Month: February 2021

“Puppetry in Therapy” with Matthew Bernier and Sandra Chafouleas on 2/18 at 7 p.m.

For its first online installment of the 2021 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will host “Puppetry in Therapy” with noted therapist and puppeteer Matthew Bernier and psychologist and UConn professor Dr. Sandra Chafouleas on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. ET. This forum will take place on Facebook Live ( and will be available afterwards on Facebook and the Ballard Institute YouTube Channel ( 

Join Bernier and Chafouleas in a revealing discussion about puppetry’s long-standing role in therapeutic practices. What is therapeutic puppetry, and who practices it? What kinds of puppets and puppetry are used in therapeutic puppetry? Who can benefit from puppetry therapy, both within and outside clinical contexts? This puppet forum will explore a little-known but fascinating aspect of contemporary puppetry that benefits thousands around the world. This forum is co-sponsored by the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. 

Dr. Sandra M. Chafouleas is a licensed psychologist and works as a Distinguished Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. She directs the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH), and authors a Psychology Today blog on promoting student well-being. Her work focuses on assisting schools in implementation of evidence-informed policies and practices that support the whole child, with specific expertise in strategies to strengthen mental health and emotional well-being. Dr. Chafouleas is a fellow in both the American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science. Prior to becoming a university trainer, Dr. Chafouleas worked as a school psychologist and administrator in a variety of settings supporting the needs of children with behavior disorders.

Matthew G. Bernier, MCAT, ATR-BC is a registered and board-certified art therapist, artist, puppeteer, and Associate Professor in the Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he has taught since 1990.  He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in theater arts.  He has a master’s degree in creative arts in therapy from Hahnemann University (now Drexel) and is pursuing a PhD in expressive arts therapy and social change at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. His expertise is in the areas of psychological development theories, therapeutic art processes, the Expressive Therapies Continuum, creativity/symbolism/metaphor, art psychotherapy theoretical approaches, and therapeutic puppetry.  He teaches internationally and is co-editor of Puppetry in Education and Therapy: Unlocking Doors to the Mind and Heart.

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