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Traci Bitondo received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy from Caldwell University and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of the Cumberlands. She received the 2019 Edward Stroh LPC award from the New Jersey Counseling Association the 2022 Nancy Schoebel Legislative Service Award from AATA and was part of a research team that won the 2022 AATA Rawley Silver Research Award. She has been on the Board of Directors for the New Jersey since 2017 and has previously held the role of Programming cochair and Government Affairs Chair. Traci has presented at conferences internationally, nationally, and locally on a range of topics, including group counseling, treatment of trauma, art therapy with individuals with vision loss, and insurance billing and practice building for mental health clinicians. Currently, Traci owns and operates a counseling and art therapy private practice where she treats clients, provides supervision to counseling and art therapy students and new professionals, and consults professionals on practice building. She is also an Adjunct at Caldwell University and Cedar Crest College. She has past work experience with adults in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, as an art therapist with adults with vision loss, with children and families in crisis as an in-home counselor, and as a psychotherapist in an outpatient counseling center.


Deborah R. Douek, MS Ed, ATR-BC, LCAT, CCLS

Vice President 

Deborah  is a Board Certified Art Therapist and Certified Child Life Specialist. Deb received her Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Binghamton in studio art with a concentration in psychology and holds master’s degrees from Hofstra University in Art Therapy and from Touro College in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Deb has been an administrator and clinician for the past 15 years and is the Coordinator of Creative Arts Therapies in the Healing Arts Program at Atlantic Health System. She has a private art therapy practice in NJ.


Brian Tepper, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT, LPAT
Art therapist, art specialist, and sculptor


Brian Tepper is a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist and Supervisor, New York Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, and Certified Arts Specialist in the state of New Jersey. He is currently working in the Jersey City Public School System. He holds credentials as a Disaster Relief Crisis Counselor of NJ, Serves on AATA’s conference committee, and is a certified USSA ski race coach. Brian has served as a faculty supervisor in the School of Visual Arts Graduate Art Therapy Program in NYC for 5 years. In addition, he is a practicing artist, sculpting limestone, marble, clay, bronze, cement, and wood in addition to painting in oils. He has exhibited his art in several venues throughout New York City, Colorado, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. He participated in an International Sculpture symposium in Geochang, South Korea as well as presenting numerous workshops to various professionals at New York University, Art Educators of NJ, NJATA at Caldwell College, DVATA, The Jersey City Public School System, School of Visual Arts, Arkansas Board of Education and The American Art Therapy Association.


BRandon Colle, MA, ATR-P


Brandon Colle recently graduated from Caldwell University and earned his Master of Arts graduate degree in counseling with a specialization in art therapy in 2023. In 2018, Brandon received his undergraduate degree from Rowan University majoring in psychology with an art minor. Brandon is currently working full-time as a counselor assistant at High Focus Treatment Centers serving adults and adolescents with mental health and substance use disorders. Contributed to various research projects including autism and art therapy, utilization of supervision in novice counselors, and digital art therapy. He has also served on the board as a student liaison and has previous work experience working in school settings with early school-aged children on the autism spectrum.


Meghan McQuaide, MA, LPAT, ATR-BC

Programming Co-Chair

Meghan McQuaide finished her undergraduate degree at Rutgers College double majoring in art history and psychology. Continuing her studies of Clinical Art Therapy at CW Post, LIU graduating 2004.  Initially working with children with ADHD and Autism Spectrum building social skills and confidence. Then moving to Adult clients working in inpatient and partial hospital settings, providing art therapy, recreation and case management services. Now working for the state of New Jersey at Greystone Park Psychiatric hospital as a Therapist of Art. Meghan has been on the board as a programming chair since 2015.

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Open Position!

Programming Co-Chair

NJATA is currently looking for a Programming Co-chair to join our board of directors! The Programming Co-chairs work closely together to plan trainings and workshops, and other programs for NJATA members. If you are interested in joining the board of directors, please contact us by email by clicking here.


