Lauren Cristino, ATR-BC, LCAT


What is your position at Wartburg?

My position at Wartburg is to coordinate and manage creative aging programs under the Council for Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning, which includes creative arts therapies and other creative arts programs and workshops.  Programs include art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, ceramics, entertainment, drumming class, artists in residency program, chorus, and theatre workshops, etc.

Why did you choose to work at Wartburg?

I found the Creative Aging department at Wartburg to be only one of its kind. At Wartburg, I was given the opportunity to facilitate and increase creative arts therapy programs which allows Wartburg to stand out from other healthcare facilities for older adults. I was given the opportunity to make the department my own and different.

How does your work make an impact on the population Wartburg serves?

Wartburg serves the geriatric population, individuals with developmental delays, memory care, rehab residents and those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Within the creative department, we have creative arts therapies and therapists who cater to help and increase overall mood stability, social pragmatic skills, performance, creativity and a safer place for them to express emotions and share kindness with one another.

What advice do you have for someone interested in becoming a creative arts therapist?

My advice is to spend time observing a creative artist therapist – get your feet wet in the field and see what it’s like before making the decision to pursue the field. I encourage volunteering in a variety of settings, e.g. hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation settings. Research graduate programs; each school teaches differently. Comfort doesn’t move you forward so don’t be afraid to try new things – be BOLD.

How does Wartburg’s Creative Aging program differ from similar programs at other facilities?

Facilities like Wartburg don’t typically have a Creative arts therapy department. Wartburg offers therapy consistently and frequently throughout the week. Our door is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are learning to work with groups and individuals in a variety of settings. We are present and reliable for our residents and registrants. We also work with a clinical team and obtain clinical notes to report individuals’ goals and interventions.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that others may not know.

A fun fact about me is that I was a contestant for Miss New Jersey Teen USA. I didn’t win but I was a runner-up!


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