Creative Arts Therapist

position Description

This is a full-time position (35 hours per week). The Creative Arts Therapist will report to the Associate Executive Director. This position is based in Harlem, with city-wide travel to juvenile facilities (Brooklyn and the Bronx), Rikers Island, and YJN youth hubs. Some remote work possible.

Organization Overview

Youth Justice Network (YJN) was founded in 1990 to anchor, support and build capacity among young people released from jail in New York City. We break cycles of incarceration and promote an equitable justice system by providing young people with opportunities to grow, thrive, and lead.    We leverage authentic relationships and local resources so that young people can forge their pathways to wellbeing and positive development. 

Position Background and Description

Creative arts therapies enable young people to deal with negative experiences and trauma by offering an alternative way to express vulnerability.  YJN has created this position to integrate creative therapeutic arts into our services and advocacy on behalf of young people returning home from custody or otherwise involved in the justice system.  Integrating the arts into our day-to-day work with young people offers a non-invasive pathway to healing and mindfulness practices in a safe place.  It creates opportunity for us to connect, connect and engage.

We are seeking a compassionate, creative and energetic licensed practitioner who is moved by our mission and our youth members, and can incorporate therapeutic arts practices into our existing advocacy work.  We envision this new position to result in facilitating young peoples’ ability grow forward and thrive, by building prosocial behaviors, problem solving skills, better manage stress and stressors, and build healthy relationships. These in turn serve as a gateway to career and educational advancement, and sustained community engagement and positive relationships. 

Objectives of this Role

With broad discretion in creating arts-based sessions and programming, the Arts Therapist will work in partnership with direct services to establish proactive and intentional delivery of therapeutic arts benefits to YJN participants, both in and out of custody.  We are seeking a creative, compassionate, and energetic therapist to assess and provide individual and group therapies, and support crisis intervention needs as they arise.  These services would be offered in a non-traditional setting that focuses on using forms of art to engage young people in their ability to grow, thrive and lead.  The work will primarily be in-person with some remote work. Specific roles and responsibilities include:

Develop and integrate therapeutic arts into Youth Justice Network’s existing direct services and arts workshops:

  • In collaboration with program leadership and staff, establish approaches to integrate therapeutic arts (broadly defined) by providing safe space for young people to process their experiences and to develop healthier ways to manage feelings, while developing skills that can be applied to better managing stressors and conflict.
  • Work with agency staff to identify young people who would benefit from therapeutic services
  • Use screening and assessments tools to help young people create health and well-being plans for young people who are in community and in custody.

Support the needs of young, emerging adults by facilitating self-exploration, self-identity, and self-regulation:

  • Create arts-based individual and group therapies and therapeutic tools to allow young adults to access and articulate their feelings, experiences 
  • On an individualized basis, work with young people struggling to cope with difficult experiences and trauma, and offer ways to process and manage emotions
  • Offer a safe experience in therapeutic relationship

Host individual and group wellness sessions that promote healing and resiliency:

  • Hold consistent individual therapy space for young people
  • Develop curriculum and facilitate engaging groups
  • Use forms of art as a way to engage, assess, and provide space for growth

Collaborate with agency staff to promote trauma-informed practices and interventions:

  •  Provide guidance and support in how the agency provides therapeutic services
  • Develop a network of community mental health providers in the NYC to support ongoing therapeutic needs for young people with serious challenges.
  • Offer supports to staff colleagues to manage stressors derived from direct work with participants


  • Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Therapy required and relevant experience working with youth population; Licensed mental health counselor; social worker
  • NYS LCAT preferred but not required
  • Bilingual preferred but not required
  • At least 1 to 2 years of experience working with youth and/or young adults
  • Integrity, flexibility and a profound commitment to the youth we serve;
  • Committed to working collegially and in a team-based setting;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, cultural competence, and an understanding and belief in strengths-based youth development philosophy;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Skilled in meticulous documentation and an eye for detail; proficient in Microsoft Excel.
  • Physical ability to travel extensively throughout the five boroughs and Rikers via walking and public transportation.

Youth Justice Network is privileged to have a profoundly committed and caring staff – one which believes unconditionally in our youth members’ ability to do right and do well.  We take our work very seriously, but we strive to make time for self-care and joy.  We look for staff from all walks of life who have integrity, humor, a strong work ethic, are passionate about young people and committed to address the harms caused by mass incarceration. 

Salary Range:  $60,000 - $65,000

Benefits include competitive vacation/sick leave policy including 3 days off between Christmas and New Year’s; 4-day summer weeks July and August;  generous health insurance, 403b employer match.

Target Start Date: As soon as possible

Work Location: Hybrid/On-site/Some Remote possible  

Main Office: 63 W 125th St, 4th Floor, NY, NY 10027

Additional office locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Must be willing to go to Horizon and Crossroads Juvenile Detention Centers (Bronx and Brooklyn); as well as Rikers Island.

All employees must be fully vaccinated at time of hire.

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to:

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