Lisa Mitchell

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The Art of Therapeutic Relationship


At a glance

An online course that teaches therapists to: Form effective therapeutic relationships with all clients, even the ones that feel most difficult through hands-on art making experiences!! CE’s:  12 units


Begins 1/19/18




Video lessons and demos, special art invitations + worksheets delivered to your inbox every week.

A weekly live Q+A call, with me + the whole group where you can share, connect, and feel supported to step into your full creative potential. (Call dates are: 1/26, 2/2, 2/16, 2/23 at 11-12PT, 2-3ET)

More questions? How Beyond Words Works.


Therapists, counselors, and social workers who want to deepen their ability to create change through strong therapeutic relationships.


Deepen your ability to foster the 4 fundamental elements of the therapeutic relationship—empathy, positive regard, congruence, and alliance—in your therapy practice, resulting in confidence to forge relationships with even your most difficult clients.


Full price reg: $259



One of the hardest things about being a therapist is the feeling of being ineffective. When we feel ineffective we take it very hard. We doubt ourselves. We judge ourselves. We sometimes even question our career choice. It’s in our nature, in our calling, to make a difference and to help. But when we are up against ineffectiveness it messes with our confidence and our ability to be with the clients that most need us.

Many therapists I’ve worked with have shared the rawness of their professional self-doubt and lack of confidence. Even if they are doing great work with many of their clients, that one difficult client relationship spawns dread, uncertainty, and a cascade of critical self-talk.

This is lousy.

It’s frustrating.

And it doesn’t benefit our clients.

It used to be that I thought getting more training and learning new techniques would lead to feeling more effective with my clients. I got certified and I consulted and I honed my skills. But still in those ineffective moments, professional self-doubt would surround me until my confidence and trust in the process was just dangling by a thread. It’s a vicious cycle that I’ve seen so many therapists caught in.

New technique and methodologies are great. It’s crucial that we stay up to date and knowledgeable and that we refine our skills throughout our careers. BUT—these techniques and methods need context in order to be effective. Without emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, therapy will not BE effective and therapists will not FEEL effective.

It is NOT the technique that the therapist uses…..

NOT the years of experience…..

NOT the theoretical approach…..

Effectiveness all boils down to….the therapeutic relationship.

Research also tells us that there is so much more to the therapeutic relationship than good rapport. When I did a thorough literature search I was so inspired that I decided to create a course dedicated to teaching therapists and mental health professionals about therapeutic relationship.

Going Beyond Words: The Art of Therapeutic Relationship is an experiential online course that teaches you how to create a powerful foundation for change in your work with clients. It gives you the confidence to forge effective therapeutic relationships with even your most difficult clients. And, you get to do all of your learning from the inside out—through art and creative expression.

This course is the result of many hours of reading the literature and gleaning research results. I took what I learned and carefully designed 4 beautiful art invitations to help you learn and practice the 4 most essential elements of the therapeutic relationship. You could read a basic counseling book to refresh your memory of establishing good rapport, but you would only be scratching the surface.  Instead, in Going Beyond Words, you will be exploring these essential elements in your art–hands-on creative activities that are fun and experiential!  This is the kind of learning that goes deep and sticks!

Going Beyond Words: The Art of Therapeutic Relationship next start date 1/19/18. Each week for 4 weeks you learn about one of the essential elements of the therapeutic relationship.

Each week involves 3 steps:

1. Listen:

First, I will teach you, in a recorded video, what the masters tell us about each of the 4 essential elements of the therapeutic relationship. You get to hear case studies and stories that enrich your understanding of these elements. There’s new information and old information—all put together in a great little package.

2. Create

Second, I will show you a hands on altered book technique that is specially designed to help you explore the essential element of the week. Don’t worry, even before we start, you get full length tutorials on choosing and preparing your altered book! When you try these techniques in your own altered book you will go from knowing each week’s element to embodying each week’s element with your art. It’s a wonderful and interesting way to bring more focus and understanding to these elements of the therapeutic relationship. And, since these elements really go beyond words into experience, senses, and emotion your art will solidify your learning in an incredibly efficient way.

