Mitchell Kossak

Associate Professor of Expressive Therapies

Mitchell Kossak

Mitchell Kossak Ph.D., LMHC, REAT is an associate professor in the Expressive Therapies department at Lesley University. He served as Division Director from 2006-2013. 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.

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

Scholarship

Guest Lecturer
The Consulting Center of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan China (June, 2016) – Three-day teaching 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) – One-day training for therapists, artists, health workers.

TAE Peru Institute for Expressive Arts (November, 2014) – Three days training for therapists, artists, health workers

Mt. Mary College (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

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 2014. Keynote 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 Psychospiritual approach to working with Trauma” Trauma & Spirituality Conference: An International Dialogue, − Belfast, Northern Ireland.

November 2011 “Rhythmic Attunement: An Expressive Arts approach to working with Trauma” Expressive Therapies Summit, NYC.

October 2011 “Therapeutic Attunement” Massachusetts Music Therapy Alliance, Weston, MA.

November 2010 “Arts and Social Action: Creating Peace Arts Zones in the Community,” Expressive Therapies Summit, NYC.

October 2010 “Arts and Social Action: Creating Peace Arts Zones in the Community,” Boston Arts and Health Consortium (BACH). This presentation focuses on two recent projects that took place in Boston, Massachusetts and Netanya, Israel creating Peace Arts Zones with adolescents. Peace-Arts Zones are defined as a personal vision and action plan to create a healthy and safe community.

September 2010 Panel, “The Saddest Music Ever Written” with author Thomas Larson. PEN New England, Marran Theater, Lesley University. Panel discussion with author on the effect of music on emotion and culture.

May 2010 Cloud Foundation, and the Idea Translation Lab at Cloud Place, an artistic learning and creation environment for Boston high school students, in support of the Boston 100K ArtScience Innovation Prize.

January 2010 “The Biology of Music Conference: The Effects of Music and Sound on the Human Physiome.” Sponsored by MIT. The relationship of sound, music and vibration on the body including physiological, neurological and emotional responses.

April 2009 “Imagine Harmony: Imagery, Rhythm and Healing” Lesley University Conference − Arts and Conflict Resolution.

April 2009 “The Peace Train Comes to Lesley,” An educational event sponsored by Lesley University, Seeds of Peace and Artsbridge working with Israeli and Palestinian youth.

October 2007 “Principles and Practices of Expressive Therapies,” Art Therapy Institute of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

May 2007 “Drumming up the divine somatic unconscious.” International Expressive Arts Therapies Association Conference, Boone North Carolina.

Recent Publications

Book

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

Kossak, M. (2013). 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.

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

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

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

Book Chapter: Kossak, M. (2009). The Birth of a new profession. Lesley Centennial Publication, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. 

Article: Kossak, M. (2009). Therapeutic attunement: A transpersonal view of expressive arts therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy. Elsevier Inc. 

Article: Kossak, M. (2009). Notes from the Field: Teaching in a time of War. Journal of Pedagogy and Pluralism, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.

Article: Kossak, M. (2008). Attunement and Free Jazz. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved from http://www.voices.no/mainissues/mi40008000271.php 

Book chapter: Kossak, M. (2007). Therapeutic Attunement. In N. Seki (Ed.), New Trend of Creative Arts Therapies (pp. 117-124). Tokyo: Filmart Publisher. 

Article: Kossak, M. (2007). If you can’t bring the students to the war then bring the war to the students. International Expressive Arts Therapies Newsletter, Fall. 

Editorials

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.
Kossak, M. (2010). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 1(2), 133-137.
Kossak, M. (2010). Editorial. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 1(2), 133-137.

Kossak, M., Speiser, V. (2009). The Lesley University Extension Program in Israel: teaching in a troubled land. Journal of Pedagogy and Pluralism, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.

Reviews

Kossak, M. (2010). Expressive arts and social action: Peace-ing our world together. August 12-15 2009. Journal of Applied Arts and Health. 1(2), 225-228.

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.

Research Associate 
2016. Art Therapy Research Center, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan , China

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

Ph.D., Union Institute
M.A., Lesley University
B.A., Alfred University.  

Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT)
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).