Mental health professionals showcase their creativity in “Mirrors of the Mind”

By Kathy Leonardo

Terry Marks-Tarlow’s “Baby Bud” explores geometry, scale and emotion

It’s been said that the practice of psychotherapy can be as much of an art as it is a science. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many therapists are also talented artists.

“Mirrors of the Mind 7: The Psychotherapist as Artist,” the annual art show of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA), is a juried exhibition that invites doctors, therapists and students of psychology to submit visual artwork to rep the field and inspire their peers. This year’s show, opening Saturday (Nov. 24) with an evening of poetry and music, is the first to take place inside the expansive Santa Monica Art Studios.

Co-founder Terry Marks-Tarlow, a Santa Monica-based psychologist, encourages her patients to create some form of art.

“This helps develop both the safety to play and experiment, plus the vision necessary to imagine a positive future. It also keeps people exercising their flexibility of mind and body,” she explains.

In college, Marks-Tarlow had toyed with becoming a professional artist. She rediscovered her artistic talent organically while working on a book: She needed an illustration, so instead of commissioning it she created it. She continued drawing and branched out to painting, and now she exhibits her work in galleries.

For this year’s “Mirrors of the Mind,” Marks-Tarlow is exhibiting a painting called “Baby Bud,” which incorporates fractal geometry to explore concepts of scale. Also, “there is something tender and vulnerable about placing a baby on top of a delicate flower stem, first explored by the photographer Anne Geddes,” she adds.

The concept for “Mirrors of the Mind” was born eight years ago, when then-LACPA President Pamela J. McCrory suggested a show highlighting the talents of association members implementing art into their daily practice and to maintain their own well-being.

“I have the honor of watching artists who have participated each year develop their talents and express themselves in powerful ways that transcend language,” says McCrory, who has herself taken up art and hopes to contribute to future exhibitions.

“Art speaks a universal language and it levels out all degrees,” adds Marks-Tarlow.

“Mirrors of the Mind 7” opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at Santa Monica Art Studios (3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica) and remains on display through Dec. 1 from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Tickets are $10. Visit for more info.