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Deborah Sadowsky

Growing up on Long Island, Deborah Sadowsky couldn't relate to suburban life. As soon as she finished a degree in English at the U of Buffalo, she headed west to San Francisco. "I took a painting class at the Art Institute," she says. "It was an 'aha' for me. It felt right in a deep way." She moved to Eugene in 1973, took art classes at LCC, then started an independent-study masters program in art therapy at the UO. "I got training at a Pratt Institute summer program in New Hampshire and did an internship here," says Sadowsky, who finished her degree in '78, then worked as an art therapist in Albany, New York, and at a number of psych hospitals in the bay area before returning to Eugene in '92. She developed and ran a program for at-risk youth at the Cottage Grove Counseling Clinic, then moved to Options Counseling in Eugene, where she was trained in chronic pain work. For the past decade she's been a counselor in the Johnson Unit at Sacred Heart Hospital. A member of the Pain Society of Oregon, she received a grant in 2006 to develop an art therapy program for chronic pain. "It's a way for people to express what they can't talk about, to explore their experience," she says. "It's intense work, but really rewarding."

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photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 21 January 2010

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