3. Share

Third, I will invite you to join others on a live conference call (which will be recorded if you miss it) to share. These calls are hallmarks of the InnerCanvas community because folks who join my courses are beautifully expressive and share from their hearts. We therapists don’t often get to share at this level. It is truly inspiring, nurturing, and renewing.  Calls are from 11-12 PT/2-3ET on Fridays (1/26/18, 2/2/18, 2/16/18, 2/23/18).  They will be recorded if you are unable to attend live.

Sure you get 12 CE’s for all of this creative work, but consider the other wonderful benefits. With the art making component, this course is part self-care, part personal growth and part creative inspiration.

Going Beyond Words will help you experience deeper connections with your clients. You will feel more present in sessions and come away with a sense of validation for your hard work. You will trust that you can bring even more of yourself to your work which will help you forge the necessary foundation for effective therapy.

Here are some more details:

The online platform is very easy and convenient. You can view the videos and make the art at your convenience. (Some participants wait until late at night when the house is totally quiet and end up relishing their creative alone time.)

I’m not the techy type, but I found your classroom to be so easy to follow. The best thing for me, was to be able to do the art assignments on my own time and at my own pace. I found that I treasured my learning time more than usual because of this flexibility.

Sue Miller

The calls are live and surprisingly intimate. We meet on 4 Thursdays at 11:00-12:00 Pacific via a conference call that is lovingly facilitated by Lisa Mitchell. If you can’t attend live, the recordings are available and there is plenty of interaction with Lisa and the others in the online classroom.

I feel so enriched by this conversation and art and learning and honesty and vulnerability. Thank you one and all.

Sylma Fine

The art activities are suitable for all levels of art experience. You art will be uniquely individual and celebrated for its expressive quality (not its gallery worthiness!). The videos walk you through each art activity step-by-step. All the while, Lisa lets you know that’s impossible to do it wrong.

I think the biggest hurdle was the art materials themselves, and having the demonstrations before each session calmed my nerves. I see my first efforts as being like a preschooler with finger paint, and as I continued more ideas and intention set in. I can safely say that I feel much more confident in inviting my clients to dip their brushes into the journey, as well. Thank you Lisa!

Mary Hillard

Here’s what others have to say about their experiences with the online program:

Reinforcing of the basic elements of the therapeutic relationship in this experiential and creative way adds a whole other dimension. I feel like I have internalized the therapeutic relationship differently and now I’m bringing this into my supervision sessions in a new way. It is very powerful and inspiring.

Dayna Guido, LCSW

This course was so validating. I found that the more I’m myself as a therapist the better I am. Now I know it’s the quirky things about me that make it easier to establish a connection with clients. Going into depth about these connections helped me go from knowing this on the surface to really getting it deep down.

Kendra McGivney

Your exercises in bringing in visual ways we “see” and “connect” with our clients was so helpful. Even after the course, I find those images come up for me, and that has been comforting and affirming. Sharing this experience with other therapists was enlightening and has deepened my experience.

Traci Gunn, MFT

Actually engaging in this process–the cutting, folding, pasting, and painting has helped me to integrate concepts like empathy into by body. For example, I feel present usually, but the art brought in something new, it’s enhanced. I feel so lucky to have a different way of accessing such powerful concepts into my work!

Sonia Diaz-Ebadi, MFT

Finding beauty in darkness and joy out of pain is something as a therapist I do constantly.  It was interesting to do it visually and symbolically.  It made what I do on a daily basis more tangible.

Liz Baxt, MFT


Therapists will gain theoretical knowledge about the therapeutic relationship and what it requires to cultivate success in their work with clients.

Therapists will utilize creative expression to a felt sense experience of the basic elements that the therapeutic relationship requires—beyond words.

Therapists will practice hands-on implementation of each of the basic elements and share their reflections in group teaching format.


Workshop attendees will be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss 4 basic elements of an effective therapeutic relationship.
  2. Utilize non-verbal art activities to identify and increase relationship building strengths.
  3. Create art representations to broaden understanding of empathy, positive regard, and congruence in the clinical setting.


Course lasts for 4 weeks.  Each week consists of the following:

  • One .5 hour video lecture (self study)
  • One .5 hour art invitation with journaling prompts (self study)
  • One 1 hour art activity as home study (1 hour allotted)
  • One 1 hour live call
    Total for each week: 3 hours combined self study and live discussion

Total for course:  12 hours.

Still have questions?  Here’s more information and answers to your important questions!


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