Aline filipe, MPS, LPAT, LCAT, atR-BC


Aline is a board certified and licensed art therapist, who completed her undergraduate degree at Pace University in 2016, with a double major in psychology and art, and her graduate degree at the School of Visual Arts in 2018, in art therapy. She completed her first year internship at Barnabas Behavior Health in Toms River, NJ, and her second year internship at the PALS program at Women Aware, the Middlesex County Domestic Violence Agency, where she transitioned to a full time creative arts therapist. Aline currently works at Sanctuary for Families in New York City, working with victims and survivors of gender based violence as a counselor, and with the Creative Communicators team in their yearly summer program, providing support to children, teens, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities as they write and perform an original show. Aline has been a part of the NJATA board since 2017, previously holding the Student Liaison and Governmental Affairs Chairperson positions.


Dawn Ippoliti, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, LPAT

Government Affairs Co-chair

Dawn is a registered and board certified, art therapist. She is a New York
Licensed Creative Art Therapist and a New Jersey Licensed Professional Art
Therapist. She received her masters in art therapy from New York University and
her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University, where she
studied art and psychology. Dawn has twenty years of experience working with
children and families in a variety of clinical settings and institutions to address
issues relating to adolescence development, family crisis, anxiety,
depression, and complex trauma. Over the past 13 years, Dawn has owned
and operated a private practice in both Manhattan, New York, and more recently
Westfield, New Jersey. Additionally, she facilitates the art therapy groups at
Stepping Forward Counseling Center in Chatham, New Jersey for their partial
care and intensive out-patient programs. Dawn also works supervising and
training school art therapist and graduate interns for New York University Art
Therapy in the Schools Program. Dawn has previous experience working with
victims of domestic violence and in-home base preventive services for families in
transition. Dawn has presented at regional and national conferences, which
included topics on: Using art to foster “Social Emotional Learning” in the
classroom, the efficacy of art therapy in the public schools to increase self-
esteem, affect regulation and impulse control, and art therapy as an effective
intervention for trauma and recovery. 


Elissa Arbeitman, MA, ATR-BC, LPAT, LCAT, ATCS

Government Affairs Co-chair

Elissa earned a BFA in Graphic Design from The University of Michigan, holds a Masters degree in Art Therapy from New York University, is a Registered, Board-Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC), is an Art Therapy Credentialed Supervisor (ATCS) by the Art Therapy Credentials Board, a Licensed Professional Art Therapist (LPAT) by the State of New Jersey, and a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) by the State of New York.

From 2003-2007, she developed and implemented Art Therapy programs throughout Bergen County's Division of Family Guidance, Special Services School District, and YCS's PALS program for Domestic Violence. In 2007, she opened her private practice, Higher Art, where she specialized in helping children and their families address issues related to anxiety, depression, self-esteem, trauma and loss. In 2018, she opened Wild and Free Painting, and now facilitates self-care and personal growth groups and workshops through Process Painting. She also offers individual art therapy sessions and individual supervision for new graduates and professionals.

She served on the NJATA Board from 2008-2010 as Program Chair and is excited to be back as Co-Chair for the GAC!

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Joanna Flora MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, LPAT

Public Relations Chair

Joanna is a Licensed Art Therapist and Supervisor, with a wealth of experience and knowledge working with children & families. Joanna received her undergraduate degree in Behavioral Science & Studio Art from Drew University, as well as a Masters in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute. She is also a lifelong learner, currently continuing her education at the Academy of Applied Psychoanalysis.

Joanna has a deep understanding of diverse communities, who has gained significant knowledge through her experiences working with populations of different ethnicities,

socio-economic backgrounds, and ages. She is known for her innovative and specialized treatment plans, specifically tailored to best meet the needs of each individual client. She has also grown her private practice into a group practice to better serve the needs of the families she works with. 

Joanna works tirelessly to support her community by developing and presenting educational trainings, speaking at key forums, and participating in community events.

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Open Position!

Student Liaison co-Chair

NJATA is currently looking for two Student Liaison Co-chairs to join our board of directors!

The Student Liaison Co-chairs are active students working towards their Creative Arts Therapy degrees. Students can be studying at schools in-state or out, and do not have to attend the same school. The Student Liaison Co-chairs work together to connect with other art therapy programs and students in the area, and work with the board on setting up events, advocating for art therapy, among other responsibilities.

If you are interested in joining the board of directors as a Student Liaison, or have a student in mind that may be interested, please contact us by email by clicking here.

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Open Position!

Student Liaison co-Chair


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