“Creativity can be all kinds of things. It’s not always an art thing,” says Kaylee Burgess, SPARC Family Centered Treatment clinician. “For me, at work, it’s coming up with a new session plan to really break through with the family I’m working with. I’m not going to just hand someone a worksheet, that’s lame. I want to create something that provides an opportunity for all of us to see what systems a family has in place – what might be working and not working – and give them a chance to practice something in a new way to help create change that will last,” they explain.
Kaylee will have their creativity – the “art thing” kind – on full display at the 4th annual SPARC Creative Market on Saturday, April 22nd. This will be their second year selling at the Market. “Last year, it was great! I’d never done an official, ‘I’m going to set up my art and sell it’ before, so it was perfect. And it was really fun to see that people actually wanted my stuff!”, they say. Kaylee has always been crafty. They enjoyed drawing during childhood, which transformed into “doodling” their own tattoos in young adulthood, and now they’re burning designs into wood. Kaylee says, “I have ADHD so I’m really good at hopping from thing to thing, but I’ve been at this for a while now. I picked up a cheap woodworking kit a few years ago and gave it a shot. I got kind of good with the cheap set, so I got one with multiple heat settings and after lots of practice, people started asking me to make things for them.” Kaylee continues, “For the SPARC Market this year, I have a TV-show theme going on – you’ll see some Schitt’s Creek, The Office, and Bob’s Burgers will be there. I also have a bigger piece; it’s a repurposed door with a mountain scene and I have many other little things.”
Since graduating from UNC Chapel Hill and earning a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Kaylee has focused on working with individuals and families during some of their most difficult days. They’ve worked with teenage boys in recovery at a therapeutic boarding school and a wilderness program, with adults at Copestone mental health facility, and with entire families through intensive in-home services. Kaylee joined SPARC in 2021 as a Family Centered Treatment (FCT) clinician. They explain, “When it comes to FCT, it’s funny because it’s very structured and you’ve got these things you have to do, but once you figure out what a particular family is struggling with, and what they want to accomplish and would benefit from, it’s wide open. You can do so many things! It depends on the family and the person, but for example, I’m working with an 11 year old who has autism and speaking about hard things is really tough for her, so I’m encouraging her to use clay or to decorate something to share her feelings. That has been a good way to get more into her world. And right now, I’m planning a trip to Walmart with another family. The parents have said the child really struggles when they’re out in a busy place. The parents can tell me what it’s like, but if I’m not there, it’s a missed opportunity. There could be some things I notice because I’m more of an outsider and I’m trained to help them find solutions.”
Working in human services can be uniquely stressful. And finding a way to fully unplug is essential. Kaylee explains, “The thing about therapy is, it never really feels like it’s close-ended. People continue to evolve. Making things with my hands, burning designs into wood – it’s something I can see to completion. I’ve enjoyed having an outlet where I can actually feel, not really that I’ve accomplished something, as much as I’ve completed something. It’s always nice to relax into making something and to focus in – like there’s nothing else I need to be thinking about other than just filling in this letter, and the next, and the next, just finishing the design. That feels great.”
Kaylee also enjoys burning off energy on the rugby pitch. They’ve played rugby since 2016 and now serves as President of the “Carolina Villians”. The team has members from both North and South Carolina and it includes a professional illustrator, a musician, a chiropractor (conveniently), and a couple of therapists, just to name a few of the players’ day jobs. If you’re feeling adventurous and would like to learn about playing with The Villians, Kaylee says they’d love to talk to you! One-of-a-kind wood designs AND a rugby team sign-up opportunity, you won’t find that just anywhere…even in Asheville!
Don’t miss Kaylee’s Creative Market booth at The SPARC Foundation on April 22nd.
SPARC Creative Market – 12-4PM
225 E Chestnut Street
Asheville, NC 28801