heather denning
Program Director, Art Therapy, Assistant Professor
Zurn 121

Heather began teaching at Mercyhurst University in 2016 and serves as the director and advisor for the art therapy program. 

Heather started her career working in the mental health field in 1994 as an art therapist facilitating and directing group therapy programs for adults with severe mental illnesses.  She has directed both Adult Partial Hospitalization and Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement Programs in a community mental health setting.

Heather is a registered and board certified art therapist with supervisor credential designated by the Art Therapy Credentials Board and a licensed social worker in the state of Ohio.  She is a professional member of the American Art Therapy Association, Buckeye Art Therapy Association, and Pennsylvania Art Therapy Association.  She has presented at professional art therapy conferences regionally, nationally, and abroad.  She serves as a committee member of the Undergraduate Education Sub-Committee of the American Art Therapy Association and Publication Chair of the Buckeye Art Therapy Association.

Heather began working with art therapy students as an on site supervisor at Ravenwood Health in Chardon, Ohio in 1995 overseeing graduate level art therapy students during their internship placements.  She began teaching graduate level art therapy courses at Ursuline College in 1999.  Coursework taught on a graduate level has included Group Art Therapy and Art Therapy Methods and Materials. 

At Mercyhurst, she initiated a service learning trip abroad to Nepal in 2018 where art therapy students volunteered teaching art at a school in Kathmandu.  

Clinical Experience & Interests

  • Group Art Therapy
  • Adults being treated for mental illnesses and substance use disorders
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Development of annual client art shows
  • Art Therapy Supervision
  • Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement
  • Service Learning

Selected Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Art Therapy
  • Art Therapy Material and Methods
  • Art Therapy Practices
  • Art Therapy Seminar
  • Art Special Topic: Group Art Therapy
  • Art Therapy and Multiculturism