Kossak, M. (2019). A different way of knowing: Assessment and feedback in art-based research.  In Prior, R. (Ed). Using Art as Research in Learning & Teaching: Multidisciplinary approaches across the arts.  London: Intellect.

Kossak, M. (2014). Arts-Based inquiry: It’s what we do. In McNiff, S. (Ed.), Art as research:  Challenges and Opportunities (pp. 19-28).  Bristol, England: Intellect.

Kossak, M. (2013).  Teaching counseling in foreign cultures: A diverse landscape. In Fritchle, M.& Maller, D. (Eds.). The Praeger handbook of community mental health practice: Working in the global community, (Volume 3 pp. 169-184). Santa Barbara, California: Praeger.

Kossak, M., Sussman, A. (2011). The Wisdom of the inner life: Meeting oneself through meditation and music. In Tisdell, E., Swartz, A. (Eds.), Wisdom and Adult Education. San Francisco, CA: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

Articles

Kossak, M. (2019).  Interview Naj Wikoff. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 10(2).

Kossak, M. (2019). Interview Vivien Marcow-Speiser. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 10(1).

Kossak, M. (2012). Arts-Based inquiry: It’s what we do! Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 3(1), 21-29.

Editor Special Journal Issue

Kossak, M., Kalmanowitz, D., Schwartz, S. Speiser, V. (2018). Arts-based disaster relief: An overview of psychosocial responses and practices, Special Issue Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 9(2), London: Intellect.

Kossak, M. (ed.). (2016).  Responding to individual and collective traumatic events Special Issue Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 7(2), London: Intellect.

Editorials

Kossak, M. (2019). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 10(2).

Kossak, M., Kalmanowitz, D. Schwartz, S., Speiser, V. (2018). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 9(2).

Kossak, M. (2018). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 9(1).

Kossak, M. (2017). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 8(1).

Kossak, M. (2016). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 6(3), 241-246.

Kossak, M. (2015). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 5(2), 299-302.

Kossak, M. (2013). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 4(2), 129-131.

Kossak, M. (2012). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 3(2), 199-216.

Kossak, M. (2011). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 2(2), 197-198.

Reviews

Kossak, M. (2017). 8th Annual Arts and Health Conference, Lesley University, Responding to collective anxiety and building community resilience, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 8(2).

Kossak, M. (2013). 10th International conference of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, ‘Expressive Arts in the Winds of Change’, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA, 14-17 March 2013. Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 227-228.

Kossak, M. (2011).  Arts in Healthcare conference series:  Violence prevention in schools and communities.  Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 2(2), 197-198.

Reviewer

Lee, J., Rollins, J., Sonke, J. (Eds.), (2019). Creativity and Health: An Evidence-Based Guide to Practice in Arts in Health. London, UK, Routledge.

Goodill, S., Nolan, P. (2011). Creative and expressive therapies.  In Micozzi, M. (Ed.).  Fundamentals of complementary and alternative medicine. 4th edition.  St. Louis, MO:  Elsevier.

Professional Associations and Credentials

  • International Expressive Arts Therapies Association (IEATA) (1995-present), President/Executive Co-Chair (2010-2016)
  • American Mental Health Counselor Association (1997-present)
  • Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association (1985-present)
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor - LMHC (1985-present)
  • Registered Expressive Arts Therapist – REAT (2009-present)

Education

PhD Union Institute
MA, Lesley University
BA, Alfred University.  

Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT)

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

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