text only
Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Institutional Header

Teacher Scholar Showcase Logo

The distinctive character of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is defined by the faculty's demonstrated capability to fulfill the values of the Teacher Scholar Philosophy; a philosophy guided by a serious and continuing commitment to teaching, scholarship and service in the belief that scholarship complements and enriches excellence in teaching and service.

Adapted from the Teacher Scholar Philosophy of SIUE, Teacher Scholar Philosophy Working Group, 6/2/08

Dr. P. Gussie Klorer

Professor; Director Graduate Art Therapy Counseling Program, Department of Art and Design

Research Focus:
Art Therapy with foster children with abuse histories and attachment disorders.

Gussie Klorer

Recent Honors / Awards / Recognition:

2001 Clinician’s Award, American Art Therapy Association

Fall 06 Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award through CAS, SIUE

Primary Courses Taught:

Assessment of Individuals and Families

Practicum in Art Therapy Counseling

Art Therapy with Children and Adolescents


M.A., Art Therapy, George Washington University

Ph.D., Union Institute and University

How does SIUE support your professional growth or activity as a Teacher-Scholar?
The American Art Therapy Association requires that at least 50% of faculty teaching in graduate art therapy programs must be practicing art therapists.  SIUE has always supported this concept.  In a clinically based program, such as the Art Therapy Counseling program, the students begin working out in the field from their first semester.  It makes good sense for faculty to model this same commitment to practice so that they don’t become just theoreticians.

My teaching philosophy has focused on creating a seamless connection between research, community service through clinical work, and teaching.  My clinical practice is the pivotal point of my research, from which my book, journal articles and book chapters have all emerged.  Research and practice are brought into the classroom through video excerpts of client sessions (when proper release forms can be obtained, which can sometimes take years).  In this way students see the human side of clinical work, and they have an opportunity to see how research questions emerge from practice."

What is a unique aspect of your professional life that enhances your service to the academic or greater community?
"My work with abused children enhances my service to the community by helping children in foster care learn to trust their foster or pre-adoptive families.  The children I see have severe maltreatment histories.  These children cannot talk about what happened for a myriad of reasons too complex to articulate here.  When a child metaphorically expresses pain and fear and lack of trust, we can begin a language of non-verbal communication through art. This work enhances the academic and professional arenas where I present the results of my research.  It enhances my teaching when I bring these cases into the classroom so that students can see first hand the power of art therapy, and begin to learn how to decipher children’s messages in art.  Only in a university setting can such a complete circle be made between service to the community, research, and teaching."

How has one mentor or event shaped your career decision to become a university professor?
"Joe Weber, Professor Emeritus at SIUE, conceived of the idea for an art therapy program at SIUE over 20 years ago when he was the head of the Art Education program.  Professor Weber asked me to apply for the first full-time Director’s position in 1990.  I did not think I wanted the job because I loved my clinical work as the Adjunct Treatment Coordinator in a residential treatment center for abused children and I didn’t want to stop being an art therapist to be a professor.  Professor Weber assured me that it would be possible to combine a small practice, research, and teaching.  That first year I think I wore the carpeting down in a path to his office!"
The 'e'