An art therapist uses experiences with children to write The Smile Therapy for Adults – Hartford Courant

Lisa Barrett, who lives in Manchester and works in South Windsor, holds a copy of her recently published book, which is aimed at adults but contains tales from children.

SOUTH WINDSOR – Lisa Barrett, an art therapist who runs her practice, Touched By Art Therapy, LLC, in South Windsor, has brought her dream to fruition by publishing a book highlighting the real health benefits of smiling and laughing.

Using her experiences working with youth, Barrett’s book is aimed at adults who could use another method to deal with stress, depression, and other afflictions.

the book, Laughter, Wisdom, and Innocence: Surprising Quotes From KidsShe takes experiences and anecdotes from her years of working with children, and rehashes them in a way intended to lift the readers’ spirits.

“In 2019, I was just starting to learn about the feedback, and how kids can really say some really inspiring and endearing and funny things,” she said, adding that she started taking notes, and then sharing some anecdotes with other people in other settings.

“I always had the same response, which was just laughs,” she said. “I said, ‘You know, this really needs to be shared,’ because laughter in and of itself, smiling in and of itself, has a therapeutic way in your body chemistry. It produces serotonin, a feel-good chemical. It helps calm your nervous system.” Central, there are many ways to heal just by smiling, and this applies even when you force a smile, because the brain doesn’t know the difference.”

She also saw a great need for people during and after the pandemic.

“I really want to spread laughter to people, because we need it,” she said. “We need more of that all the time.”

She continued to add quotes to her arsenal, along with graphics that went with the scenarios. In 2021, I found an editor and started putting everything together.

“We made it happen in a very short period of time,” she said, adding that the recently published book took Best New Release honor within its first two weeks.

“I’ve been looking at some of the reviews, and people are getting the same response, and that’s the purpose of the book,” she said. “They’re smiling. They’re laughing out loud sometimes. They really enjoyed it.”

Their clients, as young as 4 years old, range from young adults to adults, but most of them are children and teens. She said that in addition to making people smile, she wanted the book to be an inspiration to anyone going through any kind of difficult time.

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“Among all the inner turmoil, children were able to enjoy these moments of clarity, wisdom, and joy — beyond what we find adults,” she said.

Readers of the book will see short quotes from children, divided into chapters for different ages, along with illustrations by Barrett herself.

“They can expect to smile at some of the quotes, and they may find themselves laughing out loud,” Barrett said. “Anyone who has kids, works with kids, or is just an adult would appreciate it.”

A graduate of St. Joseph’s College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Art Therapy, Barrett, who is based in Manchester, earned her MA at Springfield College, as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Art Therapist.

For the 3,000 clinical hours that were required before taking her state licensure exam, she worked in a psychiatric hospital, then worked in a supervised clinic before opening her own practice in 2019.

Through her career as a social worker and therapist, including in care facilities, Barrett became Director of Allied Therapies at The Stoneningtion Institute, directing all programs for healing through expressive approaches for the hospital’s developmental disabilities unit and its residential units as well.

Laughter, Wisdom, and Innocence: Surprising Quotes From Kids Available through Amazon. For more information, visit

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