About


Serena Appel, MA ~ Biography

Early College/Alumnus- School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL 
BFA- Columbia College, Chicago, IL 
MA Art Therapy/Counseling Psychology- Marylhurst University, Portland, Oregon 

Fine Art and Craft exhibition and sales, curation of other artists for vending at local events, Event Organizer for local independent poetry and music events- Chicago, IL

About 6 years of combined work in Direct Care/Support Services to adults with disabilities and co-occurring mental health issues- various agencies- Portland, OR

Providence Elderplace in Laurelhurst- Academic Internship: Design and implementation of on-site Art Therapy program & public art exhibit for frail elders at a medical-assisted day center. Portland, OR

Protocall Services, Inc- EAP Counseling screenings and after-hours crisis line counseling for multiple agencies nationwide. - Portland, OR 

Lifeworks Northwest- Dual Diagnosis Adult Outpatient & Intensive Outpatient Therapy, Trauma Recovery group, assessments and triage, care coordination. -Portland, OR

A Better Way Counseling Center- Individual Teen & Adult Outpatient Therapy focusing on evaluation, support and coordination of care for clients with Eating Disordered issues. Led Eating Disorder Art Therapy Support Group. Assisted with marketing and outreach efforts. - Portland, OR

Philosophy & Approach

I believe each of us has an innate ability for self-healing, balance and well-being. 
The art & science of psychotherapy can assist you in discovering and resolving blocks to this natural ability, supporting your efforts in making constructive changes, examining & evaluating life choices, learning new skills and strategies, and more.  

I will work with you to help identify what is most meaningful to you in life,
exploring ways to increase your well-being and life satisfaction. 

My treatment methods combine best-practice theories, techniques, and practices that aim to address both short-and long-term issues. These may include (but are not limited to):


  • Art Therapy/Art & Healing
  • Cognitive-Behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical-Behavior Therapy-informed theory & practice
  • Mindfulness or Mind-Body-based theory & practices
  • Brief Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Trauma-Informed theory & practices
  • Motivational Interviewing 

I believe in taking an approach to mental health assessment, treatment, referral & insurance/payment that's transparent and easy for you to understand. I strive to offer all of my clients & their families a friendly, compassionate, ethical, non-judgemental, safe space in which to do the challenging work of personal growth & healing. That said, I also attempt to serve as a role model when it comes to being clear & open about things like personal boundaries, assertiveness, direct communication, and examining our mutual assumptions- as this is often much of where the vital "material" for effective work in treatment comes from. I know you'll be expecting a lot out of me as a health care professional- so I expect that when you come to visit me, you're ready and willing to go to work on yourself!

While there are limitations to my scope of practice, based on my experience, training, personality and work style, I am open to working with, people from any background, race, class, ethnicity, belief system, gender/sexual identity or orientation, etc. No matter who you happen to be, my primary focus is on creating a "good fit" for our working relationship. I love to learn from others, as much as I love to guide and teach, and I'm always interested in knowing more about the people and situations around me in the world. Let us learn well from each other.