Hi! I'm Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC. I’m an art therapist & breast cancer survivor from Portland, Maine. In my 20s, I was a caregiver for my mom when she had metastatic breast cancer, so for better or worse, I know this territory well.
I’m passionate about the addressing the psychological impact of cancer so that women can thrive. That’s why I’ve been working hard to share the unique art therapy protocols I developed with my community, because they're so effective. Now, I’m building my Mighty Network to connect women with breast cancer, because being in community is the most powerful way to heal and inspire each other to take those precious leaps of faith we all need to take to live fully.
I bring together women diagnosed with breast cancer to participate in guided art and writing exercises designed to help us reclaim our identity and our unique beauty, restore our ability to live joyfully and nurture our capacity to care for ourselves and others so that we can heal emotionally from the impact of cancer on our body, mind, spirit and self, and thrive in the face of uncertainty.
What are some of the benefits of membership?
~Each month you'll get access to exclusive content and conversations that you won't find anywhere else. Stephanie will kick off each month by introducing the theme of the month, sharing her insight as to why and how it impacts women diagnosed with breast cancer. You'll be invited to dive into your personal experience using art and writing.
~Membership comes with fun and meaningful events- like the New Member Social and the monthly Open Art Studio where Stephanie will be working with attendees live. Stephanie will introduce art techniques, projects, as well as respond to community questions and needs so that everyone can feel successful.
~Each week you'll have a specific focus for exploration, which will be the basis for sharing your story with others. This creates a shared experience and a beautiful exchange of support, validation, witnessing, and inspiration/ideas around our shared mission of healing.
~As you uncover how breast cancer has impacted you, you feel less confused and more clear about who you are and what your needs, wants and desires are. This makes it easier to communicate with your loved ones and providers about what's happened and how they can support you.
~By being within a community of women who get it, you'll make better, more well-informed decisions about the things that are most important for you. You'll find spontaneous insight/healing, inspiration, thought-provoking conversations, and expert perspective each and every day.
All breast cancer stages are welcome. Whether you're in active treatment or not, if you seek emotional healing, this is the community for you.
Plus, no special art skills needed to benefit from these practices, this community works for the art therapy novice to the art making muse. You'll be surprised by how you're creative voice, instinct and intuition grows and becomes a part of your innate wisdom as you practice the techniques.
This is a structured mentoring program. Each month will focus on a specific theme through which you'll explore your story, your relationship with yourself and others, and how the theme relates to integrating your experiences in order to thrive. Each week, I'll check in to see how things are going, offer tips & guidance, and facilitate the community building process so that you all feel safely connected to one another.
Week 1- What are we working on week I introduce the theme of the month through video and written content, sharing her thoughts as to how it relates to breast cancer drawing from her lived experience and professional expertise. Members are given prompts to begin exploring their experience through using the art journal & writing.
Week 2- Sharing week This week's focus is on sharing what you've started to notice in your art journal & writing with the community. This helps you verbalize what you've uncovered while also benefiting from what other women are bringing up. This deepens your insight and provides you with an opportunity to give and receive support!
Week 3- Deeper art dive week Now that we've begun to unpack this months theme, it's time to take your art exploration to the next level. This week you'll take your insight and paint out what you need to express. The primary recommendations are to use a breast cast or canvas. Stephanie will introduce other project options as well throughout the year- like a mastectomy bra altering project in preparation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Week 4- Finding meaning, understanding & closure The final week of each month is focused on closure through writing & community discussion. This starts by sharing what you've learned and listening to the stories of other women. You'll be guided to write a reflection or poem about your art piece, which helps you put words to your experience. This leads makes it easier to share with your loved ones and providers to get the support and resources you deserve.
In addition to providing structure, content, and mentoring, I'll host monthly virtual events- like the new member social and open art studio- to support your growth live!
This community initially started as a 12 week group. Here's what members had to say and why we knew we had to transition into an ongoing membership opportunity, because the cancer's impact on our mental, emotional, spiritual, identity, and relationships is ongoing and deserves our attention so that we can live as well as we can.
"Stephanie's Virtual Art Therapy Group for Breast Cancer has been more than I expected. Through art, I have gained more insight into my breast cancer experience. Through the group, I have gained connections with other women who are also on this journey. So grateful for this experience and the many shared laughs and tears in a safe and supportive group."
"I walked into a program with Stephanie thinking I would learn some simple techniques in dealing with the stress of breast cancer treatment and living with metastatic cancer. I left the program with deep insight of long buried emotions, unprocessed trauma, and a recognition of grief at my very core. She helped me to peel the tightly wrapped layers of denial, feel all of the feelings, and move forward with the knowledge that the shadows and the depth of pain caused by cancer are all survivable. She gave me the gift of self-expression, something I didn’t even know I couldn’t do. I can now move forward with the knowledge and skills to actually deal with what life brings to me. Three years of therapy didn’t scratch the surface of this, but 12 sessions with Stephanie and I’m living a new life."