EXA Faculty and Staff

Expressive Arts Faculty & Staff

The Expressive Arts Therapy certificate program is interdisciplinary in nature, and program courses are taught by a variety of individuals, including faculty who work fulltime at App State as well as individuals in the local community who expressive arts in their counseling, therapy, or social work practice. Below we introduce you to some of the faculty involved in the program.

App State Faculty

Dr. Katherine S. Biddle (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT)

Dr. Katie Biddle

Educational Background:  PhD, Counselor Education, Virginia Tech

MA Expressive Arts Therapy and Mental Health Counseling, Lesley University

Expressive Arts Courses Taught:  CED 6360 - Therapy and Expressive Arts; CED 5581 - Trauma & Expressive Arts; CED 6370 - Intermodal Expressive Arts; CED 6350 Body/Mind; CED 6902 - Internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Bio: Katherine S. Biddle is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in the Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education. Dr. Biddle received a master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA) in 2007 and completed her counseling residency in community mental health, providing outpatient counseling for children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Biddle has 15 years of experience facilitating individual and group-based counseling, expressive arts therapy, and arts-based interventions with clients of all ages in outpatient, inpatient, residential, and medical settings. Dr. Biddle completed her PhD in Counselor Education at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) in 2018 and has enjoyed several years serving as an instructor, supervisor, and mentor of mental health and healthcare professionals. Prior to joining App State in 2022, Dr. Biddle worked as an arts-in-healthcare program administrator, developing and evaluating arts-based programming to support a holistic healing process for patients and employees of a large healthcare system. Dr. Biddle’s research agenda focuses on application of the arts and expressive arts in counseling, health, and education. She currently serves as faculty advisor for the Orchesis Alliance, a student expressive arts organization.


Laurie Atkins (she/her)

Laurie Atkins

Educational Background:

MFA Dance Performance, The Ohio State University

MA Community Counseling with an Emphasis in Expressive Arts Therapy, App State

Expressive Arts Courses Taught: 

CED 5870 Creative Process, Movement, and Therapy; DAN 5460 Somatics

Bio: Laurie Atkins is an Associate Professor in Dance Studies in the Department of Theatre and Dance where she co-created the Somatic Sustainability Minor program. Her work concerns the detailed understanding of the capacities of the human body through the intersections of somatic study, somatic sustainability, and dance performance. Her somatic training includes Massage Therapy, Classical Pilates, Yoga Nidra, GYROKINESIS®, and Embodied Social Justice. With roots firmly established in the Blue Ridge Mountains, she is a mover, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a partner. She is an advocate for creating an embodied way of being in and seeing the world. She believes wholeheartedly that reclaiming our inherent worthiness and interconnectedness with the natural world is part of the needed work for climate action and healing. Current activities she finds life affirming include singing, gardening, and raising two little humans.



Dr. Cathy McKinney (she/her)

Board certified music therapist (MT-BC), Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery

Cathy McKinney

Educational Background: 

PhD in Interdepartmental Studies (behavioral medicine and music therapy) University of Miami

MA in Music Therapy, University of Northern Colorado

BA in Psychology and Music, Duke University

Expressive Arts Courses Taught: 

MUS 5060 Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music

Bio: Cathy was one of the founding members of Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective, having taught in the original course and at the annual Expressive Arts Institute prior to the beginning of the expressive arts certificate program. Founding director of the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in music therapy at Appalachian, her clinical interests are the use of music improvisation and the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music as vehicles for personal awareness, growth, and transformation. Her research has focused on the effects of GIM on mood and physiology in healthy adults and women with breast cancer, and on the effects of music on imagery.

Dr. Jill Weidknecht Van Horne (she/her)

North Carolina Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS), Registered Play Therapy Supervisor (RPTS), North Carolina Licensed Professional School Counselor, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association(EAGALA) certified, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trained

Van Horne

Educational Background: PhD in Counselor Education and Certificate in Play Therapy, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

MAEd in School Counseling, Western Carolina University

Expressive Arts Courses Taught:
CED 5550 Equine Assisted Therapy
CED 5565 Introduction to Play Therapy

Bio: Jill is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Professional School Counseling
Program in the Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education. She works
primarily with children and adolescents and has over 25 years of school counseling and clinical
mental health counseling experience. Her professional interests include incorporating multi-
sensory and experiential approaches in her work and extending dialogue between professional
school counseling and clinical mental health disciplines.


Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Penny Makris (she/her)

Penny Makris

Educational Background:  PhD Counseling, Old Dominion University

MA School Counseling, Appalachian State University

Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy, Appalachian State University

A.B. Art Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Expressive Arts Courses Taught:  Intuitive Process Painting and Expressive Arts Therapy

Bio: Penny worked for 10 years as an elementary school art teacher, then for 13 years as an elementary school counselor. Her other counseling experience includes 5 years as a therapist at the ESCSB Behavioral Healthcare Center in Virginia, working with adults of various populations. In all of those positions, the creative and expressive arts played a consistent and valuable part. Moving back to the High Country, she headed up the Outreach Program for the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, NC. For two years she taught adult art classes at the Center and traveled to facilitate art classes on-site for the Blowing Rock Adult Daycare Center and for the students of Grandfather Residential Academy in Banner Elk. In collaboration with the counseling programs at Appalachian State University, she facilitated workshops in art media explorations for expressive arts therapy students and facilitated painting studio sessions at two expressive arts therapy summer Institutes. 



Dr. Terri Chester (she/her/hers)

NC Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, NC Licensed School Counselor, Certified Resiliency Educator for Resources for Resilience

Terri Chester

Educational Background:

BS in Reading Education K-12, Appalachian State University  

MA in Community Counseling, Appalachian State University  

MA Certificate in School Counseling, Appalachian State University  

Certificate of Advances Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Expressive Arts Therapy, European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland

Expressive Arts Courses I have taught:

CED 6360 Therapy and Expressive Arts

CED 6370 Intermodal Expressive Arts

CED 6390 Current Issues in Expressive Arts Therapy

Professional Background and Experience:

Terri Chester is an Appalachian State graduate with 30+ years of counseling experience. She has worked as a counselor in public school, community college, and university settings as well as in community settings including mental health, private practice, and wilderness therapy. Terri was an adjunct instructor at the inception of the expressive arts certificate and was a founding member of the Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective. For four years she was co-director of NC Expressive Arts Training.  She has taught expressive arts classes to master’s level students at App State, at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, and in private training institutes in North Carolina, New York, California, and Arizona.  She also been a visiting guest instructor at numerous workshops, training programs, and symposia in those same locations.